Technically now, teams who reached this stage are only 1 game (possibly 2) away from actually reaching Wembley Stadium due to the ridiculous rule from the FA that the Semi-Finals are actually played there too. Nevermind. My road had picked up the two leading teams (in terms of table position) in England for this QF, Man Utd and Arsenal. It was Fergie vs Wenger again.
With Arsenal having crashed out of 2 other cup competitions previous to this game after losing to Birmingham City (Carling Cup) and Barcelona (Champs League), this game was crucial to Arsenal who could probably not afford to lose again in such an important game in such a short period of time. As for Man Utd, they have not won the FA Cup since 2004 when they beat Millwall 3-0. 7 years since winning the Cup is a long time for Utd under Fergie (they longest “drought” under him) and having lost 2 finals in 2005 and 2007, Fergie will probably want at least one more win before he retires.
In the end, the game wasn’t a close as expected as for all the possession Arsenal had (which they ALWAYS do), again they could not do much with it against a tough Utd rear-guard. Goals from Fabio da Silva (above) on 28 minutes after reacting from an Almunia save from Hernandez. Wayne “Shrek” Rooney added a 2nd (below) on 49 minutes to effectively kill the tie off. Arsenal did create chances but Van der Sar was on top form to deny RVP, Koscielny and Chamakh. It got worse for the Gooners as Johan Djourou was stretchered off late on and looks set to miss the rest of the season.
The Semi-Final draw has pitted Manchester neighbours City vs United at Wembley which looks set to be a stunner. The winners of that (care to predict? I don’t) will play the winners of Bolton vs Stoke. We’re nearly at the end of the Road to Wembley for another season and its just beginning to hot up! 16th/17th April will be a big date for supporters of Manchester’s two biggest clubs…
ROAD TO WEMBLEY 2010/2011:
QUARTER-FINAL: Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal (Old Trafford, Att: 74,693)