Good evening, sports fans! It’s the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, and it’s Manchester United against Arsenal. The previous three games in this round of the competition have yielded just two goals, so there isn’t an awful amount to have to live up – or down – to for this evening’s teams. Historically, this is a match full of needle, going back to the second half of the 1990s. It may have dissipated a little in recent times, but this is both Manchester United and Arsenal’s last truly realistic chance of winning a trophy this season. On top of this, the trophy means something to both clubs this season. Manchester United haven’t won it a decade, whilst Arsenal are its current holders. It may not be at the ultimate top of their ambitions, but it means something and that might just be enough to light a spark tonight.
To warm you up, here’s a couple of FA Cup meetings from the past. First up is the 1979 FA Cup final at Wembley. Arsenal hadn’t won a domestic cup since this one, eight years earlier, whilst Manchester United finally had some swagger back after having finally shaken off the hangover from the middle of that decade. Second up is an FA Cup semi-final from four years later. While the two relative underdogs – Sheffield Wednesday at Brighton – played out their semi-final at Highbury, these two met at Villa Park. We’ll be back about ten minutes before kick-off for all the fun and frolics.
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