Michael Owen has backed Sheffield United to beat Arsenal on penalties in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final.
Both sides will put their battle for European qualification through the Premier League on hold when they face each other on Sunday, in what Owen expects to be a close encounter.
The Blades have been in poor form since football resumed, having lost two and drawn one of the games they have played so far, while the Gunners lost their first two but did pick up three points in a 2-0 win against Southampton on Thursday.
Writing in his column for BetVictor Owen has predicted the game to go down to the wire, but thinks Chris Wilder’s side will just about edge it.
“In many ways, this could be a bigger game for Arsenal than for Sheffield United,” Owen said.
“The Blades have had a terrific season so far and any further progress will be the icing on the cake, but with Arsenal hovering around mid-table, it’s been a poor season for them.
“They are a club used to challenging for silverware and with Arteta being an FA Cup winner himself, it would be a major boost for Arsenal if they could collect a trophy this early in the Arteta era.
“The last two meetings in the FA Cup between the sides ended in a draw after 90 mins, with the most recent being a fifth-round replay which Arsenal eventually won 4-2 on penalties.
“With both sides failing to replicate their form in the league since the restart, I think this could be heading for another draw and based on the current goalkeeper situation – with Henderson being in good form and Leno being out injured – I fancy the Blades to sneak through on penalties.”
It remains to be seen which side is in the draw for the semi-finals, which will take place during half-time of Sunday’s tie between Newcastle and Manchester City.