Tottenham and United Collide With FA Cup Final Spot on the Line
With London in the grip of a pre-summer heatwave (if 24 degrees can be classed as a heatwave) the FA Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday could have the feel of a cup final.
Two sides with proud FA Cup traditions who are firmly established among the Premier League elite clash in what is a big game for both.
Under Jose Mourinho, United have improved markedly in the league from last season’s sixth-placed finish to what is looking like a runner-up spot behind Manchester City. But they fell well short in the Champions League and if they do not go all the way in the FA Cup, it will be a season without silverware as opposed to the previous campaign when they lifted the League Cup and Europa League.
Mourinho and the club’s board will point to their league position as proof that the Red Devils are on the up, but trophies are the key currency in football and having nothing to show following another year of lavish spending will weigh down on the Red Devils.
For Spurs, it’s been yet another good showing in the league, while they demonstrated promise for the future in Europe by topping a Champions League group that contained Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.
But the stark reality is Tottenham are still to win anything under Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentinian may have built one of the best teams in the country without the lavish spending of others, and they continue to threaten in the league, but there is nothing tangible to show for his efforts.
For varying degrees, it’s a huge game for both sides.
If we’d rolled back seven days, Manchester United would be many people’s idea of the winner – as the previous week they had denied Manchester City the title by battling back for a 3-2 win. But instead of kicking on from the victory, the Red Devils duly handed City the title one game later when slumping to a 1-0 defeat to basement club West Bromwich Albion. From joy to despair in 90 minutes, and that just about sums up Manchester United right now.
Tottenham are not exactly pulling up trees at the moment, they were beaten by City at the weekend and drew with Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday. But Pochettino’s Spurs just seem to have that bit of extra creative spark and that can be enough to see them into the final – which is priced at 1.61 with 188BET, while United are 2.40 to advance.
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