Premier League and FA Cup round up, April 25th 2017
Chelsea win at Wembley to set up the double!
Spurs ousted in goalfest
We now have our final two in this season’s FA Cup, and the 2017 trophy will be decided by Chelsea and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium. Will it prove to be a deserving double for the blue half of London, or a medal to leave Arsenal with for Arsene Wenger?
Chelsea booked their place on the big day with a sensational semi-final win over Spurs on Saturday. Antonio Conte’s side progressed thanks to goals from Willian x2, Hazard and Matic. Kane and Alli hit back for Tottenham, but an inspired second-half saw Hazard and Matic find the net to push their side over the line. The latter was a piece of brilliance, and well worth a look if you haven’t already seen it.
Matic thunderbolt seals the deal for Chelsea
Matic had praise heaped on him at full-time, but he remained modest, telling the press that it was a nice goal, but he was happier for the team, who were looking forward to playing in the final. Manager Conte explained to the BBC reporters waiting in the tunnel that he is proud of this achievement, chasing the Premier League title and being involved in the FA Cup final during his first season in English football.
Arsenal finally show some resolve to pip City
That was on Saturday, less than 24 hours later we had Arsenal and Man City decide who would join them. The answer was to be Arsenal, who upset the odds to knock the competition, and match, favourites out at the semi-final stage. Nothing was expected of The Gunners beforehand, but they rallied round to get the result, winning 2-1, thanks to goals from Monreal and Sanchez.
There was a real team effort about things, something we haven’t seen from the north Londoners for quite some time. They seemed happy to leave their league worries at the door and play knockout football. The tie was level at 1-1 after 90-minutes, but a stoppage time decider from Sanchez stole the show. Will the attacker be leaving in the summer? If so, he’ll be wanting to depart with an FA Cup winner’s medal in his pocket.
Arsene Wenger, who was under an incredible amount of pressure before kick-off, beamed in his post-match media chat, telling anyone who would listen that his men played with a strong and united performance, to silence their critics. Despite their current league position, the manager thought his club were in a very strong position and says that when he does leave, Arsenal will still be a great club. He’ll want to safeguard that for the future.
Chelsea have been marked up as 2/3 favourites to win the final, and complete the double, while Arsenal to upset the odds again is a 7/5 shot when getting your outright bets on with 888Sport.
Form side Crystal Palace silence Anfield
Over in the Premier League, and we had plenty more to talk about, including the latest leg of Crystal Palace’s revival, as they beat Liverpool 2-1 on Sunday to move up to 12th in the rankings. A top-10 finish is a possibility for the born-again Eagles, and they have now won six and drawn one of their last eight. Coutinho had The Reds ahead that day at Anfield, but a fightback saw Benteke bag a brace, scoring on 42-minutes and the match-winner on 74.
It was another treat for Palace supporters, who have enjoyed watching their side climb up through the rankings this year. Big Sam admitted there was no stopping the Liverpool goal, but credited his side’s response and thought that they won the match with a similar effort to the Chelsea and Arsenal triumphs, by not allowing their opponents to play football.
If you think Crystal Palace will keep pushing and get a top-10 finish, then Sportingbet will give you 9/2, which may be difficult for punters to ignore, especially fans of the club.