The FA Cup is one of the oldest football competitions in the world, and 149 years later, it still manages to hold its own given its charm and upsets it produces. The quarterfinals of this year, however, did not have any such upset, and the semi-final line-up is one of the best the tournament has seen in recent memory.
With Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City featuring in the last four, only Liverpool and Tottenham are the ones missing from England’s Prime Six. We take a look at the encounters that will decide the final showdown.
Man United vs Chelsea
Manchester United defeated Norwich 2-1 deep into extra time with a late goal from captain Harry Maguire in what was a erratic performance from the Devils. Ole Gunner Solksjaer’s boys were not at their attacking best, with several players lacking match fitness. However, the team looks even more powerful with the return of Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford from long injury layoffs.
Rashford, however, is yet to get back his form that saw him score regularly before he was sidelined. Meanwhile, the French midfielder is slowly developing a strong connection with winter signing Bruno Fernandes.
Chelsea, on the other hand, defeated Leicester City 1-0, with Ross Barkley turning in a Willian cross. The Blues have been playing a dynamic style of football with some attractive attacking displays under Frank Lampard. With Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner already coming to the Stamford Bridge, the club is buzzing with renewed passion.
The return of Tammy Abraham, too, will help Chelsea in front of the goal. The fixture has been one of the most discussed games in England since 2004 and both teams will walk out with first teams.
Arsenal vs Man City
Holders Manchester City defeated Newcastle United 2-0 riding on goals from midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and forward Raheem Sterling to set up a clash with Arsenal. City, under Pep, have turned into one of the best sides in Europe and play scintillating football using space brilliantly. The team will start as favourites against Mikel Arteta’s men.
The Gunners have not been in their best form, but have the assets to upset the best teams in the world on its day. With Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette up top, Arsenal should be comfortable at scoring goals. However, the pair has not struck gold after showing promise at an early season at the beginning of this season.
Arsenal scampered to the semi-final by a late goal from Dani Ceballos in extra time, defeating a resilient Sheffield United 2-1. David McGoldrick had cancelled out Nicolas Pepe’s opening goal in the 87th minute, and Arsenal had to wait until added time to find their winning piece. Arsenal have lifted the FA Cup a record 13 times and will look for some rhythm and inspiration going into the semi-final.
Stay Rackonnected and learn more about sports.