Best bets for Man City v Chelsea

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Jamie Griffith’s tips for the FA Cup semi-final at the Etihad include a win for the visitors with a familiar face scoring.

Chelsea and Manchester City played out a 4-4 thriller at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League in November and there is a decent chance of more great entertainment in the weekend’s first FA Cup semi-final on Saturday.

City were knocked out of the Champions League on penalties by Real Madrid on Wednesday and Chelsea will fancy their chances of making it a truly miserable week for Pep Guardiola after thrashing Everton 6-0 on Monday.

Former City midfielder Cole Palmer helped himself to four goals in that game, a performance that was ideally timed with a clash against his former club on the horizon.

But the Citizens have scored 13 goals in their last three games, so they will also be confident that they can put their midweek heartache behind them immediately.

Best bets

Chelsea to qualify

12/5


Cole Palmer to score or assist

11/8


Rodri to have two or more shots

19/20

Weary City could be in for a battle

Defending FA Cup champions Manchester City are highly fancied to book their place in another Wembley final, but a semi-final against Chelsea is far from an open goal.

Their dream of a repeat Champions League success was crushed by Wednesday’s penalty defeat, but it was the gruelling nature of that loss to Real Madrid that may play into Chelsea’s hands.

It has been a frustrating league season at Stamford Bridge, but Mauricio Pochettino’s side have drawn both of their league games against the treble winners and head into Saturday’s battle full of goals.

They have scored 26 goals in their last six matches and are undefeated in 12, so there is a decent chance they can take a weary City at least to extra time, where their less-strenuous week could become a factor.

Palmer can take his chance to shine

Most eyes will be on Palmer, who has been a revelation since his move from the Etihad to Stamford Bridge and there looks a strong chance he can rise to the big occasion again.

Palmer has scored 20 Premier League goals this season – as many as City hotshot Erling Haaland – and 11 of those strikes have come in his last six matches.

He is plainly revelling in the regular football he was unable to earn himself under Guardiola and even though nine of his goals have been penalties, his stats are still impressive.

Palmer has also contributed nine assists to the Chelsea effort, so 17/10 that he has a positive goal contribution looks a decent price.

Rodri not shy to try his luck

While Chelsea have had their shooting boots on, Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Madrid should not cloud the fact that City have been scoring with frequency too, netting 13 goals in their last three Premier League matches.

While there are plenty of players further forward who pose a big threat for the champions, keep an eye on midfielder Rodri, whose attacking contributions are often overlooked.

The Spaniard has scored seven league goals this season and had five efforts at goal in November’s 4-4 draw, so take a chance he will have at least two pops on Saturday.

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