The FA Cup will bear witness to the strongest Semi Final lineup in recent memory as either Chelsea or Man Utd join Arsenal, Man City, and Spurs in the last four after a clean sweep by the giants of English football over the weekend.
The love for this grandest of cup competitions has waned ever since football clubs became business ventures and the Champions League and Premier League became the only events worth fielding a full strength side.
But the 2017 FA Cup has breathed new life into the romanticism of the tournament you used to spend all day in front of the TV watching when you were a kid.
For the first time in over 103 years, a non-league side fought their way to the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup after Lincoln City beat Burnley 1-0 in a historic night back in February.
The draw rewarded the Imps with an away tie at The Emirates. Nobody gave them a chance, least of all the beleaguered Gunners boss, Arsene Wenger, who fielded a full strength side that eventually tore Lincoln to shreds.
For 45-minutes, Lincoln held out valiantly. But Theo Walcott scored his 5th FA Cup goal of the season in first-half injury time and from that point on the difference in class shone through like a witch doctor working for the NHS. Second half goals from Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, Alexis Sanchez, and an own goal by Luke Waterfall ensured Arsenal are still in with a chance of extending their FA Cup winning record to 13 triumphs.
Man City Reach Semis For the First Time in Four Years
Joining Arsenal in the last four is Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s third trip to England’s famous stadium was secured after his side beat Middlesbrough by 2-0 at The Riverside. The Spaniard has won at Wembley both as a player and a manager.
With Middlesbrough now the second favourites for relegation behind Sunderland, and Man City seemingly certain to capture a Champions League berth, there was no doubting who would win this match.
City battered Boro, but like so many times this season, Guardiola’s team were wasteful in front of goal, failing to convert a glut of chances after going ahead in the third minute thanks to David Silva. City finally sealed the win with a goal by Sergio Aguero, with 20-minutes left to play, it was the Argentine’s fourth goal in his past four FA Cup appearances.
City was installed as the new 9/4 favourites immediately after their win.
Spurs Maul Millwall
Spurs made sure that four of the top six Premier League sides will be in the hat for Monday’s semi-final draw, after nailing Millwall to the cross at White Hart Lane.
Millwall came into the tie against Spurs having despatched Premier League sides Bournemouth, Watford, and the Champions Leicester to the sidelines without conceding a single goal, but boy did that change in a hurry.
Spurs, who exited from the Europa League against lowly Gent a few weeks ago, were not about to make the same mistake as they fired six past Millwall without replay in a one-sided FA Cup quarter-final. Son Heung-min scored a hat trick, Christian Eriksen, and Dele Alli piped up with a few goals, and you know it’s been a stroll in the park when a defence allows Vincent Janssen to score.
The one player you will be surprised NOT to see on the scoresheet is Harry Kane. The England star was forced out of the game after a horrific ankle injury, and many Spurs fans have taken to Twitter to voice concerns that their season is over after the man who has scored 24 goals in 28 appearances might miss the rest of the season.
The final member of the Fab Four will be revealed on Monday night when Chelsea entertain Man Utd at Stamford Bridge, but no matter who wins, you are looking at the strongest FA Cup Semi Final lineup in living memory.
FA Cup Quarter-Final Review
Middlesbrough 0 v 2 Man City
Arsenal 5 v 0 Lincoln
Spurs v Millwall
To Be Played (Mon, 13 March)
Chelsea v Man Utd
FA Cup Winning Odds (Courtesy of Bodog)
Man City 9/4
Man Utd 8/1