Some people say that the magic of the cup is long gone, but for most fans of English football, the FA Cup still has serious appeal. The weekend saw the quarter-finals of the competition take place, with a trip to Wembley up for grabs for those making it to the semis, and with some tasty ties on the agenda, it was a sure-fire way to see the magic of the cup come alive once more.
When you check the fixture list and see Boro are taking on Chelsea, even though the Championship outfit had home advantage in their favour, you naturally thought that it would be a routine job for the current European and World Club champions. However, Boro manager Chris Wilder went into the tie having steered his second-tier outfit past both Manchester United and Spurs. And then you have all the drama going off at Chelsea to consider too.
However, it was one step too far for Boro, whose pressing style of play didn’t work as effectively against Thomas Tuchel’s side as it had against previous opposition. As a result, Chelsea ran out 2-0 winners, with goals from Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech sealing a place in the semis for the visitors.
Everton, battling relegation in England's top flight, travelled to Selhurst Park to take on Patrick Vieira’s resurgent Eagles in the first of two all Premier League clashes. It was to be the battle of the former midfielders, with Vieira and Everton manager Frank Lampard having battled it out on the pitch many times over the years.
As you will expect, both sides named strong lineups, but you wouldn’t have guessed that without checking when you see the result was 4-0 to Crystal Palace. A goal from skipper Marc Guehi got the ball rolling before Jean-Philippe Mateta added another before the break. Wilfried Zaha and Will Hughes were the other two to get on the scoresheet, piling further pressure and misery on Lampard and co.
The second all Premier League game saw Southampton host Manchester City at St Mary's. It was always going to be an exciting tie, as the Saints have performed better than most against Pep Guardiola's men this season, taking points off them on both occasions. And again, as you will expect, this is a tie that called for strong lineups.
Ralph Hasenhuttl probably feared the worst when he saw his side go a goal behind after a Raheem Sterling goal on twelve minutes, but heading into the break, the teams were level following an Aymeric Laporte own goal. However, City came to life in the second half, with Kevin De Bruyne restoring his side’s advantage, before a quickfire double from Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez ensured victory.
The final tie of the weekend saw Liverpool travel to the City Ground to battle it out against a rejuvenated Nottingham Forest. Steve Cooper, the Forest manager, went with a solid lineup to welcome their Premier League opposition. As you will expect, Jurgen Klopp made several changes, with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Harvey Elliott coming into the starting XI.
The City Ground was well and truly rocking, and even though Liverpool dominated the ball and the chances, there was always a feeling that Forest weren’t going to roll over and exit the tournament. They made it late into the game, but Diogo Jota converted from close range on seventy-eight minutes after a great work by Konstantinos Tsimakas down the left flank.
Manchester City vs Liverpool
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea
Visit PartySport's football betting page.