Man Utd to oust Everton, Palace and Watford to go distance in FA Cup semis
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | April 22, 2016
Everton v Manchester United
- FA Cup semi-finals
- Saturday, April 23rd
- Kick-off: 17:15 BST
- Wembley, London
- Live on BBC One
Red Devils to defeat depleted Toffees
Everton lead Manchester United 6-5 in FA Cup meetings with each other, and the latter are odds-on at 8/13 with Coral to settle the score by qualifying for the final.
The in-form Red Devils are a more enticing even-money price to win in 90 minutes or 11/5 to do so to nil, which would make more sense given the Toffees’ fitness worries, particularly in defence, ahead of the tie.
Under-fire Roberto Martinez has confirmed that star full back Seamus Coleman will miss out, while centre halves Phil Jagielka and John Stones are doubts. Ramiro Funes Mori, meanwhile, is suspended after his horror challenge on Divock Origi in the 4-0 Merseyside derby loss that saw him sent off. On top of that, key midfielder Gareth Barry faces a late fitness test too.
Louis van Gaal, on the other hand, has a relatively large roster of players to pick from, and said: “Everyone wants to play in a semi-final. I must select 18 players and I have 24 who are fit, so I have to disappoint six of them.”
The only absentees are Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger and starlets Luke Shaw and Adnan Januzaj.
Can Rashford bag another important goal?
Dutch boss Van Gaal could stick to his front three of Marcus Rashford, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial, after the trio highly impressed in their first start together last time out in the 2-0 win over other semi-finalists Crystal Palace.
Teenager Rashford has been a revelation for the Red Devils since bursting onto the scene after getting his chance due to a number of injuries, and is 7/4 to add to his seven senior goals to date from just 13 games.
Captain Rooney and young-gun Martial are respective 7/4 and 2/1 chances, while the likes of Memphis Depay (2/1), Jesse Lingard (10/3) and Ander Herrera (11/2) are decent shouts to hit the target too.
At least Romelu Lukaku will be available for Everton, and the Belgian may be inspired to impress in front of his rumoured summer suitors by scoring anytime at 5/4.
Crystal Palace v Watford
- FA Cup semi-finals
- Sunday, April 24th
- Kick-off: 16:00 BST
- Wembley, London
- Live on BT Sport 2
Extra-time or penalties on the cards in Sunday semi
In the second FA Cup semi, Crystal Palace and Watford have the potential to go the distance, and both have defied Premier League form to reach the later stages of this famous competition. Back a draw in normal time at 9/4, therefore.
The Eagles have been made the slight 8/11 favourites to qualify, and can find inspiration from the last time they faced the Hornets at Wembley in the 2012/13 Championship play-offs when Kevin Phillips converted a late winner in the 105th minute from the spot.
Alan Pardew’s men are 9/1 for victory in extra-time once more, which the manager has experience doing as he hit the winner for the Londoners at this stage in 1990 over Liverpool.
But Watford can take heart from the fact that they knocked out defending champions Arsenal in the quarters, and have a superior record over Palace in the FA Cup. They are 11/10 chances to reach the final.
Deeney looking to be the hero once more
Both teams have tasted victory against the other this season, each away, and the Hertfordshire outfit won the most recent clash in February at Selhurst Park thanks to a Troy Deeney double.
The uncapped English striker is 7/4 to net again anytime, and 9/1 for two or more. Deeney scored last in that meeting too, so is 6/1 to be the hero and do so again in normal time. Attack partner Odion Ighalo is the same price in all markets too.
For Palace, Emmanuel Adebayor will be hoping to add to his strike against Watford last time out, and is 2/1 in the anytime market, while fellow forwards Connor Wickham, Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha are 2/1, 11/4 and 7/2 respectively.
Yohan Cabaye is also a tempting 7/2 to find the net, after scoring from the spot in a 1-0 win at Vicarage Road earlier this term in the league and also against Reading in the FA Cup quarters.
Coral’s top tip: Back Crystal Palace and Watford to draw in 90 minutes at 9/4.