FA Cup Semi-Final Preview

fa cupBy Mark Rawlinson

Millwall will be aiming to reach their second FA Cup final in nine years with Saturday’s match against Wigan Athletic the only obstacle in the way.

The last time The Lions went to distance in the Cup was back in 2004 under the guidance of player/manager Dennis Wise.

It was the first time a team outside the Premier League had reached the FA Cup final and what made it even more impressive was that the club had more than a dozen players out due to injury and suspension in the latter stages of the run.

Manchester United ended up running out comfortable 3-0 winners that day at the Millennium Stadium but Kenny Jacket will be aiming to repeat the feat with a return to Wembley on May 11th.

The Londoners have already beaten Premier League opposition, in the shape of Aston Villa in Round Four, on their route to the semis.

They are waiting on the injury status of Liam Trotter who is rated at 50/50 although James Henry is likely to be available for selection.

Opponents Wigan are making history themselves as this is the furthest the Lancashire side have ever got in the FA Cup.

They booked their place in the semi-finals for the first time after a dominant 3-0 win over a surprisingly lacklustre Everton side back in March.

Their previous best run in the cup came back in 1987 when they reached the quarter-finals, losing 2-0 to Leeds United.

However, Wigan’s minds are on other things with the club embroiled in their seemingly annual survival battle to remain in the Premier League.

Saturday’s semi-final will bring a welcome distraction from their precarious league position and the Latics will be hoping to go one step further and secure a place in the FA Cup final for the first time in their history.

The other semi sees cup holders Chelsea face Manchester City in an all-Premier League tie on Sunday afternoon.

The Blues will be aiming to lift their fifth FA Cup in seven season after enjoying plenty of success in the competition in recent years.

As well as winning the tournament last season, they were also victorious in 2007, 2009 and 2010.

Rafa Benitez’s side have been in good form of late after winning three of their last four games in the league.

And despite a 3-2 defeat at Rubin Kazan on Thursday night, Chelsea progressed to the semis of the Europa League with a 5-4 aggregate win.

City will be content as their opponents will have had less than three days preparation between that game and the FA Cup semi, including a flight back from Russia.

However, Roberto Mancini may be without the services of David Silva who is a doubt after limping off with a hamstring injury in the Manchester derby on Monday night.

City will be hoping to secure a place in the final for the second time in three years after they won the competition in 2011 after they beat Stoke City to lift the cup that year.

Take a look at the latest FA CUP ODDS