Leicester v Southampton: Foxes to clinch FA Cup final spot

Leicester face Southampton at Wembley in their FA Cup semi-final on Sunday and Simon Mail is backing Brendan Rodgers' side to reach the final...

Leicester chasing league and cup glory

Leicester face Southampton this weekend in their FA Cup semi-final with Brendan Rodgers' side hoping to turn an impressive season into a glorious triumph. The Foxes are third in the Premier League and will be determined to ensure their top-four challenge does not fall apart at the finish as it did last season.

Leicester still have work to do but are on course for Champions League football and are eyeing a first FA Cup final appearance since 1969.

Rodgers' side booked their place at Wembley after an excellent 3-1 home win over Manchester United in the quarter-finals. Two goals from in-form striker Kelechi Iheanacho fired them into the last four after previously knocking out Brighton, Brentford and Stoke. Since beating United, Leicester have lost their last two league matches, including a 3-2 defeat at West Ham which has left them nervously looking over their shoulders with the top-four challengers closing the gap below them.

Saints need lift after league slump

Southampton are bidding to win the FA Cup for the first time since 1976 with the Saints' last final appearance coming in defeat against Arsenal in 2003. Ralph Hasenhuttl's side's league form has nosedived this calendar year but the team should still have enough to avoid relegation. Their FA Cup run has been a welcome distraction from their recent struggles in the league.

A 3-0 win at Bournemouth in the quarter-finals earned a return to Wembley. Southampton ended holders' Arsenal's defence with a 1-0 win in the fourth round and the Saints also defeated Wolves and Shrewsbury during their run to the semi-finals.

Southampton are yet to concede a goal in this season's competition. It is particularly surprising because the Saints have the second worst defensive record in the Premier League with 56 goals conceded.

Hasenhuttl's side leaked another three goals in a dismal 3-0 defeat at second bottom West Brom on Monday.


Leicester worthy favourites for tie

Leicester are 1.92 favourites to win inside 90 minutes and reach the FA Cup final. There is no doubt the Foxes are the most likely winners although some will be slightly wary about backing them at this price. Leicester defeated Southampton 2-0 in January and if they reproduce their best form should prove too strong for their opponents.

Southampton are 4.4 outsiders to win this semi-final and it is difficult to know what to expect from them. The Saints have been extremely inconsistent but have shown they are capable of high level performances on occasions. Their current form is a concern although no-one should be shocked if they put their league struggles to one side. Still, it is hard to be optimistic about their chances and they can be swerved.

The draw is trading at 3.85 but only one of the last six clashes between the teams have ended level. Draws have also been relatively scarce in the clubs' respective league games this season. Leicester certainly merit their status as favourites and are fancied to win but there are alternative markets to secure a more appealing price.

Goals likely in open contest

Only one of Leicester's last 13 wins, across all competitions, have seen them score less than two goals. The Foxes rarely win 1-0 and should have plenty of chances against a brittle Southampton defence. Using Betfair's Bet Builder, combining a Leicester victory with over 1.5 goals increases the odds to 2.15.

Another bet worth backing is Iheanacho to score at 13/10. The former Manchester City striker has been in exceptional form over the last two months.

Iheanacho has scored 11 goals in his last 11 appearances for Leicester.

This includes twice in last weekend's game at West Ham. With three goals already in this season's competition, Iheanacho can add to his tally by firing the Foxes into the FA Cup final.

Opta Stat

Jamie Vardy has scored in all three of his appearances at Wembley Stadium for Leicester, with the striker responsible for four of the Foxes' six goals scored at the ground since its reopening. Vardy is 10/11 to score during this weekend's semi-final.

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