FA Cup semifinal preview: Everton vs. Man United; Palace vs. Watford

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This weekend the two FA Cup semifinals take place at Wembley Stadium with four Premier League teams involved.

[ LIVE: Follow the FA Cup semis here ]

Struggling Everton face surging Manchester United on Saturday and lower midtable duo Crystal Palace and Watford lock horns on Sunday to decide who will reach the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 21.

Here’s a preview of both games and you can follow them live over the weekend by clicking on the link above.


Everton vs. Manchester United – (Follow live, 12:15 p.m. ET, Saturday)

After suffering a humiliating Merseyside derby defeat on Wednesday the pressure is building on Everton’s manager Roberto Martinez. The Toffees are now winless in seven games and in his third season at Goodison Park, many Everton fans are calling for the Spanish manager to be fired with another bottom half finish likely.

Did somebody say manager to be fired? Ah, yes, Mr. Van Gaal. United’s Dutch manager has been heavily criticized too but after securing six wins in their last eight games, United are pushing for a top four finish and reaching the FA Cup semifinal has boosted everyone Old Trafford. If Van Gaal can somehow finish in the top four and produce the first trophy since the Sir Alex Ferguson era ended then he may just remain in charge for another season. Maybe.

Everton beat United 1-0 in the FA Cup final in 1995 and have won six of their last seven semifinals. As for United, they have been knocked out at the semifinal stage the last two times they’ve reached it and have lost in two previous semifinals to Everton in 1966 and 2009.

In team news Everton will be without Seamus Coleman, while Phil Jagielka, John Stones and Gareth Barry will all undergo late fitness tests and Ramiro Funes Mori is suspended after being sent off in the Merseyside derby. United have no new injury worries

Crystal Palace vs. Watford – (Follow live, 11 a.m. ET Sunday)

Nobody really expected either Palace or Watford to get to this stage and their league form has tailed off dramatically in 2016. Palace have won just once in the PL, while Watford have won just three times. Just two points separates these teams in the PL table and this is a close one to call.

Palace beat Watford 1-0 at home early this season, while Watford returned the favor and won 2-1 at Selhurst Park. Both teams like to keep it tight and hit teams on the counter, so expect Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo to be the key figures for Watford and Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha to be the outlets for Palace.

The last time these two teams met at Wembley was the Championship playoff final three years ago when a Kevin Phillips penalty kick promoted Palace to the PL. It was tight and tense and you should expect the same this Sunday. Palace have not been in the FA Cup semifinal since 1995, while Watford has lost four of their last five semifinals but did reach the final in 1984.

In team news Nordin Amrabat is suspended for Watford, while Palace have Bolasie, Scott Dann, Joel Ward and Joe Ledley back from injury.