FA Cup talking points: Mauricio Pochettino can’t afford to miss out on second shot at glory; Can Liverpool maintain quadruple push? | Football News

On Sunday, Championship pacesetters Leicester visit Chelsea, before Man Utd entertain old foes Liverpool at Old Trafford; follow the semi-final draw on the Sky Sports app and website after Man Utd vs Liverpool

By Sky Sports Football

7:55, UK, Sunday 17 March 2024

Pochettino can’t afford to miss out on second shot at cup glory

Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea are aiming to make up for Carabao Cup final disappointment

It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t convincing but Chelsea’s 3-2 win over Leeds in the previous round of the FA Cup was celebrated enthusiastically by the home fans at Stamford Bridge. Part of that was down to the rivalry between the sides but perhaps more significantly, it was because the victory came just three days on from their extra-time Carabao Cup final defeat to Liverpool at Wembley. It kept Chelsea’s season alive.

The middle of the Premier League is a crowded place and with co-efficient calculations being made on a weekly basis, there is still the possibility Chelsea could secure European football for next season with their league finish. But silverware would give Mauricio Pochettino’s project a shot in the arm – and perhaps win him some welcome admiration from the Chelsea fans who, he admits, have been underwhelmed by his output so far.

His winless cup record in England weighs down his reputation but, just as in the Carabao Cup, Chelsea have been handed a favourable draw. Another trip to Wembley beckons. Chelsea can’t afford to miss out.
Peter Smith

A welcome FA Cup distraction for Leicester – but no party without Vardy?

Jamie Vardy is in fine form for Leicester City

A welcome distraction? Leicester’s trip to Chelsea will surely be that given their alarming recent run of results which has threatened to derail what a month ago looked like being a procession to the Championship title. One win in five and three defeats in that stretch – including a galling late collapse at promotion rivals Leeds – has left Enzo Maresca’s Foxes reeling.

With Leeds and Ipswich on their tails in the second tier, Leicester will be hoping for a confidence-boosting upset at Stamford Bridge.

However, prospects of that have taken a blow with the news evergreen Jamie Vardy, with 10 goals in his last 11 appearances, will miss the tie with injury. The 37-year-old’s absence is hugely damaging to Leicester’s prospects in west London. But regardless of form or standing, Leicester are a club who should never be underestimated. Expected the unexpected?
Peter Smith

Man Utd to seize silverware chance?

Bruno Fernandes celebrates after scoring the opening goal with a first-half penalty

Manchester United last won the FA Cup in 2016, Louis van Gaal plonking the trophy in front of him at the post-final press conference. It was not enough to keep him in a job, having missed out on qualification for the Champions League. But could it save Erik ten Hag?

It has been a difficult Premier League campaign for the club. A fifth-place finish is likely to be enough to secure a spot in Europe’s premier club competition next season, but even that appears beyond them. Out of Europe before Christmas, it all comes down to this.

Liverpool, of all teams, are the visitors to Old Trafford on Sunday and though they have bigger prizes to play for, it will be a tough examination for a United team whose frailties have never been too far from the surface. It will need a big performance to progress.

There are big-game players in the United group. This is the sort of occasion that they will hope Casemiro would relish. And how about Bruno Fernandes? One Carabao Cup is scant reward for his contributions in a United shirt. Can the captain seize the day?

Defeat would confirm a trophyless season and accelerate discussions about the direction of travel under Ten Hag. Victory would take them to Wembley and eliminate one of the biggest remaining stumbling blocks to reclaiming the FA Cup. Massive for Manchester United.
Adam Bate

Can Liverpool maintain quadruple push at Theatre of Dreams?

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (right) makes his penultimate visit to Old Trafford on Sunday hoping to get one over on the Reds’ arch-rivals

Jurgen Klopp takes his Liverpool side to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon with the Reds in red-hot form following Thursday’s destruction of Sparta Prague in the Europa League last 16, but against opponents who would love nothing better than to derail their bid for an unprecedented quadruple.

This will be the Liverpool manager’s penultimate visit to the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, with the Reds also scheduled to face United in the Premier League on April 7, but with some key players starting to return from injury, the visitors will be expected to field a strong-looking starting lineup this weekend.

Both Mohamed Salah and Dominik Szoboszlai proved their return to fitness after recent hamstring injuries by playing the entire game against Sparta at Anfield, although it will still be intriguing to see what side Klopp fields against United.

However, with Liverpool not playing again until they host Brighton and Hove Albion in the top flight after the international break on May 31, it would be a surprise were Klopp not to play his first-choice XI against their fierce rivals.

Either way, Klopp would love nothing better than to triumph one last time at Old Trafford, a ground he has at times struggled to get results at during his time in charge of Liverpool, before departing the club this summer.
Richard Morgan

FA Cup quarter-final draw in full

Wolves 2-3 Coventry

Man Utd vs Liverpool

Chelsea vs Leicester

Man City 2-0 Newcastle

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