Road to Wembley
This weekend saw FA Cup upsets as the remaining eight teams left in the competition battled it out for a place in the semi-final at Wembley in April.
It started on a warm Saturday afternoon where 10 time FA Cup winners Arsenal took on Everton at The Emirates Stadium. Everton were up for causing an upset at Arsenal but the London side needed this victory as they have not won a trophy for 8 years, and with their Champions League and Premier League dreams coming to an end, this could be their only hope of silverware this season. Arsenal took the lead through Mesut Ozil before Everton’s top scorer Romelu Lukaku equalised 13 minutes before half-time. A Mikel Arteta penalty on the 68th minute made it 2-1 to the home side before Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud scored 2 goals in 2 minutes to seal a place at Wembley for the semi final for the Gunners.
On the Sunday, the two lowest teams left in the FA Cup played each other to see whose Wembley dreams will come true. It was between League One’s Sheffield United and Championship bottom side Charlton Athletic. With Charlton favourites to progress into the semi’s, however it was Sheffield United who grabbed the 2-0 win with goals from Ryan Flynn and John Brayford. Sheffield United became the first League One side to reach the semi final of the FA Cup since Wycombe Wanderers in 2001.
Premier League sides Hull City and Sunderland were the next to try and grab that semi final spot at Wembley. Sunderland, who suffered a defeat at Wembley to Manchester City a week ago to the day in the League Cup Final were hoping to book a place back there next month but it was Hull who came out on top with goals from Curtis Davies, David Meyler and Matty Fryatt. Hull have not reached the semi final of the FA Cup since 1930 when they lost to Arsenal.
The final match of the weekend was to be played between last year’s finalists Manchester City and Wigan Athletic. Manchester City, who won the League Cup a week ago and who are favourites to be crowned Champions of England in the Premiership were looking for an easy win to get one over Wigan who famously beat City 1-0 last year to win the FA Cup. Unbelievably, it was the underdogs who took the lead through Jordi Gomez from the penalty spot. Manchester City were hoping that after a half time team talk they could turn things around but it got worse for the favourites as the hosts made it 2-0 through James Perch. Samir Nasri made it 2-1 to keep City’s hopes of a domestic treble alive but Wigan managed to hold on to create the biggest upset since they beat City in the final last year.
Hull will play Sheffield United and Wigan will play Arsenal at Wembley. Arsenal and Hull are favourites for the final but with cup upsets in the past Sheffield United and Wigan have just as much of a chance than the two bigger teams. Can the underdogs go all the way and lift the famous trophy and play in the Europa League next season?