The FA Cup returns to its spiritual home this weekend, with both semifinals being played at Wembley, but in a place so laced with nostalgia, echoes of past glory and passion, it will be eerie to hear the venue silent as the four clubs chase a spot in the final. But fear not, the ties will make their own noise.
On Saturday, Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal side get a chance to knock over his old tutor Pep Guardiola, and his Manchester City side. In a week where City’s European fortunes were played out in the courts of Switzerland, Guardiola is looking to retain the FA Cup and win the seventh major title of his four-year tenure. Arteta, who has been in the job eight months, can beat his ex-boss and bring joy in a turbulent year for Arsenal.
On Sunday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United and Frank Lampard’s Chelsea go toe-to-toe at Wembley and, while both are distracted by their quests for a spot in the Premier League’s top four, neither will want to lose momentum or miss out on a spot in the FA Cup final, which takes places on Aug.1.