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FA Cup Semi-Finals: Wake Me Up When They’re Over

fa cup1 FA Cup Semi Finals: Wake Me Up When Theyre OverI’m not a fan of penalty kicks. Never have been. Last year, I was heavily criticized for describing the Champions League Final between Manchester United and Chelsea as being an example of the ugly side of English football. Sure, the penalty kicks themselves were exciting, but they quickly erased from our minds how boring the previous 120 minutes had been and how poor the sportsmanship was.

As for this past weekend’s fare of Arsenal against Chelsea, and Manchester United versus Everton, in the FA Cup semi-finals, I was bored stiff. What a contrast these matches were to the exciting Champions League quarter-final matches between Chelsea and Liverpool.

The Everton against Manchester United game, especially, was exceedingly tedious with very few clear-cut chances on goal. In the first half of Sunday’s match, Everton had zero shots on goal against a weakened Manchester United side. The second half didn’t improve much either. Everton only had two shots on target the entire game. This was a game that had 0-0 and penalty kicks written all over it.

Everton eventually won the game 4-2 on penalty kicks after Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand failed to score from their penalty kicks.

The Arsenal against Chelsea match wasn’t enthralling either, but at least it didn’t end in extra time and penalties like Sunday’s sleepy encounter did. In the London derby at Wembley, both teams cancelled each out and seemed too cautious when moving forward. It was as if the game was being played in slow motion.

Like the Man United against Everton affair, there were few shots on target during the Arsenal against Chelsea game. The Gunners had two, while Chelsea had six.

What is it about Wembley that causes most matches involving Premier League teams to be tedious and boring affairs to watch?

I feel sorry for the punters who paid good money to go watch the semi-final matches. Let’s hope the final between Everton and Chelsea is much more entertaining.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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9 Responses to FA Cup Semi-Finals: Wake Me Up When They’re Over

  1. John Lynch says:

    It wasn’t that bad of a game. United should have won it in regulation time.

  2. Sam Davis says:

    Oddly enough it was a stonewall penalty not being called by Mr. Riley that cost us a goal (potentially). This after Moyes’ comments about him being a United fan.

  3. olivert says:

    The FA spent over GBP 1 Billion on Wembley Stadium 2 and still doesn’t have a pitch in decent playable condition.

    Both Wenger and Fergie are blaming the pitch.

  4. ArthurArseGooner says:

    i have to admit we didnt play all too well. i dont like that pitch it looked like the ball was passing through speed bumps, but we just didnt play well enough and our keeper made mistakes. we didnt attack well either.

  5. ArthurArseGooner says:

    gaffer, idk if youve read this but i thought the new york times article on obama and the us world cup bid could be talked about either here or mls talk, theres also a mention of obama and west ham where his publicist says he doesnt support them but the writer says it would be better for him to support west hame instead of manu for example because of their sponsor AIG.
    here’s the link if you want to read it i think it could provide some good material.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/15/sports/soccer/15vecsey.html?ref=global-home

  6. ArthurArseGooner says:

    also, id like to know if youre thinking about launching another site any time soon, something that could cover scotland and the barry ferguson rangers saga. i think the league is very interesting and is worth talking about.
    im also looking for something that could cover some german, dutch, and french football. maybe you can combine all these ideas into one site, lets say worldfootballtalk or otherfootballtalk, i think we cant ignore the other leagues when the premier league is made up of mostly players that used to play in those leagues.

  7. Evertonia says:

    The games at Wembley are awful because the pitch is awful. Don’t blame the teams (you’re talking about 4 of the top teams in England) blame the FA. The games should have been played at other neutral grounds and you probably would have got more entertaining matches. What do I care though, the semi-final at Wembley has got the big game jitters out of the way for most of the players and Everton are in their first cup final for 14 years! Also, enough with this stonewalled penalty for United business. What about the stonewalled penalty on Pienaar earlier in the match? Oh, you didn’t notice? That’s because the media (ITV in this case) completely ignored it and decided to focus only on United’s (albeit legitimate) claim. Similar to the BBC doing a hatchet job on Felliani (our best player) the week before, despite the game being a 3-3 thriller. The media bias astounds me. “Oh, look at little plucky Everton reaching a cup final. Isn’t it wonderful to see a smaller team get there?” F*** you! Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, we want all your cups. So stop hogging them and give them up. Now!

  8. Tyson says:

    I agree with you(for once) the game was not very entertaining but you have to keep in mind this is the FA cup.

    The biggest teams generally send in subs and reserves and leave the big dogs at home when they have more pressing matters to attend to.

    I wasn’t really all that bothered by the FA cup at all they were both quite decent games but you can see Manchester United decided saving their players for the cups that actually matter was more important.

    Assuming Chelsea actually decide to exert any real energy in the FA Cup(which I doubt they will with the Premier League and Champions Leage games coming up) I think the final will be fun to watch. I haven’t seen a real dedicated bashing of another team in a while and Chelsea in their current form would rape Everton.

    Hopefully Chelsea do play balls to the wall football and tire out all their main players. It’d make it easier for everybody else in the Champions League and Premier League if Chelsea players were recovering for a week or two.

  9. jim says:

    tyson, we can see whether the rape is real or imagined in a dress rehearsal on wednesday. (1) chelsea’s defence doesn’t inspire confidence (2) everton merely looked like they were afraid to win, after finding out they were slight favourites over a reserve united side.

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