Revenge is a potent source of satisfaction, especially in football. However, it often ends in tears.
Let’s start by congratulating Liverpool for winning the 2019/20 Premier League. As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, it’s not an easy league to win.
The glory days are back under Jurgen Klopp and the Red’s would not have wanted it any better than it is now. Klopp will lead Liverpool out at the Etihad Stadium as Champions, at the home of Manchester City, now dethroned.
“Of course we are going to do it. We are going to do the guard of honour of course. Always we receive Liverpool when they come to our house in an incredible way. They cannot complain and of course we are going to do it because they deserve it,” said Guardiola.
But Liverpool’s story ends there, and focus shifts to the Oldest Cup competition in England, the FA Cup.
City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal all have a chance of moving one step closer to silverware this season, perhaps one dimmed with the brilliance of Liverpool.
The 2020 FA Cup is proving to be among the best of all time. “Interesting” would be a huge understatement.
What’s at Stake?
THE FINAL – Should teams from Manchester progress, fans will be treated to a mouth-watering Derby final, one which has eluded English football finals in recent years. However, the final could also be a bitter London derby, should Chelsea and Arsenal complete their long-awaited revenge missions against old adversaries.
Manchester United visit Chelsea while Arsenal tackle Manchester City, fixtures majority of Manchester fans feel confident about. You can’t blame them, Solskjaer feels he’s ready for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, having completed a league double over the Blues, along with a Carabao Cup win.
However, 139th FA Cup will not be a walk in the park. It will surely be messy, noisy, and will less-hopefully leave emotional casualties.
Last season’s semis, Manchester City were crowned champions after beating Watford.
MANCHESTER CITY V ARSENAL
Guardiola will have to face ex-assistant Arteta again, with the odds tacked hugely in his favour. City have been brilliant. After the restart, they beat the same Arsenal 3-0 at the Etihad. Though one could argue most of it came via David Luiz’s dizasterclass, City was the best team on the pitch. On the 18th of July, the two teams will meet again.
The loss is just among the list of countless humiliations by City, in the recent past, including the heart-crushing memory of the December 15th, 2019 encounter which left Arsenal with another 3-0 bitter pill.
Remarkably, City has triumphed in all their fixtures with Arsenal in their last five encounters. Home and away.
This record draws a line in the sand for Arsenal, whose memory of a win against the Etihad team dates back to 2017.
With top-four hopes also seemingly out of reach for the Gunners, the hope of playing in the finals and possibly clinching the title, will be a dream worth dying for.
Notably, having lost two games since the re-opening of the season after the Covid-19 hiatus, Arsenal has added some ammunition to its guns, registering a 2-0 win away at Southampton.
The FA Cup fixture will be dear to Arsenal especially with dreadful fixtures ahead. The remaining major dates in the EPL include a moment with the champions Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspurs, and Leicester City.
CHELSEA V MANCHESTER UNITED
Manchester United who boast terrific form since signing of Bruno Fernandez in January will play Chelsea for the fourth time this season.
The newly-found partnership between the 25-year old former Sporting Lisbon talisman and Paul Pogba has brought a breath of fresh air and delight among Man-United fans.
Thus, following the ‘Bruno-effect’, United will seek to extend their unbeaten run. The Red Devils are unbeaten in their last six games against Chelsea including three victories this season – winning both league games and also their Carabao Cup tie. Chelsea’s last victory over United came in the 2018 FA Cup final.
The sterling form has seen United beat Chelsea back to back in their recent encounters, including a 4-0 thumbing at the season’s opener on August 11th last year.
United also went ahead to beat the Blues in 2-0 in their return leg.
In the recent match against City, Chelsea gifted Liverpool their first title in 30 years after silencing City with a 2-1 defeat.
Therefore, the teams will both play for a Cup as well as for a chance to get at eternal rivals and settle scores as far as football is concerned.