With the FA Cup into the semifinals, at least one team will have the unexpected opportunity to play in a Wembley final, while the Gunners are hoping to not just buck bad form but also a dubious trophy drought.
Saturday features favorites Arsenal against Wigan, while a pair of surprises square off on Sunday in Hull City and Sheffield United.
This year’s road to Wembley has been a strange one fraught with strange results and major upsets, as just two of the four teams remaining reside in England’s top flight.
Wembley Stadium is ready, are you? Get prepared with ProSoccerTalk’s preview of this weekend’s FA Cup action.
Arsenal vs Wigan Athletic (Saturday, 12:07pm ET)
As the Gunners look to break their 8-year trophy void, they have just a Championship team in their way.
However, Wigan Athletic have already taken down three Premier League teams in Manchester City, Cardiff City, and Crystal Palace en route to the semis, and Arsenal appears to be just another giant in the way.
The Gunners could desperately use a positive result no matter who it is against, especially one that would send them one game away from a trophy. It’s been five matches since Arsenal has picked up a win, conceding 12 goals in the four since then.
In a battle to retain their Champions League status, any positive momentum thrown Arsenal’s way would be greatly appreciated, and could boost their morale with just one top-10 side (Newcastle) remaining on their end-of-season Premier League schedule.
Wigan, sitting in fifth position in the Championship, are on a bit of a form dip in the league. They ripped off eight straight wins across all competitions in February and March, but since then have just two wins in their last seven.
With just six league matches remaining and six points ahead of the cut line for the promotion playoff, the Latics don’t have too much to worry about in their league status, so all their focus will be on Arsenal.
Hull City vs Sheffield United (Sunday, 11:07am ET)
The first third-tier team to reach the semifinals since 2001, League One’s Sheffield United have the chance to become the first ever third-tear club in the finals of the FA Cup.
Having already toppled Premier League foes in Fulham and Aston Villa as well as Championship foes Nottingham Fores, they have a tough test in the defensively solid Hull City.
Hull manager Steve Bruce refused to look at the FA Cup sitting in the media room during his prematch press conference, and with the Tigers fully secure in their Premier League future, their full focus will be on Sunday’s semifinal.
Both teams are sure to have fantastic support, with Sheffield United having sold out their allotment within 24 hours of making them available. Hull City supporters are hoping to see their team reach the finals of this competition for the first time ever.
Hull City do have some problems up front, with strikers Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic up tied having both appeared for their previous clubs in the competition. That leaves Steve Bruce with just Sone Aluko, Matty Fryatt and Yannick Sagbo to choose from.