Manchester City 5 Barnsley 0
Man City had a straightforward match against Barnsley (the last team to beat Chelsea in the FA Cup in open play) on Saturday and progressed into the semi-finals with a very comfortable 5-0 win at the Etihad Stadium including a hat-trick from Carlos Tevez. The gulf in class was clear for all to see. Other goals came from Kolarov & David Silva as the current Premier League Champions dispatched of the Yorkshire team currently bottom of the Championship without breaking sweat.
Millwall 0 Blackburn Rovers 0
The all-Championship FA Cup Quarter-Final tie between Millwall & Blackburn was a feisty affair with plenty of grit and determination. Both sides hit the woodwork but it was Millwall who looked more likely to score. Especially in the second half with wave after wave of attacking play. The best chance fell to striker Rob Hulse who somehow ballooned a perfect cross over the bar from about six yards out.
Everton 0 Wigan 3
This season’s FA Cup has already had its fair share of shock results, and the quarter-finals were no different as Wigan were hoping to progress to the semi-finals for the first time in their history. But awaiting them at Goodison Park was an inform Everton side, who were odds on to progress themselves. For whatever reason Everton didn’t appear to get going and Wigan took full advantage as they scored three times in the space of just four minutes – Figueroa (30mins), McManaman (31 mins) & Gomez (33 mins). There was no great fight back from David Moyes side who appeared as stunned as the disenchanted crowd.
Manchester United 2 Chelsea 2
The last of the four matches were between last year’s winners Chelsea and in form Manchester United, fresh from their defeat in midweek to Real Madrid. Before the match began I thought Chelsea were going to be on the end of a United backlash as they looked to put an exit from the Champions League out of their minds; and the match began exactly as I thought. Man Utd completely outwitted a lack lustre and somewhat dazzled looking Chelsea team whose passing was off and their passion appeared lacking. A sublime pass from Michael Carrick saw Hernandez react quicker than Petr Cech & Gary Cahill to opening the scoring with only 5 minutes played. Wayne Rooney increased Manchester United’s lead after 11 minutes with a free-kick that crept in the corner as everyone failed to make contact with the ball. Cech was at fault for both goals and at this point Chelsea looked like they were going to be on the end of a thumping.
But, a game of two halves it was. The second-half was a completely different story. United appeared to drop off at the same time as Chelsea began to pass the ball around and pen Man Utd in; and the game completely turned on its head when Rafa Benitez made a double substitution. Eden Hazard & Jon Obi Mikel came on for Frank Lampard & Victor Moses. Moses had a poor game but the Chelsea fans booed Frank Lampard’s departure. But the switch was a tactical one. Benitez’ attack minded substitutions gave Ramires the freedom to make his trademark surging runs. It changed the match. Chelsea dominated the second half and against all the odds came back to level the match with a fantastic shot from Hazard followed by a great counter-attack team goal finished by Ramires.
Man Utd don’t normally giveaway a two goal lead at Old Trafford, and following Sir Alex Ferguson’s side losing to Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid, it would have been untinkable to follow it by being knocked out of the FA Cup by Chelsea. But Juan Mata had the chance to win the game for Chelsea in the last minute of injury time but was denied by an amazing shot-stopping reaction save by fellow Spain international, David De Gea.
Danny Wellbeck & Robin Van Persie were sent on in the second-half but they had no effect on the match.
The match was followed by the draw for the FA Cup semi-finals which will both be played at Wembley Stadium next month with Man City playing either Chelsea or Man Utd and Wigan playing either Millwall or Blackburn Rovers.