United and City are hard to split in semi

MANCHESTER CITY vs MANCHESTER UNITED

Tomorrow - 5.15pm ITV 1

THIS must surely be one of the most exciting FA Cup semi-finals in recent memory and it can provide the competition with a much needed shot in the arm. Manchester City haven’t stepped foot on Wembley turf since the dramatic League One play-off final against Gillingham in 1999 when Paul Dickov scored a late equaliser before they went on to win the penalty shoot-out.

They have now gone 35 years without a major trophy and a win tomorrow would set up a final appearance against Bolton or Stoke. This is obviously a very different City side to the ones that have failed over the years, but they were soundly beaten at Anfield on Monday night and Carlos Tevez will be missing tomorrow. That is a huge blow for Roberto Mancini, although he will be pleased that Wayne Rooney is suspended.

It’s been a decent couple of weeks for Manchester United - they have won their last seven games - and they are now just 7/1 with Paddy Power to win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble. They were thoroughly professional against Chelsea in the Champions League and will fancy their chances against Schalke in the semi. Victor Chandler have them at 1/7 to win the title, so they could be set for a cracking end to the season, but they do have some big games on the way and City will be bang up for this one.

United have dominated the recent encounters against their local rivals, winning five and drawing one of the last six league games and knocking them out of the Carling Cup last season. They are full of confidence at the moment and although the FA Cup isn’t a priority for Sir Alex Ferguson, he would love nothing more than to beat City after the war of words over the past two seasons.

This is an important game for both clubs, with a lot of local pride at stake, and I can see it being quite tight. It would be no surprise to see the sides go in level at the break and I actually think it will be a draw in 90 minutes, which can be backed at 23/10 on Betdaq. I’d also look to sell goals at 2.35 with Sporting Index as both sides have strong back fours.

It’s always a lottery when you get to extra-time, but I am quite interested in Victor Chandler’s 10/1 about United winning on penalties. They have more experienced players in their squad and if it was to go to a shoot-out, I’d fancy them to hold their nerve better than the City players.

POINTERS...
Draw at 23/10 on Betdaq
Man United to win on penalties at 10/1 with Victor Chandler
Sell total goals at 2.35 with Sporting Index

BEHIND THE LINES
It's FA Cup semi-final weekend and we are refunding all losing first goalscorer, correct score and half-time/full-time bets on either game if it goes to penalties. The Manchester Derby should be a cracker, but it's a shame that both Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez will be missing. We also expect to see plenty of business on the El Clasico game tomorrow night. There is some top quality racing action and we are offering odds the first five places in tomorrow's Scottish Grand National. We will also be keeping a close eye on the Greenham at Newbury after laying a £550k bet on Frankel for the 2,000 Guineas this week.