Clubs Gear Up for FA Cup Semifinals
It’s a busy part of the calendar for some squads, but the chance for FA Cup glory presents itself this weekend at Wembley in a pair of semifinal games.
Arsenal and Chelsea won’t have much time to celebrate mid-week successes in the Champions League when they square off on Saturday while Manchester United and Everton will decide the other spot in the May 30 final on Sunday.
Arsenal vs. Chelsea
Season records: Arsenal 17-10-5; Chelsea 20-7-5
Head-to-head results: Arsenal won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on a pair of second-half goals from Robin Van Persie on Nov. 30.
Trend lines: Arsenal has won seven straight FA Cup matches against the Blues. Chelsea did win the last cup match between the two sides, capturing the 2007 Carling Cup final.
Last time out: Chelsea is coming off a pulsating 4-4 draw with Liverpool in London on Tuesday, a result that pushed it through to the Champions League semifinals against Barcelona. Arsenal ripped Villarreal, 3-0, on Wednesday night in Champions League action, setting up an all-English semifinal with United.
Injury worries: Sagna has been ruled out for the Gunners with an illness. Kieren Gibbs is a game-time decision with a groin injury while keeper Manuel Almunia and defenders William Gallas, Johan Djouru and Gael Clichy are also on the shelf with injuries. Aside from Jose Bosingwa, the Blues will have their choice of top players for this one.
Key to the match: Arsenal has been in a rich vein of form recently, but how will its makeshift defense cope against a suddenly potent Chelsea attack that’s scored 14 goals in four matches so far this month?
Make your prediction of who will win between Arsenal and Chelsea with the EPL Talk Predictor (free to play).
Manchester United vs. Everton
Season records: United 22-5-4; 14-10-8
Head-to-head results: The teams played to a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park on Oct. 25 and the Red Devils took a 1-0 win at Old Trafford on Jan. 31.
Trend lines: United are 11-time FA Cup champions, despite losing in its last two final appearances against Arsenal and Chelsea in recent years. Everton last won the competition in 1995, beating United in the final with Wayne Rooney watching from the stands.
Last time out: The Red Devils picked up a 1-0 win Wednesday in Portugal against FC Porto on a long-range strike from Cristiano Ronaldo. Everton has been off since last weekend’s 3-3 draw at Aston Villa.
Injury worries: James Vaughan and Joseph Yobo could feature for the Toffees and Darren Fletcher is the only injury worry for Manchester United.
Key to the match: Aside from that flash of brilliance from Ronaldo, United hasn’t really impressed lately. Will this be a letdown spot – in the midst of Champions League and Premiership considerations – or will Everton get the Red Devils’ undivided attention? It’s an everything-to-win, nothing-to-lose scenario for David Moyes’ club, and you can expect them to be up for the challenge.