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Chelsea vs. Manchester City: FA Cup Semifinal Odds, Preview and Prediction

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Chelsea vs. Manchester City: FA Cup Semifinal Odds, Preview and Prediction
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Who: Chelsea FC vs. Manchester City FC
What: FA Cup semifinal
Where: Wembley Stadium, London, England, United Kingdom
When: Sunday, April 14, 2013
Weather: The Weather Channel
Time: 16:00 GMT/11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT
Television: Fox Soccer Channel (US), UTV, BBC 5 Live, ITV 1 (UK)
Worldwide Live Streams and TV Channels: LiveSoccerTV.com
Radio: SiriusXM Sirius 94 (Internet 94), BBC Radio 5 Live (UK)
Referee: Christopher Foy

3-Way Odds: Chelsea +200, Manchester City +110, Draw +220
Total: Over 2½ -120, Under 2½ -120
Decimal Odds: Chelsea 3.00, Manchester City 2.10, Draw 3.40
Total: Over 2½ 1.83, Under 2½ 1.83
Fractional Odds: Chelsea 2/1, Manchester City 11/10, Draw 11/5
Total: Over 2½ 83/100, Under 2½ 83/100
Pick 'Em Odds: Chelsea +135, Manchester City Pick -175 (Bovada)
Who will qualify? Chelsea +135, Manchester City -175
Odds To Win FA Cup: Manchester City +125, Chelsea +150
(Wigan Athletic +450, Millwall +2000)
Source: Sportsbook.com (Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles)

Chelsea will really have it work cut out for itself when it faces Manchester City on Sunday at London's Wembley Stadium in the second semifinal of the FA Cup.

Roberto Mancini and the Sky Blues are unbeaten in their last four meetings with the Blues and are undefeated and unscored upon so far in this tournament, outscoring opponents 13-0 en route to this clash of blue-hued titans.

City shut out Watford in the third round (3-0), Stoke City in the fourth round (1-0), Leeds United in the fifth round (4-0) and Barnsley in the sixth round (5-0), so Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benítez had best be concocting some sort of plan to create offense against the defending English Premier League champions.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Manchester City rolled over Barnsley 5-0 to advance to the tournament's semifinals.

The last time these two clubs met, City (19-8-4, second place in Premier League) and goalkeeper Joe Hart blanked the Blues, 2-0 at Etihad Stadium (Feb. 24) and Hart also registered a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on Nov. 25.

Chelsea (17-7-7, fourth place in Premier League) also lost to the Sky Blues 3-2 in the FA Community Shield in August at Villa Park and with City again having the best defense in England's top flight (27 goals against), the current FA Cup holders will really have to get their advanced midfield line of Eden Hazard-Juan Mata-Oscar and striker Demba Ba clicking early on.

Both sides come into this game a little banged up with City possibly being without the services of David Silva (hamstring) and Micah Richards (knee) and definitely without Maicon (knee) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring).

The Blues will be without defenders Ashley Cole (hamstring) and Gary Cahill (knee) while Cole's understudy at left-back, Ryan Bertrand, is hoping to return to Chelsea's starting XI after suffering from a virus earlier in the week.

Julian Finney/Getty Images
Chelsea will be without the services of left-back Ashley Cole against Manchester City.

Two members of the Blues old guard who, according to the Daily Mirror, may not be starting this match are captain John Terry and vice captain Frank Lampard but no one would be surprised if one or both came in off of the bench to try to save the day for Chelsea.

Mancini will likely start Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasić and Gaël Clichy in his back four with James Milner, Yaya Touré, Gareth Barry and Samir Nasri in his midfield and possibly Carlos Tévez and Sergio Agüero up top.

Chelsea—which has won this competition seven times and captured four of the last six FA Cups—will undoubtedly have Petr Čech in goal with Branislav Ivanović, César Azpilicueta, David Luiz and hopefully Bertrand in its back four and John Obi Mikel and Ramires likely starting in its defensive midfield.

City has a slight edge in the last 10 meetings in this series, going 5-1-4 and outscoring the Blues 13-12 and both clubs have been hot of late with the Sky Blues winning six of their last seven in all competitions while Chelsea has gone 5-1-2 over its last eight in all games played.

The European champions lost at Rubin Kazan 3-2 on Thursday in the second leg of its Europa League quarter-final series but advanced on aggregate (5-4) and will now play FC Basel in the tournament's semi-finals (April 25 at Basel, May 2 at London).

The winner of this match will play the winner of the Millwall-Wigan Athletic semifinal in the FA Cup championship on Saturday, May, 11 at Wembley Stadium.

Who will advance from Sunday's FA Cup semifinal?

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This game should be tight and low-scoring with a minimal number of quality attempts and shots on goal. In the end, the key for Chelsea will be trying to stop the wily Tévez—the second-highest leading goal-scorer (five) in the competition—and always a cause for concern for whomever the Sky Blues are playing.

With FA Cup magician Didier Drogba now plying his football wares for Galatasaray in Turkey's Süper Lig, Chelsea will have to somehow get some production from Ba and/or Fernando Torres at striker to have a chance to score enough to advance here.

And with the Wigan-Millwall winner lying in wait, most will see this match as the actual FA Cup final so there will be much at stake for these clubs who have to both had to begrudgingly lookup at first-place Manchester United in the Premier League table all season.

Considering how even the two sides (City and Chelsea), the managers (Mancini and Benítez), the goalkeepers (Hart and Čech) and the scorers (Tévez-Agüero and Ba-Torres) are, this one is probably best just watched and not wagered on.

 

Prediction: Manchester City 1 Chelsea 0

Bets: Under 2½ -120 (sportsbook.com) , Manchester City Pick -175 (Bovada)

 

Follow me on Twitter: @KevinStott11

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