The oldest domestic cup competition in world football will soon enter the semi-final stage, bringing Arsenal their best chance of a trophy in almost a decade.
Both semi-finals will be held at Wembley Stadium as has now become tradition since the reopening of the home of English football in 2007.
The Gunners face current holders Wigan Athletic, who caused the shock of the tournament in the quarter-finals when they defeated Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad.
Premier League side Hull City take on third-tier opposition in Sheffield United, from League One. The draw means we could have a Cup final featuring two clubs from outside the top division, if Wigan and Sheffield United both progress.
On Tuesday, the FA released details on both fixtures, including information on how to watch the semi-final action:
|Fixture||Date||Time (GMT)||Time (ET)||Stream/TV|
|Wigan Athletic v Arsenal||Saturday, April 12||5 p.m.||12 p.m.||ITV / ITV HD / tvguide.co.uk (all U.K. only)|
|Hull City v Sheffield United||Sunday, April 13||4 p.m.||11 a.m.||BT Sport / BT Sport App (all U.K. only)|
Wigan Athletic v Arsenal
If it was not enough for Dave Whelan's Wigan to have their day in the sun and defeat Manchester City to win the FA Cup at the end of last season, they truly trumped their achievement with a shock victory against the Sky Blues in the quarter-finals.
Now a Championship team, it was wholly expected to see City progress at home against the current holders but lightning did indeed strike twice.
Manager Uwe Rosler dedicated the win at the Etihad to Ben Watson, the player who dramatically scored the winning goal in the cup final last season.
Watson is currently out of action with a broken leg.
Rosler said of Watson and his team's achievement:
I am very happy for my players, my staff and for Ben Watson. Ben was a big incentive today for us to really do well for him, but also first and foremost this is for our supporters.
Last season was an unbelievable achievement to win The FA Cup and put Wigan Athletic worldwide on the football map, but to follow that up this year by being in the Semi-Final is equally strong.
We never thought we could achieve that again but to be in the Semi-Finals, the players deserve all the credit. To have the chance to play against Arsenal at Wembley, of course we take that.
Chief Sports writer for The Mirror Oliver Holt also lavished praise upon Wigan via Twitter:
Very cool penalty from Gomez for Wigan's first. What a performance from Wigan. Determination to defend trophy a wonderful story— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) March 9, 2014
Arsene Wenger will see this as the ideal opportunity to witness his side finally land some silverware after perennial disappointments.
They are by far and away the best team left in the competition and are expected to win it.
If they fall at the final hurdle in the Premier League, a cup final appearance will be more than a consolation prize for the Gunners.
Hull City v Sheffield United
It only seems like five minutes ago that Sheffield United were a Premier League team. However, they have fallen with a bump in recent years, and Bramall Lane has not seen the best in England for an extended period of time.
This season the Blades are the FA Cup's dream team.
The magic of this competition has always been of how lower division sides can progress, and Nigel Clough's men have ridden the crest of a wave all the way to Wembley Stadium.
Clough's father, legendary Nottingham Forest manager Brian, famously never won the FA Cup amongst his list of honours. His son now has a great opportunity to add the trophy to the family's achievements.
Hull will feel confident of making the final after a comprehensive victory over Capital One Cup finalists Sunderland, winning 3-0.
Steve Bruce expressed his delight at progressing to the final-four, and his happiness for his club's supporters:
With just four teams left, and the very unpredictable nature of the FA Cup as a competition, this famous old trophy could be in the hands of any of the captains of the four teams remaining.
If the form book dictates, the silverware will be returning to north London with Arsenal for the first time in nine years.
Who will win the 2013-14 FA Cup?
But if magic and romance takes its lead then we could have a wonderful ending, as Wigan repeat their brilliance from 2012-13, or Hull or Sheffield United write their own chapters in English football history.