Tue, Apr 24, 2:06pm by Staff Writer
The historic FA Cup has reached its climax with only two clubs left out of the thousands that began their journey towards Wembley. The competition includes all clubs in England and Wales before the top echelons are added at the 3rd Round stage. This weekend saw the semi-finals take place as Manchester United and Chelsea booked their place in the final.
In the first semi-final, United got the better of Tottenham Hotspur who lost at this stage of the tournament for the 8th straight time. Spurs long wait for a trophy continues as they allowed the Red Devils to bounce back from an early goal from Delle Alli. Playing as the away team at their temporary home ground of Wembley, Spurs got off to a blistering start and dominate much of the half. They will rue the number of missed opportunities.
United fought back though as they drew level through Alexis Sanchez, a player who had been under scrutiny in recent weeks for poor performances. He rose to the occasion though as his club go in search of their 13th FA Cup win. That dream was made a reality after Ander Herrara hammered home the winner in the 62nd minute and they head into the final as slight favourites at $1.72.
Chelsea joined them in the final as they cruised to a 2-0 win over relegation threatened Southampton.
Goals from Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata send Chelsea through as they dominated throughout the match. Despite their control of the game, Southampton did have a few chances to get back into the game, but they can now focus on their EPL survival. As for Chelsea the FA Cup final presents an opportunity to salvage some pride in a season that has been in large parts disappointing.
As defending Champions, they were always going to be under pressure, although not many would have expected them to finish outside the top four. In doing so missing out on Champions League qualification, a scenario that looks more likely as the season draws to a close. A trophy for Antonio Conte, however, could hold of his critics just a little longer.
Chelsea are priced at $2.
The final will be a meeting of two bitter rivals in recent history, United have been an ever present since the dawn of the EPL, whilst Chelsea are still regarded as the success story bought by wealthy Russian Roman Abramovich. In 2007 the Chelsea got the better of Manchester United with a 1-0 win the final that year, guided by United’s current manager Jose Mourinho.
Indeed, the final will likely be billed as battle between the two men in the dugouts, with Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte trading barbs throughout the season this year. Both are renowned as winners, although their can only be one on the day.
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