Four teams are on their way to Wembley, and for once everything went to script. The FA Cup Quarter Finals probably won’t stick in the memory for many of us long – some will want to forget it, others will have bigger fish to fry, but no matter what the score lines two sides will leave the competition with fantastic memories.
One of those sides is not Middlesbrough, who had one of the kindest draws in recent memory to reach the last 8. Unfortunately for the Teesiders, Pep Guardiola takes the FA Cup very seriously and I don’t think I’m being unkind when I say Boro were lucky to get nil. Other than a brief Rudy Gestede onslaught, which ended when he got injured, Man City were always in control after an early goal from Silva and a second from Aguero. I guess there’s some consolation for Karanka’s men that at least this wasn’t a Premier League game. What’s that? They are down to 19th anyway? Oh. Anyway, they can focus on actually scoring a league goal and the injury to Gestede means they can get back to trying to win matches. He doesn’t seem to win very often really having been part of that awful Villa team and now this. Meanwhile Manchester City can be very pleased with their afternoon’s work and we keep being reminded that Guardiola always win something. It’s not going to be the league, so you do the maths.
Saturday evening saw the old David vs Goliath clash between Arsenal and Lincoln. Except in this case Goliath is a bit dazed and confused and he can’t do his coat up. Lincoln held out for 45 minutes before Walcott scored a deflected goal, which must have been annoying but when most of your team is in the penalty area the odd bad deflection is bound to come around every now and again. That seemed to crush Lincoln’s gentle spirit and Arsenal went on to score four more in a crushing win. Wenger claimed Arsenal have their confidence back now but I think that’s a little bit strong. If I successfully drive my Fiesta to work in the morning it doesn’t mean I have the confidence to get in a Ferrari F1 car for a couple of laps at Monaco. Anyway, Lincoln have been brilliant value and I hope they go on to clinch promotion, just so it proves you can have a cup run and do well in the league.
Tottenham vs Millwall always looked like it could be a one sided affair but there was doubt cast over that when Harry Kane left the field early on. To cross over two of my columns for a second, it’s a fantasy football nightmare and I hope it’s either 2 days or 2 months because I can’t handle transferring him in and out. On a serious note, I think Harry Kane is the closest thing we’ve seen to Alan Shearer for some time and I enjoy watching him play, so get well soon. His teammates did him proud, rattling six past an increasingly hapless Millwall, summed up by the sixth and final goal where the Lions keeper channelled his inner Taibi and let in the softest of soft goals to give Son his hat-trick. Believe it or not, there was crowd trouble before the game. Who’d have thought?
So to the show piece fixture, Chelsea vs Manchester United on a Monday evening. The speculation pre-match was that Man Utd wouldn’t have a striker, but Marcus Rashford turned out to be less ill than Mourinho let on. Fancy that. It turned out Phil Jones injured Wayne Rooney in training, which isn’t as surprising as it sounds. The match itself was just starting to bubble up nicely, with Mourinho and Conte being separated by the fourth official. Isn’t it awful to see officials ruining matches? Anyway, Ander Herrera won dunce of the day by getting two yellows and effectively killed the game as a contest. The comparisons between Kante and Pogba went into overdrive, not helped by Kante scoring the winner with a fine strike from distance, whilst Pogba had a game to forget. Man Utd won’t be retaining their trophy but I maintain that as long as they get in the Champions League, Mourinho won’t mind too much. After all, he took his chance to kick Eden Hazard for 90 minutes.
The semi-final draw was also made, and although I’ll be back to preview that nearer the time, we may as well discuss that Phil Neville went a whole segment without making an error. We couldn’t have a bad draw such are the calibre of teams, but Tottenham can’t win at Wembley which is good news for Chelsea, whilst Pep and Wenger will go head to head to decide who will finish the season trophy less.