Manchester United, Chelsea And Spurs Seek English FA Cup Salvation

Manchester United, Chelsea And Spurs Seek English FA Cup Salvation

With dreams of European glory shattered, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur turn their attention to the English FA Cup quarter-finals clinging to their last chance of silverware this season.

The competition’s luster, to many, may have dulled in recent years as managers prioritise so-called bigger prizes.

But Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino will this weekend have their eyes firmly fixed on securing a Wembley date on May 19.

Mourinho’s Manchester United, still reeling from a meek UEFA Champions League exit against Sevilla on Tuesday, host Brighton and Hove Albion, while Conte’s Chelsea travel to Leicester City.

Also, Pochettino takes his Tottenham side to Swansea City.

Third-tier Wigan Athletic, the unlikely spanner in the spokes of Manchester City’s bid for a quadruple, welcome top-flight strugglers Southampton.

The Saints will have new manager Mark Hughes, hired to save them from relegation, in the dugout for the first time.

Mourinho’s one and only English FA Cup triumph was with Chelsea in 2006-2007.

The Portuguese will be well aware that adding a record-equalling 13th for Manchester United is now the bare minimum requirement from his second season at Old Trafford.

Chris Hughton’s Brighton side will be tricky opponents though, having made a good fist of their first season of English Premier League football, sitting 11th in the table.

They are in the last eight for the first time since 1986, three years after they lost to Manchester United in a final replay, having drawn 2-2 in the original fixture.

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, who scored a consolation goal against Sevilla, knows United must respond.

“We have to bounce back. We have one trophy to chase and that is the FA Cup,” he said.

While Manchester United were lambasted for their defeat by Sevilla, Chelsea earned some credit in spite of a 0-3 loss to FC Barcelona on Wednesday.

They have nonetheless lost five of their last nine matches in all competitions, and are far from assured of a top-four finish in the English Premier League.

Leicester, with Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez in form, will be a tough proposition at the King Power on Sunday.

With no relegation fears, Leicester look prime “dark horse’’ material for a first-ever English FA Cup win.

A good omen for Chelsea perhaps is that the last time they won the trophy, in 2012, they beat Leicester 5-2 in the quarter-finals, albeit at Stamford Bridge.


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