Who will win the FA Cup?

“Spurs are on their way to Wembley” those that travelled from north London to Swansea ironically crowed on Saturday as Tottenham Hotspur booked their place in the last four of the FA Cup.

At a ground they have already played at 24 times this season they will take on Manchester United in the semi-finals, with last year’s runners-up Chelsea also set to meet Southampton at the national stadium next month.

But who needs this FA Cup win the most, and who is best-placed to go all the way and lift the trophy on Saturday 19 May?

Manchester United

Everything Jose Mourinho does is calculated but it is difficult to fathom quite why he chose the immediate aftermath of Manchester United’s quarter-final win over Brighton & Hove Albion to perform a character assassination of his players.

Accusing his players of a “lack of class” as well as questioning their personality and desire, just a day earlier Mourinho had made a lengthy, impassioned defence of his personal record to the gathered media.

REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

The number of trophy wins on his CV is something he takes immense pride in so, even if he is on a self-destruct mission, surely Mourinho will not pass up another opportunity to end the season with silverware?

Standing in his team’s way to the final are Tottenham, who have already beaten United at Wembley this year – a 2-0 Premier League victory in January.

It would take a brave man to bet against Mourinho securing a record-equalling 13th FA Cup win come May though, with his teams invariably always rising to the grandest occasions of all.

Tottenham Hotspur

Always the bridesmaid never the bride? Well not if your memory extends beyond 1991.

A far-too-long 27 years ago, Spurs beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 to win the FA Cup for a standalone record eighth time.

But they have not been to a final since, losing in the last-four on seven occasions in the intervening years.

The most recent of those defeats was just last year to Chelsea in a 4-2 thriller and, while the collective ability of Mauricio Pochettino’s squad is not in question, their mentality certainly has been.

Yet their chance to call Wembley home this term while a new stadium is built on the site of White Hart Lane, means Spurs have been able to record 17 victories under the arch.

Real Madrid, Arsenal, Liverpool and Mourinho’s United have all been swept aside to end any suggestion of a Wembley hoodoo.

Of the four semi-finalists, it is Tottenham that need to win this trophy most and they should run United close.


Defeat to Arsenal in the final last year stopped Antonio Conte’s team from completing a famous league-cup double in the Italian boss’s debut season.

But fast-forward to present day and all is not well at Stamford Bridge, with the Blues fifth in the Premier League table and Conte’s future seemingly in doubt.

REUTERS/Andrew Yates

Like Manchester United and Spurs, Chelsea’s Champions League exit at the last-16 stage leaves the FA Cup as their only available prize.

A record of a goal every three games for last summer’s big-money signing Alvaro Morata seems to be the embodiment of their troubles.

Yet they should have too much for struggling Southampton – short of form, confidence and goals – in the last-four as they seek to lift the trophy for the first time since 2011-12.


The club’s one and only FA Cup triumph occurred 42 years ago and the St Mary’s faithful is split as to whether they would trade a second trophy for their Premier League status.

Manager Mark Hughes has made no secret of where his priorities lie having signed a short-term deal last week to replace Mauricio Pellegrino with Southampton two points adrift of safety.


REUTERS/Phil Noble

But is Hughes more likely to be long-remembered on the south coast for steering Saints clear of relegation or for emulating Lawrie McMenemy’s extraordinary achievement of 1976?

And history favours Southampton when it comes to FA Cup ties against Chelsea. In eight previous meetings between the teams, the Blues have only triumphed once – their most recent meeting in January 2013.

A bold switch to an attacking 4-4-2 formation in the quarter-final defeat of Wigan could prove a sign of things to come and perhaps cause Chelsea problems, but they will do well to find a balance and block the Blues at the other end.


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