Red Devils, Chelsea in FA Cup semis showdown

first_imgMan U vs. Chelsea Venue: Wembley Stadium Kick off: 6PMManchester United and Chelsea will temporarily take their focus off a fascinating top-four race this evening when the two sides meet in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Just one point separates them in the Premier League table, and both teams go into this repeat of the 2018 final off the back of crucial victories last weekend.It is hard to take one’s eyes off a thrilling top-four race in the Premier League table at the moment, with Chelsea in third and Manchester United in fifth separated by just one point, but that is what both clubs must do this evening with Wembley awaiting.The lure of an FA Cup semi-final will make it easier to do so, with the trophy playing a major part in the history of both of these clubs and it remaining their most realistic chance of silverware this season – despite both still being involved in European competition too.United and Chelsea have lifted the FA Cup 20 times between them, with United looking to do so for a record-equalling 13th time this season and also bidding for a record 21st appearance in the final.The impressive pedigree of these two clubs in this competition does not stop there; this is United’s 30th appearance in the semi-finals, while Chelsea have made the last four for the 10th time since the turn of the century – both records shared by Arsenal. Both managers know all about success in the FA Cup too, with Frank Lampard winning it four times as a player and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer twice; both are now looking for their first major trophy as a manager.It is Solskjaer’s side who will go into the game as favourites for many given their recent form, which has seen them win six and draw two of their eight matches since the restart.United’s unbeaten run now stretches to 19 games across all competitions, which is their longest such streak in almost a decade – last doing so in November 2010 when Sir Alex Ferguson’s side went 29 games without tasting defeat.It is the manner in which they have picked up those results which will please Solskjaer the most, though; after years of accusations of being stale and slow, the partnerships between Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba have provided a welcome and exciting breath of fresh air to the United attack.Fernandes was the only one of that quintet to start in the quarter-final against Norwich City, and it was therefore perhaps no surprise to see them struggle in comparison to their Premier League form, needing a 118th minute extra-time winner from Harry Maguire to overcome the Premier League’s bottom side. Todd Cantwell’s goal in that match was the first United had conceded in 448 minutes of FA Cup action this season, though, having kept clean sheets in victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers – via a replay – Tranmere Rovers and Derby County before that.In general, United’s defensive record has significantly improved since their last defeat in January, keeping clean sheets in 13 of their 19-match unbeaten run including Thursday night’s crucial 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace.Questions over VAR once again arose in that match with Palace denied a penalty, but goals from Rashford and Martial ensured that United remain very much in the mix for a top-four finish, only being kept out of the Champions League places by goal difference.Such is the tight nature of that battle that every remaining game this season is likely to feel like a knockout game for both of these two teams, with Chelsea currently in pole position to claim one of the remaining spots but still with no room for error if Leicester City and United keep winning.RelatedPosts Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’ Mane double eases Liverpool to win over 10-man Chelsea EPL: Chelsea, Liverpool in cagey duel The Blues made a vital return to winning ways over relegated Norwich on Tuesday night as Olivier Giroud fired them to a 1-0 victory, bouncing back from a hugely disappointing 3-0 defeat at Sheffield United last weekend.Such inconsistency has plagued Chelsea all season in truth, and with matches away to champions Liverpool and at home to Wolves still to come United will be optimistic that Sunday’s opponents will drop points between now and the end of the campaign.Inconsistent is not a word you could use to describe Chelsea in the FA Cup, though; they have won 11 of their last 12 outings in this competition stretching back to their defeat in the 2017 final, including lifting the trophy by beating United in the final two years ago.As it happens, United are the only team to have beaten Chelsea in that run – knocking the Blues out in the fifth round last season – but this is a competition that they have taken seriously in the Roman Abramovich era, winning it five times in the last 13 years.So far this season Chelsea have overcome Nottingham Forest, Hull City, Liverpool and Leicester to reach the semi-finals, conceding only one goal along the way.Man U possible XI: Romero, Dalot, Bailly, Maguire, Williams, Matic, Fred, James, Pogba, Rashford, Ighalo. Chelsea possible XI: Caballero, James, Tomori, Christensen, Emerson, Barkley, Jorginho, Mount, Loftus-Cheek, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi.Tags: ChelseaFA CupManchester UnitedPremier LeagueWembley Stadiumlast_img read more

Draw for semi finals of County Hurling Championship to be held this evening

first_imgThe teams in the hat are Drom Inch,Kilruane McDonaghs, Nenagh Eire Óg and reigning county and Mid champions Thurles Sarsfields.All teams left in the competition will fancy their chances after they recorded good wins in the quarter finals over the weekend.Speaking to Tipp FM sport, Nenagh manager Liam Heffernan said they may have some injury concerns after their win yesterday against Portroe but they were glad to be in the semi finals.  The draw is being made this evening and the pairings will be announced on Extra Time on Tipp FM this evening from 7pm.last_img read more