FA Cup Rewind: Wigan Plays Spoiler To Man City Again, Arsenal Bury Everton, More

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By MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

It couldn’t possibly happen again, could it?

For the second consecutive year, Wigan has defeated heavily-favored Manchester City — this time at the Etihad. Last year it was to win the final. While a shock result, it was a meeting between two Premier League clubs. This year, it was a Championship Wigan that books a semi-final trip to Wembley where they will face FA Cup favorite, Arsenal.

Having the experience of getting an unexpected result last season, Wigan played without fear against City. Manager Uwe Rosler got his tactics spot on as the Lactics attacked City right from the outset.

Martin Demichelis continues to start matches for City and continues to be involved in some of the club’s worst moments this season. After getting beaten by Marc-Antoine Fortune, the City defender made an ill-advised tackle in the box that was called for a penalty. Although it wasn’t a huge amount of contact, an experienced defender such as Demichelis should know better. Jordi Gomez stepped up to take the ensuing penalty kick and made no mistake as City keeper Costel Pantilimon went the wrong way.

After the half, Wigan again came out on the offensive and doubled their lead two minutes after the halftime interval. James McArthur played a low cross and Gael Clichy was beaten at the back post by James Perch, who directed the ball in on net.

From then on, City found their urgency and attacked Wigan at full force. Samir Nasri pulled one back in the 68th minute with a low shot from distance, beating Scott Carson. After the goal by City, it appeared they would be able to find another with pressure continually mounting on the Latics’ back line.

However, Wigan was able to remain resolute and booked their place into the semifinal at Wembley. A big reason for that was the oldest man on the pitch, Emmerson Boyce. His performance in the heart of the Wigan defense was tremendous, highlighted by a crucial tackle on an Edin Dzeko effort from close-range to send the ball over the bar.

Wigan will look to overcome another Premier League club en route to defending their FA Cup title. Up next? Arsenal.

Other Results From The FA Cup

1. Gunners Fire Way Past Everton– It’s been said before and will be heard the rest of the season; Arsenal’s best chance at ending their trophy drought is via the FA Cup. The Gunners dispatched Everton taking one step closer to lifting a trophy.

Everton played well for three-quarters of the match, but saw the wheels fall off after going behind a second time in the 4-1 loss.

Arsenal grabbed the lead early on with a Mesut Ozil goal in the 7th minute. The Toffees leveled the match through Romelu Lukaku in the 32nd minute.

After the half, Everton continued to pressure the Gunners, just as they did when the teams met in a 1-1 draw earlier in the Premier League season. Ross Barkley had a golden chance to give Everton the lead after Lukaku centered the ball following an error by oft-unused Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen. Barkley flashed his shot over the bar.

The crucial moment came in the match when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was taken down in the Everton box, setting the table for a Mikel Arteta spot kick. After scoring the first, it was called off due to encroachment by Olivier Giroud. However, Arteta’s confidence didn’t waver and his second attempt was better than the first, giving Arsenal the lead over his former club in the 68th minute.

From then on, Arsenal put Everton to the sword. Bacary Sagna’s low cross found Giroud, who directed his shot into the back of the net at the near post at the 83rd minute. Two minutes later, Arsenal scored again after some lovely soccer. Santi Cazorla picked out Tomas Rosicky on the right wing, whose first touch picked out Ozil. With his first touch, the German midfielder rolled the ball to Giroud, who finished the move with a one-time finish.

Arsenal now face Wigan in the FA Cup semifinal.

On a side note, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Barkely both had outstanding games. Both were willing runners, drove at defenders and worked doubly hard to recover from mistakes. Although the England National Team has some woes, it has two gems coming of age for the future. Both will be exciting players for club and country for some time.

2. Blades Of Glory?– Sheffield United move on to the semifinal round. The League One side is the first club since Wycombe in 2001 from the third tier of English soccer to make it into the last four of the competition.

Second half goals from Ryan Flynn and John Brayford lifted the Blades to the next round on their improbable cup run. So far in the competition, Sheffield United has beaten Premier League sides Fulham and Aston Villa as well as Championship side Nottingham Forest.

The Blades will hope to cut down Hull City in the next round.

3. Tigers Roar Past Black Cats– Hull City was too strong for Sunderland, advancing to Wembley and a semifinal date with Sheffield United with a 3-0 victory.

Jozy Altidore missed the match for the Black Cats through injury. Even if he did play, opportunities at goal would have still been low. Sunderland struggled to create anything on the attacking end with two shots on goal and only five throughout the 90 minutes.

Hull looked the most likely to score and almost did in the 35th minute, but Sone Aluko’s tame penalty kick was easily saved.

However, in the second half Hull found their goals, with three coming in less than 10 minutes. Curtis Davies headed home a corner in the 68th minute. David Meyler added the second goal of the match in the 72nd minute and laughed of last weekend’s incident with Alan Pardew as he head-butted the corner flag for his celebration. Matty Fryatt added the third in the 77th minute to seal the Tigers place in the semifinal.