Dave Whelan dreaming of Wigan-Blackburn clash
MANCHESTER City will play either city rivals Manchester United or fellow Barclays Premier League giants Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals.
The draw, conducted at Wembley immediately after United’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Old Trafford yesterday, pitched the eventual winners of the replay against City.
Millwall and Blackburn also drew earlier in the day and will replay on Wednesday, with the winner to face Wigan.
The semi-finals will be played at the national stadium over the weekend of 13 and 14 April.
Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez was unwilling to look any further ahead than his side’s replay against United. “We have to think about the first game and, afterwards, think about City,” he said. “It will be tough, United are a great side.”
Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney gave United a 2-0 lead inside 11 minutes at Old Trafford, but second-half goals from Eden Hazard and Ramires earned Chelsea a replay.
City, in contrast, brushed off npower Championship side Barnsley 5-0 on Saturday with Carlos Tevez scoring a hat-trick.
Wigan produced arguably the performance of the weekend to beat Everton 3-0 on Saturday with goals from Maynor Figueroa, Callum McManaman and Jordi Gomez in less than four minutes in the first half.
Finally, Millwall and Blackburn played out a goalless draw at the Den yesterday with the hosts creating the better chances but failing to take any.
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan described a potential Wembley date with Blackburn as a “dream” – and revealed he may lead the team out himself.
As a player, Whelan played in the 1960 final for Rovers but saw his Wembley dream turn sour as a broken leg forced him off before half-time.
“The dream is there,” he said. “All Blackburn have got to do now is get through the replay. Roberto’s asked me to lead them out at Wembley and if we get Blackburn, I may just say yes.
“I feel I’ve got unfinished business at Wembley.”
The run to the last four contrasts with Wigan’s seemingly annual struggle for Premier League survival, which the pragmatic Whelan admits has to remain their priority.
“We have to stay in the top flight, that’s number one,” he said, “but the FA Cup is still a fantastic trophy and we’ve never been to a final. To win the cup and stay in the league, that’s the dream isn’t it?”
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Monday 20 May 2013
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