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Friday 08 March 2013

FA Cup: Manchester United host Chelsea in headline billing

Five Premier League teams in action in FA Cup quarter-finals

Chelsea's Didier Drogba scores the winner against Man United in the 2007 FA Cup final

There are two all-Premier-League ties in this weekend’s FA Cup quarter-finals with Chelsea’s trip to Manchester United on Sunday the highlight of the fixtures.

Manchester United v Chelsea

Both sides are looking to bounce back from midweek defeats in Europe with Manchester United having been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Real Madrid after a 2-1 reverse at Old Trafford, and Chelsea losing 1-0 at Steaua Bucharest in the UEFA Europa League, but with both having strong domestic form this promises to be an exciting affair.

"Rio’s been here for more than 10 years and never won it, so the manager is making sure we all want to win it, and we want to win it for ourselves as well"
Chris Smalling

Leading the Barclays Premier League standings by 12 points United can recover from the shock of Tuesday’s setback by boosting their hopes of winning a League and FA Cup double. United defender Chris Smalling, for one, is desperate to get his hands on the trophy his club last won nine years ago.

"The manager has stressed before the Cup games that it’s only Scholesey, Giggsy and Fletch in the squad who’ve won the FA Cup [and Robin van Persie, but that was for Arsenal],” Smalling told United’s website.

"Rio’s been here for more than 10 years and never won it, so the manager is making sure we all want to win it, and we want to win it for ourselves as well."

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side boast a good record at home against Chelsea, having beaten them on each of the last three occasions at Old Trafford. They also ran out 3-2 winners at Stamford Bridge in the League in late October. However, the Blues triumphed the last time the two sides met when they sealed a 5-4 Capital One Cup victory in West London and they also won their most recent FA Cup encounter – the 2007 final.

Wayne Rooney, Jonny Evans and Shinji Kagawa will hope to return to the side after missing out in midweek, but Ryan Giggs and Phil Jones will not play. For Chelsea, Ramires, who scored in both games against United this term, sat out the trip to Romania, while Juan Mata started on the bench. John Terry returned to captain the team and Demba Ba is available again after being cup-tied in Europe.  

Everton v Wigan Athletic

Everton are aiming to reach the semi-finals for the third time in five years as they welcome Wigan Athletic to Goodison Park.

"I don’t think there is a tougher challenge than going to Goodison Park to face Everton"
Roberto Martinez

These two sides also lost on their last Barclays Premier League sortie with Everton suffering a late defeat at Norwich City and Wigan going down 4-0 at home to Liverpool.

The hosts, who are sixth in the League standings, will be favourites for the tie, having gone undefeated against the Latics for 10 matches and winning five of their last six matches against Roberto Martinez’s side, who are fourth from bottom, but Everton manager David Moyes has dismissed the relevance of the League history or form when it comes to the Cup.

“It’s a tough cup tie,” Moyes told Everton TV. “You look at some of the results in the cup this season especially, there have been quite a few shocks so you’re not going to find any game at this stage easy.”

Everton defender Phil Jagielka is doubtful, as is goalkeeper Tim Howard, while Wigan will be without their three long-term absentees Albert Crusat, Ivan Ramis and Ben Watson, but may be able to call upon Ryo Miyaichi and Adrian Lopez.

“All of our games against Everton have been very difficult and very close encounters, but we’ve never really had any luck against David Moyes’ side,” Martinez told the club’s website. “I knew that if we were going to get to Wembley, we would have to come through a tough challenge, and there is no tougher challenge than going to Goodison Park to face Everton.

“They have incredible tradition, particularly in this competition, and you can see how much they want to succeed, as do we.”

Manchester City v Barnsley

Manchester City are the remaining Barclays Premier League representatives with the competition they won two years ago their most realistic chance of silverware this season.

"For a team like us it is important to win something every year"
Roberto Mancini

City lie second in the top flight, 12 points behind Man United and will fancy their chances of overcoming Championship side Barnsleyat home, although manager Roberto Mancini sees the contest as something of hiding to nothing.

“These games are difficult,” he told Manchester City TV. “Barnsley have nothing to lose. Everyone maybe can think it will be easy but these games are really strange.

“For a team like us it is important to win something every year. It’s better if it’s the Premier League or the Champions League or the Europa League but also the FA Cup is important.”

Vincent Kompany is back in training but will not be risked, while Sergio Aguero, Jack Rodwell and Micah Richards are also out injured.

Sunday’s remaining quarter-final pits 2004 FA Cup finalists Millwall against Blackburn Rovers, who knocked out Arsenal in the previous round.

FA Cup quarter-final fixtures

Saturday 10 March
Everton v Wigan Athletic, 12,45pm
Manchester City v Barnsley, 5.30pm

Sunday 10 March
Millwall v Blackburn Rovers, 2pm
Manchester United v Chelsea, 4.30pm

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Key Points

  • The FA Cup quarter-finals take place this weekend
  • Manchester United host Chelsea in Sunday's headline act, while Manchester City meet Barnsley on Saturday
  • Everton host Wigan Athletic in Saturday's all-Premier League tie