Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, the last four winners of the oldest football cup competition, advanced to the penultimate round with away victories this weekend in England.
On Sunday, Arsenal needed a goal in the second half from injured midfielder Dani Ceballos to advance to Sheffield. That was after the Blades leveled in the 87th minute through David McGoldrick.
Sheffield United, an impressive eighth in the Premier League after being promoted to the second tier, left two goals out of play. Still it looks like they were the right decisions.
Relief for Arteta
Arsenal are below Sheffield United on the first leg, but won for the second game in a row. He also leads with 13 FA Cup titles, one more than Manchester United.
“I am very pleased with the result. This is a difficult place to get a victory,” Arteta told reporters. “Having conceded so late, to prove that the reaction is not easy and it is very pleasant and we return to Wembley.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to try to win a title and play in Europe. We still have to improve in many areas, but every victory gives you good merit and encouragement. We hope we can have a boost now.”
Chelsea currently occupy the Champions League final in fourth place, behind Leicester. But Leicester are now struggling, having not won since the return of English football.
And top scorer Jamie Vardy has yet to find the back of the net since the restart.
Chelsea benefited from the best chances, with Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel making a good save to deny international Christian Pulisic initially in the first half.
It wasn’t the Blues ’best game, but Chelsea improved after the break and got the winner in the 63rd minute when Ross Barkley hit Willian’s cross for his third goal of the competition this season.
Willy Caballero fired a shot into the net from Chelsea’s goal in the minutes he died, but defender Cesar Azpilicueta saved him by blocking Caglar Soyuncu’s head.
Then Schmeichel denied Barkley with Leicester stretched to limit the damage.
Lampard’s sincere assessment
“It was a lethargic performance from us,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard admitted on his club’s website.
“In the second half, there were visits (our good play) and I’m delighted we came to a draw. If we refer to other games like we did today, however, there’s no chance. We were lucky today.” .
Manchester City needed no luck at Newcastle at the end of the match. As in their November league clash, City dominated possession, especially in the first half. That ended 2-2.
But Newcastle were unable to tie City on Sunday, meaning the 50-year-old Magpies trophy drought persists. City, meanwhile, are on the verge of winning a cup, having won the League Cup this season and still played in the Champions League after securing a first-half advantage over Real Madrid in the round of 16.
“Now in the Premier League, we struggle a bit to focus,” said Guardiola, who lost to Chelsea last week to officially give Liverpool the title. “But now, of course, the FA Cup and the Champions League, it’s a little different because being at Wembley again we were the winners last season.
“We’re back in the semi-finals, so it’s so good and we’re naturally preparing for the end of the season for Real Madrid.”
Birthday goal for Bruyne
Birthday boy Kevin de Bruyne celebrated his 29th birthday by opening the scoring from the penalty spot in the 37th minute after Fabian Schar pushed Gabriel Jesus, injured Sergio Aguero, into the box.
Newcastle opened up in the second half instead of sitting down and should have leveled off. But Dwight Gayle, who had just entered as a substitute, fired on the bar from the goal. It was one of the failures of the season.
Almost immediately, the team was paid for at home, as Raheem Sterling’s effort from outside the box beat Karl Darlow in the 68th minute.