This weekend’s entertaining weekend of FA Cup action highlighted why the most prestigious cup competition in the world is still high on everyone's list of must-win trophies.
Saturday’s action saw a resurgent Sunderland condemn high-flying Southampton, holders Wigan dispatched Premier League strugglers Cardiff and Man City exacted their revenge on Mourinho’s Chelsea.
On Sunday, Everton cruised past Swansea City and a gritty Arsenal win over Liverpool earned Wenger’s men a place in the quarter-finals, with Sheffield United earning a dramatic late win over Championship high-flyers Nottingham Forest.
The draw for the quarter-finals was kind to the lower league clubs, with Sheffield United, the lowest ranked club left in this season’s competition, rewarded with a home tie against Sheffield Wednesday or Charlton.
If Wednesday can get past Charlton, they will play arch-rivals United in a Steel City derby for a place at Wembley in the semi-finals, a mouth-watering prospect.
That tie ensures that there will be at least one Football League club in the semi-finals, a refreshing prospect for a competition that relishes the underdog.
With much debate prior to this season’s FA Cup centred on whether or not managers would show the tournament enough respect, the likes of Wenger and Pellegrini’s team selections show that they are in it to win it.
Arsenal have beaten rivals Spurs, Coventry and Liverpool at the Emirates en-route to the quarter-finals, and their task is not going to get any easier as they host Roberto Martinez’s Everton side.
Martinez won last season’s tournament as manager of Wigan, after a momentous victory over Man City in the final.
This season’s quarter-final draw sees City host Wigan in a repeat of last season’s final, with the winners earning a place in a second successive Wembley semi-final.
The remaining quarter-final tie will see this season’s Cup specialists Sunderland take a trip to either Brighton or Hull City, with South-coast outfit Brighton the other side flying the flag for the football league.
With a football league side certain to feature in the semi-final of this season’s competition, the magic of the FA Cup is as strong as ever and every side left in the competition will fancy their chances of lifting the coveted trophy.
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