This weekend marks the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the two games provide much-anticipated clashes between both of the London and Merseyside clubs. In the first game of the weekend, and what is arguably the most talked-about of the two ties, Liverpool and Everton go head-to-head at Wembley in what is one of the most exciting Merseyside derby encounters in recent memory. Liverpool, who have already lifted the Carling Cup earlier this season, but are struggling in the league, will be looking to lift the FA Cup for the third time in just over a decade to mend their relatively lacklustre season. Everton meanwhile are one place above Liverpool in the league, though Liverpool have done the league double over their rivals this season, winning 3-0 and 0-2 respectively.
The two teams have met twenty-two times previously in the FA Cup, of which Liverpool have won nine and Everton seven. The last time they appeared together in an FA Cup semi-final was in 1977 when Liverpool won the replay 3-0 after a 2-2 draw initially (though they have contested the final more recently, in 1986 when Liverpool ran out 3-1 winners). Everton last won the cup in 1995 after a 1-0 victory over Manchester United, with Paul Rideout scoring the decisive header. It’ll surely be an interesting game and whether you’re the blue or red side of Liverpool, it’ll certainly be a cracker.
Meanwhile in the Sunday fixture, Chelsea take on Tottenham in which should be an equally entertaining game. Tottenham, who are fighting it out with Arsenal for the third automatic Champions League place, have had a poor run of form recently, notching up only a single win in their past eight Premier League games. The tables have also turned slightly for Chelsea but in the opposite direction. Since the sacking of André Villas-Boas in early March, and the temporary appointment of Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea have lost just the once and are still within hope of a Champions League place. The last time these two met in the FA Cup – the quarter final, 2007 – Chelsea went through to the semis after a 2-1 win in the replay. It should be a similar close encounter this time around as the sides met just less than a month ago in the league in a goalless draw.
So, a couple of great games coming up this weekend and if you’re heading to Wembley or tuning in on television, I’m certain you’re in for a treat. Personally, I see a repeat of the 2009 final between Chelsea and Everton but who knows, Tottenham and Liverpool may surprise a few of us yet…