After 152 games, the 2019/2020 FA Cup hits the semi final stage this weekend as Wembley stadium plays host to UK’s oldest and most treasured football competition. As you may all know, due to the corona virus pandemic, the games will be played behind closed doors but that will not have an effect on the talent this weekend’s fixtures will exhibit.
City Vs Arsenal
Pep Guardiola’s search for a seventh trophy at City faces a new challenge in form of ex assistant Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal. City come to this game from a week they made more news off the pitch in this case the controversial lifting of their ban to participate in UEFA competitions for two seasons by the Court of Arbitration of Sport on July 13 but this will surely play a minimal role in their search for a second trophy of the season having already secured the league cup. The services of their club record goalscorer Sergio Aguero who is out due to a knee injury won’t be heavily missed with Pep having limited his star men Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez to short spells on the pitch during their hard laboured win over the Cherries midweek.
The Gunners who are looking for a record 14th FA Cup title come into this game in high spirits after an unexpected win over this season’s premier league champions, Liverpool. Arsenal have not had successful encounters against the Citizens with their past seven matches ending in tears for the Gunners. However, their last win against city came in in 2017 as they beat City to knock them out of the FA cup so don’t write off Arsenal yet. Number 2 Emiliano Martinez has made sure the services of Bernd Leno are not missed so far but he should expect a busy day at office against Pep’s relentless forwards tonight.
United Vs Chelsea
Ole’s red have finished off Chelsea thrice this season but according to Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo, those previous results do not matter as United go into a do or die battle against Chelsea at Wembley tomorrow. The reds come into this fixture as the most in form team of the Project restart with their each of their front three Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and youngster Mason Greenwood in the form our their lives especially with service behind them in Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes. United have an injury blow as Ole’s preferred choice at leftback Luke Shaw is ruled out while his expected replacement Brandon Williams is doubtful. We wait to see if Ole will stick with Timothy Fosu Mensah who was solid at Selhurst Park on Thursday night or give Diogo Dalot a chance to prove himself.
Much as you have to commend Frank Lampard for the work he has done with Chelsea this season mostly because they lost their best player, Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and he was not replaced, you cannot hide the fact that his team has been so reckless and casual in defending their goal. That is one major area of concern for Lampard who can rely on the in form Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud and Willian to cause harm to United’s defence that has kept six clean sheets in the last ten games.With Ngolo Kante ruled out, Jorginho is expected to dictate the tempo of the game in the middle of pack.
With all this said, we wait to see if both sides will field weaker teams as they keep their best players to seal Champions League qualifications by finishing the premier league in the top four. United have must win encounters against Westham United and Leicester City while Chelsea close the season with a trip to Anfield to face champions Liverpool and a home date with Wolves on the last day of the season.