Vincent Ralph looks at tomorrow's FA Cup replay at Stamford Bridge, and asks which club is more desperate for cup success this season.
Having been 2-0 up and cruising at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson will wonder how this FA Cup quarter-final replay is even taking place.
But after an outstanding second half performance from Chelsea, Rafael Benitez will be cursing the outstretched leg of David De Gea that somehow prevented what would have been a dramatic but thoroughly expected denouement.
Tomorrow’s FA Cup tie is a match neither manager wants but both are desperate to win. For Ferguson, the trophy that was once his saving grace hasn’t been held aloft by a United captain since 2004; while Benitez will see success as a bitter-sweet leaving present for his detractors.
So who needs it more?
Will the Premier League title be enough for United when talk – however premature – was once of the treble? And will Chelsea pursue a Champions League place and possible Europa League success over another trip to Wembley?
Regardless of what the losing manager says tomorrow afternoon, both clubs want this desperately.
United will bemoan their European exit for some time to come. But a domestic double would soften the blow.
While FA Cup success has become something of a habit for the Blues in recent times, and a fifth triumph in seven years would be a fine end to a problematic season.
Both clubs will look at the other semi-final, between Millwall and Wigan, and fancy their chances in the final. Although the small matter of Manchester City needs to be navigated before that.
Ferguson will be desperate to prevent City from achieving any success this season. Beating them to the Premier League will be the leveller, but ending their run in the FA Cup would be the knock-out blow…at least for now.
But at Stamford Bridge, in a match Chelsea earned through a second half display of sheer dominance, it will take one almighty showing from United to earn their place at Wembley.
So who needs FA Cup success the most this season - Chelsea or United?
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