Manchester City face an anxious wait to see if David Silva can recover from a hamstring injury in order to take his place in the starting lineup for Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea.
When Silva was taken off in Monday’s win 2-1 victory against Manchester United there appeared little chance that he would be available less than a week later, but manager Roberto Mancini now has some hope.
“We will decide on Sunday morning on David,” he said, according to Manchester City’s official website.
“We don’t know if it’s possible for him to play or whether it might be a risk if he does. He has a chance, but I don’t think he can recover fully. He may be able to play some part, but we will make a final decision as late as possible.”
Silva is a key creative force for City and scored in their 5-0 win in the quarterfinals against Barnsley; with the FA Cup realistically the only trophy City have left to play for this season, Mancini could well take a risk on the Spaniard’s fitness, although a place on the bench seems the likeliest decision.
Chelsea will again be without Ashley Cole, however manager Rafael Benitez is likely to be able to call upon his deputy Ryan Bertrand. Both missed Thursday’s Europa League quarterfinal second leg against Rubin Kazan. The club’s two most experienced players, John Terry and Frank Lampard, both played in Moscow and are likely to be left out at Wembley.
Branislav Ivanovic should come into the defense, while Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar could well lineup together in attacking midfield positions. Demba Ba is expected to be selected ahead of Fernando Torres.
Benitez believes rotating his side is the only way to cope with their continued hectic schedule.
“We know where we are at the moment,” Benitez said, according to Chelsea’s official website. “We are in the semi-final of the FA Cup, another one in the Europa League and third in the league table. They will have a bit of an advantage but hopefully we will have some fresh legs for the game.
“It's always different if you play two games a week and you have players that are injured or tired, it's more difficult,” he added. “We knew that if we were successful we'd have to play more games, and we want to keep playing games until the end.”
D: Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Bertrand
M: Ramires, Mikel
Mata, Oscar, Hazard
Manchester City (probable)
D: Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy
M: Toure, Barry
Milner, Tevez, Nasri
Betting Odds: Manchester City are 5/4 favorites to win after 90 minutes, with Bet 365. Chelsea are priced at 12/5, with a draw available at 5/2.
Where to watch: The FA Cup semifinal will kick-off at 11 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the Fox Soccer Channel. A live stream, which you view at your own discretion, will be available here.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.