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Michael Taylor 18th Apr 2009 - 21:23

Blood and guts could win the day for Everton

On paper there is no way Everton can cause an upset against Manchester United in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final - luckily for the toffees though ties like this are usually decided on something far tougher than paper.

David Moyes' team might not be the prettiest on the eye, nor have the superstar talent of their North West opponents but they certainly have the grit and determination required to cause a shock, especially if United suffer a Champions League hangover.

Everton are 4/1 shots to win within 90 minutes or 9/4 to progress by any means; both of which could be great value if the Everton that defeated Liverpool back in the fifth round turns up.

That day, often referred to as the day ITV missed the biggest goal of Dan Gosling's young career, was a perfect example of what can be achieved with discipline and sheer bloody-mindedness.

Phil Jagielka made Fernando Torres look ordinary and it will be his job to stop Wayne Rooney on Sunday - a task he is more than capable of.

However the key to the game is likely to be in the battle between Leighton Baines and Cristiano Ronaldo and whoever wins it could be making another date in their diary... 30 May, the FA Cup Final.

Ronaldo, a 4/1 chance to net the first of the game, has failed to reach the same heights as last year but he will be a constant threat and it is vital the likes of Phil Neville and Joleon Lescott back up Baines for the entirety.

Of course Man Utd's threat isn't limited to the world's best player as Carlos Tevez and Paul Scholes in particular are likely to be bursting at the seams in order to make up for recent disappointing performances.

In addition, Michael Carrick looks set to recover from injury in time and his presence will be integral to the Red Devils ability to win the midfield scrap.

Carrick provides the heartbeat that United's array of talent thrives on but, if he is thrown of his game by Everton's bullish approach, Sir Alex Ferguson may find his attack even less potent than it has been in recent weeks.

And it certainly won't be an easy day for United to get fluid forward motion going especially since Marouane Fellaini, Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman seem to have found a decent combination following Mikel Arteta's devastating season-ending injury.

Fellaini arrived on Merseyside with big hair and an even bigger reputation but it is only in the last few games, where he has netted four goals in five appearances, that all the hype surrounding him became justified.

The big Belgian will be a marked man throughout but he still looks value at 10/3 to net anytime, as does Everton's other tough attacking midfield man Tim Cahill at 11/4.

With all this talk about attacking it is important to note goals could well be at a premium though.

Man Utd have been far from their prolific best with just nine goals in the past six games (not outstanding by their standards) and had it not been for young Macheda things might not be looking quite as good right now.

As for Everton, they won't be heading to Wembley with an attack first attitude. They are strong in defence and every member of Moyes' squad will be expected to put in a tough shift.

It makes the 17/2 about a 0-0 draw look interesting, or, for a less risky shout, 11/5 about a draw in the 90 minutes looks the best bet.

Throw in the massive 9/5 about less than two total match goals and you could be the real winner from the tie.

If you fancy a punt on this massive FA Cup semi-final then why not explore our huge range of markets. With over 40 markets on offer you're sure to find something that grabs your attention.

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