Chelsea v Southampton
Sunday 22nd April, 15:00
Live on BT Sport 1
Chelsea back on track?
Chelsea warmed up for their semi-final appearance by clinching back-to-back victories for the first time in 2018. The Blues enjoyed a come-from-behind 3-2 success at Southampton last Saturday before maintaining their top-four Premier League hopes with a 2-1 triumph at European hopefuls Burnley on Thursday.
With one eye on this contest, Chelsea's strength in depth afforded Antonio Conte the luxury of making six changes to his starting XI without it impairing their performance at Turf Moor. Fielding a conventional front two in a Premier League fixture for the first time since 2011 with Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, the Blues were accomplished going forward.
Although the capital club's finishing was profligate at times they were exemplary in their defensive work, restricting an obdurate Burnley to only two shots on-target. Conte's charges dominated the midfield and the Morata-Giroud axis worked in tandem all evening. Even so, Victor Moses grabbed the decisive goal.
Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Willian will all expect to be recalled to the team for Sunday's showdown whilst Emerson Palmieri should continue at left wing-back with Marcos Alonso suspended. Elsewhere, Danny Drinkwater remains a doubt but David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu are both long-term absentees.
Southampton struggling to stay afloat
Southampton's stay in the Premier League is hanging by a thread following a lacklustre goalless draw at Leicester on Thursday night. Despite having chucked away a two-goal advantage against Chelsea last weekend, Mark Hughes fielded an unchanged side and felt his Saints side were too timid in possession.
The relegation-battlers are four points from safety and looked short of ideas and low on confidence. It took until the 18th minute for the visitors to have a tame shot on goal and they recorded just one touch in Leicester's box before the half-hour mark. Fans had to wait until the 57th minute for their first on-target effort.
Hughes' troops showed more intensity in the second half and Shane Long was denied from close range in Southampton's best attempt. But goalkeeper Alex McCarthy was arguably the busiest of the two custodians with Saints players looking dejected at full-time whistle.
The underdogs could again be without Mario Lemina and Sofiane Boufal for their trip to Wembley. Midfielder Lemina has been suffering with back and hamstring problems, while winger Boufal has been ill this week. Meanwhile, Jack Stephens serves the final game of a three-match ban, but captain Steven Davis is fit again.
Blues hot favourites to progress
Chelsea have progressed to the final from 11 of their last 14 FA Cup semi-finals and the Blues are hot 1.511/2 favourites to do so in 90 minutes on Sunday afternoon. The Blues beat their opposition in a dress rehearsal on the South Coast last weekend but are too short to entertain at the odds on offer.
Southampton are winless in their past eight outings and have recorded just one league victory in their last 21 games - against bottom club West Brom - and are available at a bulbous 7.6013/2 in the Match Odds market as they appear in the FA Cup's final-four for the first time since 2003.
The Saints have W0-D3-L8 against Big Six sides in Premier League action this term and with Mark Hughes returning W2-D4-L23 figures away against Big Six sides during his reign at both Stoke and Southampton since 2013/14, it's difficult to see the strugglers coming to the fore here.
Both teams can strike at Wembley
FA Cup semi-finals have tended to produce goals with 11 of the previous 12 final-four showdowns featuring Both Teams To Score. And over the past four seasons, FA Cup semis and the final have seen Over 2.5 Goals backers collect in all bar five of 16 fixtures, including 10 of 13 all-Premier League ties.
Southampton have shipped at least three goals four of their past five outings but Mark Hughes has urged his team to "take more risks" and "just go for it" as they look to salvage their season. And although Hughes boasts a desperate record at the league's elite, his team's have scored in 14 of their past 16 with Big Six sides.
Considering Chelsea haven't managed to keep their sheets clean in any of their previous nine encounters, have switched between a defensive back-three and flat four over the past week and with Gary Cahill and Andreas Christensen out-of-form, there should be opportunities for the underdogs to grab a goal.
Over 2.5 Goals 1.784/5 should go very close but a more appealing punt is to take the bigger price on Both Teams To Score 1.9210/11 on Sunday afternoon.