The FA Cup is approaching its final stages and with some big names still left in it, The Boot Room takes a look at the remaining teams and who is in with the best chance of winning this prestigious competition.
The outright favorites to take the crown has got to be Chelsea, coming off the back of an emphatic 5-1 victory against Manchester City (albeit a weak City side) you could really see the quality of the Chelsea players. Also, with Chelsea more or less out of contention for a European spot they can really go for the FA Cup, however The Blues do face Paris Saint Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League three days prior to their FA Cup clash so player fitness will be a crucial factor. Chelsea will face Everton at Goodison Park in the next round who are not an opposition to take lightly, The Toffee’s have not lost to Chelsea in either of their matches this season and managed an impressive 6 goals against them and with the West London club only scoring 12 goals in the road in the league this season, the match is lined up to be one of the games of the quarter finals.
Next up is Arsenal, who have been a formidable force this season – Premier League title contenders and in the last 16 of the Champions League, but could this be their undoing in the FA Cup? The League will have to be their number one priority – The Gunners haven’t won the Premier League since the 2003-04 season. Arsenal will also have a much more hectic schedule then the rest of the top four with Leicester, Tottenham and Manchester City all out of the FA Cup. You also have to remember that Arsenal have to get a win against Hull at the KC Stadium, after being held to a goalless draw with The Tigers, before advancing to the next round. If they do progress they will face Watford at the Emirates. Hull are currently top of the Championship, so by no means will this be an easy game for Arsenal but will Hull be able to cope with the high demands of an FA Cup run as well as topping the second division?
The final of the ‘big three’ teams remaining is Manchester United. Van Gaal’s side have had a fairly easy route to the quarter finals of this year’s competition overcoming: Shrewsbury, Sheffield United and Derby. They are also already out of the Champions League, and with a top four spot looking less and less likely as time goes on, the FA Cup is their best chance of turning this disastrous season around. The Red Devils will face West Ham at Old Trafford where The Hammers have not won since May 2007, making United strong favorites for this clash but with an ever growing injury list and struggling in the Europa League it won’t be a walkover.
Crystal Palace have got to be regarded as the fourth favorite in the competition, they have been handed the easiest draw in the competition – Reading. Palace are sitting in a comfortable position in the league and not likely candidates for the drop so they have nothing to lose going into the FA Cup. The Eagles will travel to the Madjeski Stadium where Reading haven’t lost since December and with the Royals also having nothing left to play for in the League they can go all out in the competition. The Championship outfit beat Premier League side West Brom in the last round, proving that they can defeat a top tier side. They are also no stranger to a cup run, last year the Royals reached the semi-finals of the competition – losing to the eventual winners, Arsenal, who scored an extra time winner to send The Gunners to Wembley.
Featured Image – All Rights Reserved by Martin Samuels.