In the first quarter-final of the weekend, “The Harry Kane team” (credit to Pep) swatted aside Swansea without their star man in a comfortable 3-0 win, thanks to outstanding performances from the universally popular Christian Eriksen, the divisive Erik Lamela and the unanimously rubbished Moussa Sissoko.
But there was no time for Spurs supporters to revel in their victory; no sooner had the final whistle blown then rival fans jumped onto social media and reminded everyone that Mauricio Pochettino hasn’t won a trophy for Tottenham yet, as though he somehow should have won the FA Cup in the quarter-finals. Not that there’s any need to quell expectations; Spurs fans are already convinced that their team will lose to Chelsea in the actual final, if they can get past Manchester United in the semis.
According to reports, United’s players wouldn’t have felt like celebrating their last eight win either. After being shocked by Sevilla in Europe and with 'The Special One' still on the lookout for scapegoats, a domestic win over Brighton wasn’t enough to lift the mood sufficiently for all to be forgiven for any perceived wrongdoings.
Shaw – July 2015 by Matt Janzer is licensed by CC 2.0
Mourinho spent his press conference lambasting Luke Shaw (again), claiming there was a “dangerous situation coming” every time the opposition entered the territory of the former “next best full-back in the world.” You get the feeling that at this stage, if Shaw performed as a combination of peak Maldini and Roberto Carlos, Mourinho would complain he didn’t play like Tony Hibbert. A premier league full-back’s worst nightmare should be facing up to Eden Hazard, not wondering what their manager is going to say about them to the press.
Mind you, Hazard can just as easily be a nightmare for his own manager. After downing tools under Mourinho two seasons ago, Eden and co. have been dogged by persistent rumours of dressing room, and without doubt have underperformed throughout the season. It was typical of ruthless Chelsea then, that after being written off, they marched onwards to yet another cup semi-final, in Sunday’s late kick-off against Leicester City.
The much-maligned Alvaro Morata struck on 42 minutes and Pedro capitalised on poor judgement by Schmeichel to grab an extra-winner, following Jamie Vardy’s scrappy equaliser in normal-time second half. The real star of the show though, was N’Golo Kante, who ran the game almost through sheer willpower. With Kante in the team, Chelsea could have Hazard and Fabregas walk off the pitch in a sulk and still appear to have an extra man midfield.
Leicester – Chelsea 3 by @cfcunofficial is licensed by CC 2.0
Chelsea have drawn Southampton in the semi-finals, who defeated Wigan Athletic 2-0 at home in their own tie. With The Saints currently lying in the relegation zone after several seasons of stability, one wonders if their fans would rather have FA Cup Glory or secure Premier League status for another year.
Latics fans would doubtless tell them FA Cup champagne tastes a lot sweeter than mere Premier League survival. When you consider the numerous players (and one manager) Saints fans have seen stolen from their club following steps towards becoming a “big club” in recent years, you would have to agree with the ‘tics.