Sport | Wembley glory in sight for FA Cup underdogs

Sport | Wembley glory in sight for FA Cup underdogs

The 2014 finalists of the oldest football competition in the world will be decided this weekend as Wembley plays host to two mouth-watering semi-finals. Drama produced at every stage of this year’s tournament has conjured up an exciting, albeit unusual line-up of teams that have made it to the last four.

Sitting fourth in the Premier League, Arsenal are overwhelming favourites to claim the FA Cup title and finally end their nine-year wait for silverware.  However, the Gunners know that games are not won on paper and must be wary that defending champions Wigan will no doubt provide a stern test when the sides meet on Saturday.

Having beaten top flight sides in the last three rounds of the cup and with a Championship play-off place almost guaranteed, the Latics are sure to be confident of causing yet another upset in what is now their favourite competition. Arsenal’s recent woeful form has surely rocketed Wigan’s self-belief, however with a Champions League spot far from certain for next season, Arsène Wenger knows that FA Cup success may be the only thing that keeps him his job and he is sure to have his troops rallied for what is promising to be a breath-taking encounter.

Four-time winners Sheffield United represent the role of underdogs on Sunday as they compete against Premier League side Hull City for the second FA Cup final spot. Nigel Clough has become a cult figure at Bramall Lane since taking over as manager in October 2013 with a series of results that has seen the League 1 club steer clear of relegation and secure a place at Wembley. Like Wigan, the Blades have already overcome Premier League opposition en route to the semi-final and with talent such as on-loan star Conor Coady they will show no mercy against the Tigers.

On the other hand, Hull have enjoyed a solid return to the top flight this season and Saturday’s win over Swansea will have boosted their confidence as they look to reach the FA Cup final for the first time.

A gulf in class is supposedly represented in both semi-finals, yet the FA Cup is known as the master of upsets and no-one can guarantee who will line-up in the final at Wembley on May 17. However, with all of the teams vowing for glory for different reasons, both ties are sure to entertain and may even spew up a few surprises.

 

Peter White

Image courtesy of The Mirror

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