The “Final Four” of the FA Cup is set, and it is looking to be one of the best conclusions in recent memory. All the upsets and giant killers have been eliminated, and all four teams that remain are in the top 5 of the Premier League – Chelsea, Spurs, Manchester City, and Arsenal. This is far from the norm of the FA Cup; take last year for example – Crystal Palace, Watford, Manchester United, and Everton made up the semi-finalists, and none of those clubs qualified for the Champions League. It’s time to take a look at our FA Cup Predictions:
Chelsea will win the FA Cup because they are simply the best team in English Football. Antonio Conte’s tactics have worked excellent for the West London Side propelling them 13 points clear atop the Premier League summit, which could go to 10 depending if Spurs win tomorrow. And have also taken Chelsea into an FA Cup Semifinal vs Spurs.
The 3-4-3 with Moses and Alonso at Wing-backs has done wonders for the West-Londoners helping them create the back-line is one of the best in the Premier League.
Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Willian, and Pedro can all do wonder up top. The whole Chelsea team has scored 59 Premier League goals this season, which is only 1 less than leaders Liverpool (60).
The major reason Chelsea will win the FA Cup is due to the fact they have the best midfielder in the league, and you could even argue the best midfielder in the world (in defensive terms anyway). Kante’s tracking back and his 100 tackles put in this season is crazy. The workhorse and as I’ve said many times before, the reason Leicester won the league. If you saw our Claudio Ranieri tribute on @loosegoosefcedits on Instagram, you would’ve seen many of the long balls fed to Jamie Vardy and Riyadh Mahrez were from Kante.
I think Chelsea will breeze pass Spurs in the Semifinals due to Spurs’ form away from home all season long. We already saw their struggles at Wembley in the Champions League. Spurs simply only really play good on the small pitch that is White Hart Lane. A trip to Wembley (a way bigger pitch) and going up against Chelsea spells disaster for Spurs and Joy for Chelsea.
I think Spurs will win the FA Cup because of their ability to beat Chelsea’s system. In the last two matchups between the clubs, Tottenham’s outplayed Chelsea in 3 of the 4 halves. As good as Chelsea’s 3 back system has been, you could argue Tottenham’s has been just as good, if not better. Danny Rose may even be healthy by the April 22nd fixture, which would create a wingback partnership with Kyle Walker that would cause Chelsea nightmares.
Another reason I see Spurs winning is their attack. They are currently scoring at will, and Harry Kane may be fit by the time the semi-finals come around. He is arguably the best striker in the league, and Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen have both been phenomenal this season. Meanwhile, Chelsea haven’t kept a league clean sheet in almost two months (since January 22). For these reasons, I see Spurs being able to shake off the challenges Chelsea present them with.
When it comes to the final, they would be playing either Manchester City or Arsenal. And I know most Spurs fans would kill for a North London Derby in the final. If this is Arsene Wenger’s final season for the Gunners, they would see no better way to send him off than beating him in a cup final.
However, Arsenal are sliding at the moment, and it seems more likely that they will match up with the Citizens. The last time these teams played, it was one of the most entertaining matches of the season. I think Spurs would be able to cope with Manchester City’s riveting attack by exploiting their defensive weaknesses. The fullbacks of Tottenham should be able to limit Sterling and Sane, with Alderweireld, Vertonghen, and Dier shadowing Aguero. However, I don’t think anyone can really say that Stones and Otamendi would be able to deal with Tottenham’s front 3.
While Tottenham does have a thin squad, I think it’s safe to say that their FA Cup fixtures will take priority over their league matchups. This is simply due to their stated desire to win a trophy this season. This certainly seems to be their only chance to do so, so I think they will definitely go all out. As for those pointing to Spurs’ poor form at home, in all honesty, I think it has more to do with their opponents being inspired by playing at such a historic stadium than Tottenham’s performances. However, all these English clubs are familiar with the ground, so I don’t think it will be as much of an issue as others are making it out to be.
Kevin: Manchester City
Manchester City will be a strong candidate to win the FA Cup from the four teams that remain in the competition. City is a strong team going forward, with Aguero being the main threat while David Silva is also a constant nuisance to the opposition back line. Raheem Sterling seems to be finding his place in the City side these days, and the combination of the three in a good day can provide some spectacular goals.
Midfield architect Kevin de Bruyne is a big physical presence who can whip in quality crosses and create many chances, while Yaya Toure has the ability to win balls and aerials against anyone on the pitch. The main reason I think City can win is the comfortable fixture against Arsenal in the semifinals. Arsenal have looked nothing less than shambolic this past month- following a aggregate 10-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, they have just recently lost 3-1 to West Brom as well. In the two Champions League ties, Arsenal looked lifeless in attack and conceded an incredible ten goals. Manchester City can find many positives in this, as they are a very similar team to Bayern in their style of play with both being teams who like to play or of the back with long periods of possession. The fact that Arsenal were so susceptible to this kind of attack will tell Guardiola that if his team can play the way they do in their previous wins, the Arsenal semifinal can turn out to be a stroll-through.
Also, if City were to advance to the finals, there are a lot of experienced players who have proved to play well in big games like this, and manager Pep Guardiola is known for rarely being beat in a cup final. Their opposition will either be Chelsea or Tottenham, with both teams having a clear and very effective style of play and will prove to be no easy opposition. However, once the whistle blows anything can happen- and I believe that City will come out on top at the end of the final to win the FA Cup.
Vote above and let us know what you think in the comments!
Authors: Kieran, Nik, Kevin