5 talking points ahead of the FA Cup semi-finals
Manchester City take their quadruple bid to Wembley.
The FA Cup semi-finals take place at Wembley this weekend. Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the biggest talking points ahead of the games.
City’s quadruple bid
Cup favourites Manchester City remain on course for an unprecedented quadruple. The Carabao Cup is already in the bag, they have their Premier League title destiny in their own hands and the the Champions League quarter-finals start next week. Victory over Brighton on Saturday would keep their remarkable quest alive and secure a first FA Cup final appearance since 2013. The fitness of top scorer Sergio Aguero was manager Pep Guardiola’s main concern ahead of the game.
Brighton bidding to upset their odds
The Seagulls are hoping to reach the final for only the second time in their history but, after being drawn against City, the odds are against them. Chris Hughton’s side, however, have shown determination to get this far. They battled through against West Brom in extra time of a replay and edged out Millwall on penalties after a dramatic late comeback from 2-0 down. Their fans, who are set to outnumber City’s, will certainly savour the big occasion. The players will hope they can rise to it.
Wolves set for tasty clash
Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves have revelled in their return to the top flight this season and their clash with Watford could be the pick of the semi-finals. The clubs are seventh and eighth in the Premier League respectively, vying to be the best of the rest behind the big six, and a run to the FA Cup final would cap impressive campaigns. Wolves have not played in the final for 59 years but their exhilarating brand of football has caught the eye this term. Their form is impressive, with two victories over Manchester United in recent weeks.
Hornets can provide a sting
“We did it one time and we can do it again. We know we can beat anyone.”— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) April 5, 2019
The gaffer is confident we can come out on top against @Wolves for a second time this season 👊
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Watford are enjoying their best Premier League campaign having moved to 46 points with victory over Fulham in midweek. Like Wolves, Javi Gracia’s side have a number of exciting attacking players and a powerful midfield. The sides seem fairly evenly matched but the Hornets came out on top, 2-0, when they last met in October. Victory for Watford would take them to the final for the first time since 1984 and the days of Graham Taylor and John Barnes.
VAR in the spotlight
The use of VAR has been at the centre of a number of controversies this season but the main one in the quarter-finals was over its absence. Manchester City had the benefit of two contentious decisions that could easily have been reversed on review had the system been in use for their quarter-final at Swansea. The Football Association could do with the system working perfectly this weekend.