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Whelan's Wigan to retain their FA Cup crown?

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By: Luc Bailey 11 Mar 2014 09:13:13

Whelan's Wigan to retain their FA Cup crown?

For the second season in a row, Wigan Athletic claimed victory over Manchester City in the FA cup. However, this time, the tie would be slightly trickier for the now Championship side to win. Away from home instead of a neutral ground the Latics would have to overcome an ambitious team who had recently won the League cup and had a potential quadruple in sight.

Wigan were once again labelled underdogs against the worlds richest club despite disposing of Premier League debutants Cardiff City in the previous round. This didn't phase the current cup holders though as goals from Jordi Gomez and James Perch were enough to push them on to the semi-finals in spite of a Samir Nasri strike for the home side.

Uwe Rosler's men now face a title challenging Arsenal side in search of their first silverware for nine years. Although raising a few eyebrows, these events haven't stopped the football world from believing the Gunners are favourites for the trophy. Almost as soon as Manuel Pellegrini's team were knockedout, out all fingers pointed towards the Emirates as the destination of this years winners. But is this a case of being too hasty?

The last time Arsenal were even in a final was back in 2011 when a defensive error between Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny gifted then Birmingham City forward Obafemi Martins the chance to seize an unexpected victory for the Brummies and left Arsene's Wengers side feeling crushed and humiliated. Wigan have also claimed a vital victory in the past at the Emirates during the 2011/2012 season in which they beat the Londoners 2-1 as well as keeping an on-fire Robin Van Persie quite, however Arsenal would get revenge by relegating the Latic's in the same fixture the next season.

Away from Wigan and Arsenal we have Top-Flight Hull City against League One's Sheffield United. Hull have had a standard first season back in the Premier League avoiding relegation although they have discovered a strike partnership between January signings Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long. The pair's understanding is bringing them goals and this will be vital in both retaining their Premier League status and possibly winning this year's FA Cup. Their opponents Sheffield United are the biggest underdogs of all the remaining teams but shouldn't be written off just yet. Although not pining for promotion this season, Nigel Clough has created a hard working side with plenty of back bone and with the clubs die-hard supporters they will be resilient enough to give Steve Bruce's men a scare on the day.

So only two of the four teams are in the Premier League, with Arsenal seen as the only "big club" left in the competition. Does this mean the others have any less chance of winning? Probably not, but if The Gunners are eliminated by Bayern Munich in the Champions League it could spur them on to winning the FA Cup just the they can put something in their trophy cabinet after an almost decade-long wait.

One thing is for certain though, the country's most decorated domestic cup is the breeding ground for giant-killings and Wigan are definitely no strangers to that title.

 


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