Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Aston Villa V Liverpool
Sunday 19th April. 3PM. BT Sport 1
The weekend’s second FA Cup semi-final is a truly mouth-watering tie as two of English football’s biggest clubs collide at Wembley for a place in next month’s showpiece final.
Neither Liverpool or Aston Villa have quite lived up to their illustrious pasts in recent years but both will be eager to get their hands on the world’s eldest cup competition this term and are now just 180 minutes away from doing it.
It’ll be passionate from the outset and we’re expecting a thrilling spectacle for the neutral. You certainly wouldn’t miss it.
Sherwood Dream Start To Result In Final Appearance?
Since being appointed as Villa boss on Valentine’s Day, Tim Sherwood has enjoyed a non-stop love affair with the club and it’s supporters by dragging them towards Premier League safety as well as leading them to this dream trip to Wembley.
Sherwood is certainly man-of-the-moment around Villa Park right now and his instant impact has crucially helped the likes of Chrsitian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor find a return to firm. The Villains are playing with a far greater level of attacking enthusiasm under the new gaffer and it’s certainly paying off, as the result will attest.
Aside from the Sherwood factor, Villa will take heart from their 1-0 win at Anfield at the start of 2014/15, although January’s 2-0 home loss does take some of the shine away from that particular triumph. Nevertheless, they’ve proven their worth against the Reds once this season and will feel they’re in a great position to cause another upset here.
Villa will be clear underdogs but every dog has its day. Perhaps Sherwood can spur them to a first Cup final appearance in 15 years.
Reds To Book Perfect Gerrard Finale?
Following the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a first league title in 24 years last season, Liverpool’s league misery is set to continue this term as they appear destined to miss out on Champions League qualification. However, Brendan Rodgers will be hopeful of lifting a first trophy as Liverpool boss by leading the Reds to FA Cup glory.
As well as being a chance for Rodgers to break his silverware duck at Anfield, the May 30 final could also bring the curtain down on skipper Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool career in fitting style. The Reds captain has announced his pending departure after over 20 years with the club and many will be hoping to see the Premier League legend climbing those famous steps to lift the trophy next month.
However, the Reds must first navigate their way past a tricky Aston Villa and will be relying on Raheem Sterling to make headlines for the right reasons following a controversial few weeks for the England winger. Elsewhere, the return of Martin Skrtel is a big boost whilst the likes of Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho will be determined to stamp their mark on proceedings.
This is a massive chance for Liverpool to salvage an otherwise disappointing 2014/15 campaign. It won’t be easy, but the Reds should be ready to flourish.
We’re anticipating a cracking encounter.
Aston Villa V Liverpool Betting
The Reds are odds-on favourites to book a return to Wembley next month and Bet365 make them 4/7 favourites to get the job done in normal time. However, at 5/1, Aston Villa shouldn’t be ruled out completely. The 90-minute draw is 3/1.
Whilst we agree with the bookies’ suggestion that Liverpool are the better side, there is no way that the Sherwood effect should be overlooked. The Villa boss is brilliant at motivating his players and we think they can push the Reds all the way.
Villa have adopted a far more attacking approach under their new gaffer, which should give them a much greater chance of success. However, it’s very difficult to see Liverpool failing to score. We think BTTS is great value.
BTTS @ 10/11 with Bet365
Nevertheless, we think the gulf in quality will prevail and Rodgers will see his side edge closer to lifting the trophy.
A cup final would offer a fitting end to Steven Gerrrard’s Liverpool career and we think the Reds will secure that outcome here; although they may have to work harder than some will predict.
Liverpool to win in extra-time @ 7/1 with BetVictor