Manchester United became the first club to confirm their place in this term’s Emirates FA Cup Final, following Saturday’s 2-1 semi-final success against Tottenham Hotspur. Jose Mourinho’s men are back in the showpiece event for the 20th time, following on from 2016 when they won the Cup for a 13th time with a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace. Prior to that, they featured in the first Cup Final at the new Wembley in 2007 when Mourinho was in charge of Chelsea and led them to a 1-0 win.
Both sets of fans at Wembley were treated to an excellent opening 45 minutes, with the teams going toe-to-toe in an enthralling contest. Despite the warm and humid conditions, there was no let-up in the pace of the game from either side. Spurs started the brighter and took a deserved early lead when Christian Eriksen’s cross from the right was met by Dele Alli from close range. But United came back, and when Paul Pogba picked Mousa Dembele’s pocket on the left, his point-perfect centre was guided gloriously home by Alexis Sanchez.
Ander Herrera’s winning goal was struck as sweetly as you’d like, but it’s certainly worth crediting Jesse Lingard for his role in the goal. He might not pick up the ‘assist’ which Sanchez will claim for his pass across the box, but he sensibly and selflessly chose to let the ball roll across him and into the path of the onrushing Herrera, who duly sent the Reds into the Final.
The following day, Olivier Giroud punished Southampton for the second weekend in a row as his fine finish helped Chelsea book their place in next month’s Emirates FA Cup Final.
The 31-year-old hit a brace as the Blues came from 2-0 down to win at St. Mary’s last Saturday.And he was one of the main protagonists at Wembley, spearheading another Chelsea victory over the Saints – and took his 46th-minute opener superbly.
Alvaro Morata came off the bench to seal the win by nodding home Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross with just eight minutes remaining.
Now, the seven-time Cup winners will face United in the Final on Saturday 19 May in what will be a repeat of the 2007 showpiece.