So Bradford City fans have finally got their wish and an FA Cup fixture free to air – just not on the BBC. BT said they would make the Bantams’ match available for everyone to watch online, even if they’re not subscribers.
Strangely, the tournament underdogs will actually be favourites for this match, after disposing of Sunderland and Chelsea in previous rounds. The League One side faces Reading from the Championship, low on form after not winning in three matches.
If Bradford win, it will be the first time they have made an FA Cup semi final in 104 years. A win for Reading would match their best ever performance in the Cup – they last made the semi finals in 1927.
If this match feels familiar, it’s because these two teams only met in the Premier League last Tuesday. Tim Sherwood earned his first win as Villa boss as his side beat their Midlands rivals 2-1.
West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster gave away a penalty in injury time, leaving Christian Benteke to score the winner from the spot. The Baggies keeper will have to rediscover his nerve if he’s called into action again on Saturday. At least he apologised on Twitter – although we doubt Peter Shilton would have gone for cutesy emoticons…
Sorry to let the lads and fans down tonight, I love you all😘😘
The FA Cup is still going according to the script – just. If Liverpool reach the final, it will be played on captain Steven Gerrard’s birthday, and will be his last game as a Red before he leaves for LA Galaxy.
Gerrard will have to let others deliver his lines this weekend though, as he is still recovering from a hamstring injury.
Blackburn have beaten both Stoke and Swansea on their way to the quarter finals, and seem to have a knack of winding up their opponents – in their last five FA Cup matches, five opposition players have been sent off.
United and Arsenal are the two most successful clubs in the history of the FA Cup with 11 titles apiece. But that proud pedigree has not quite been in evidence so far this season, with United stalling under Louis van Gaal and the Gunners still making a mess of crucial matches like the Champions League loss at home to Monaco.
Arsenal’s recent record at Old Trafford is grim too, having not beaten United at home in 10 games. Arsene Wenger’s side might be the reigning champions, but all those Cup memories, from Ryan Giggs’s shirtless celebration to Alan Sunderland’s 1979 Cup final winner, seem a long time ago.