Arsenal and Everton kicked off the FA Cup quarter-finals this weekend. The two sides met at The Emirates stadium to contest one of only two all-Premier League ties. Out of favour Mesut Ozil got the Gunners off to a flying start with a well taken goal after only seven minutes. Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku equalised just after the half hour point but it wasn’t enough to stop Arsenal going through. Ex-Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta scored a penalty, that had to be retaken, to give the north London side the lead and two late goals from Olivier Giroud secured victory, as well as a semi-final spot.
Arsenal’s opponents were drawn before the final game of the weekend, Manchester City v Wigan Athletic. They were to face the winner of the tie. A straightforward win for City would ensure a huge Wembley semi-final. Wigan, however, had a plot twist in mind as City completely lost it. The away side stole a lead on 27 minutes from the penalty spot and held on to half time, comfortably. James Perch sent Wigan fans into hysteria just a minute after the break by scoring from close range. This forced City boss Manuel Pellegrini into a three-man substitution and the players into actually starting to play. Despite Samir Nasri scoring with more than 20 minutes to play Wigan held on, against the odds. The pressure was intense from a determined forward line but the Championship side held strong and earned their place in the semi’s.
Sheffield United ensured two Football League teams were in the last four with a win against Charlton Athletic. The League One side were the stronger team from start to finish, but their higher-tier opponents almost stole the game. Callum Harriott shot just wide of a gaping goal with the scores still level. They were duly punished for this wastefulness too, with Ryan Flynn and John Bradford scoring a goal apiece in under two minutes to give the home side the win.
The final last-eight clash was settled by horrendous defending. With the game finely balanced Sunderland submitted to Hull City with little over 20 minutes left to play. Curtis Davies rose to head home impressively from a corner, giving the home side the lead. Only a few minutes later Hull broke from a Sunderland corner and David Meyler scored to effectively end the match. Five minutes after this Lee Cattermole had a moment of madness, passing the ball to an open Matt Fryatt just outside the box and beyond the last Black Cats defender. The Tigers pounced, giving the tie a distinctly one sided feel. They were rewarded for victory with a Wembley match-up with the competition’s lowest ranked side, Sheffield United.
FA Cup semi-final draw:
Hull City v Sheffield United
Wigan Athletic v Arsenal