Football News

A 37-year wait ends plus other stats & stories you might have missed from the FA Cup quarter-finals this weekend

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 15:00, 17 March 2024

The world’s oldest association football competition resumed centre stage this weekend.

Eight remaining teams were vying for a visit to Wembley Stadium next month, where the FA Cup semi-finals will be hosted.

Six quarter-final clubs are Premier League representatives, while two play in the Championship.

Played over two days, with other sporting events jostling for headlines, it’s only natural if you miss a meaningful or memorable event. But don’t worry – Squawka is here to fix that.

From the jaws of defeat (Wolves 2-3 Coventry)

Football can be a rollercoaster of emotions. Wolves found themselves behind Championship outfit Coventry City before sensationally turning it around. Ellis Simms gave the visitors a controversial 53rd-minute lead before Rayan Ait-Nouri and substitute Hugo Bueno struck in the final seven minutes. However, from nowhere, Simms got his second in the 97th minute of stoppage time, seemingly forcing extra time, but Simms, three minutes later, found Haji Wright, who beat Jose Sa, sparking wild celebrations. Simms, formerly of Everton, was the difference-maker; across all players in the top four tiers of English football, no player has scored more goals than him (10) across all competitions since the start of February (level with Erling Haaland).

Mark Robins’ men now follow in the footsteps of their predecessors; Coventry will play only their second-ever FA Cup semi-final, first doing so in the 1986-87 season when the Sky Blues went on to lift the trophy. Furthermore, they’ve progressed to play at Wembley Stadium for the fourth time since the 2016-17 season, the joint-most times of any non-Premier League club in that period (level with Sunderland and Tranmere Rovers). As for Wolves, they’ve been eliminated from the FA Cup by a team from a lower division for the first time since being knocked out by non-league side Luton Town in Round Three in the 2012-13 season. It’s the first time Wolves have gone out to such an opponent at this stage of the competition or later.

Pax Guardiola (Man City 2-0 Newcastle)

Manchester City’s consistency under Pep Guardiola is outstanding and remarkable. They are once again chasing a treble in back-to-back seasons. A point off Premier League leaders Liverpool, Real Madrid awaits them in the Champions League quarter-finals, and the champions comfortably booked their last-four spot in this competition.

Newcastle offered no resistance. The Magpies had just two shots in this match, their fewest in a single game in all competitions since November 2015 (also two shots against Bournemouth). They have lost 16 of their last 17 away games against City in all competitions (one win), including each of the previous 10 in a row. They have only had a longer losing run on the road against Arsenal (11 games between 2012 and 2021).

Bernardo Silva’s double gave Guardiola’s side easy passage into another semi-final. To paint a bigger picture, City is the first team in FA Cup history to reach the semi-finals in six consecutive seasons. They have reached the last four in seven of Guardiola’s eight campaigns in charge. Silva’s opener meant City scored in their last 57 home games in all competitions, extending their club record. His brace took him to 10 goals in all competitions this season. It is the third time he has reached double figures in a single campaign with Manchester City (13 goals in 2018-19 and 2021-22).

3. Blue relief (Chelsea 4-2 Leicester)

The short period in which Chelsea’s first-team was overhauled under Todd Boehly’s led ownership incredibly means that Ben Chilwell is the only remaining scorer from their last meeting against Leicester, a 3-1 victory in March last year as the Foxes headed towards Premier League relegation.

Today should have been a straightforward win after Chelsea raced into a 2-0 lead at half-time. Marc Cucurella opened the scoring before Cole Palmer, arguably one of the few transfer success stories during Chelsea’s cash-splashing frenzy, doubled their lead before the break. His effort came after Raheem Sterling missed a penalty.

The visiting Championship leaders were handed a lifeline through Axel Disasi’s freak of an own goal before Stephy Mavididi produced a stunning equaliser minutes later. “Maybe this is the new football at Chelsea,” Martin Keown said on commentary. “It’s one end to the other. It’s great to watch, but [Mauricio] Pochettino must be pulling his hair out.”

The final quarter of regulation time became a grandstand one, with Callum Doyle sent off, but the atmosphere in Stamford Bridge started becoming poisonous; Sterling was jeered by the home support after blasting a free-kick just outside Leiciesterr’s penalty area handsomely over the bar, and then Pochettino’s decision to substitute Mykhailo Mudryk vociferously booed.

Carney Chukwuemeka, who came on for Mudryk, restored Chelsea’s lead seconds into stoppage time. His effort was created by Palmer, meaning he’s both scored and assisted a goal in six separate games for Chelsea in all competitions this season, the most any Premier League player has done so in 2023/24. Noni Madueke ensured the win by putting together a spectacular effort, which had Jakub Stolarczyk beaten.

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