The magic of the FA Cup seemed to return last weekend with Wigan vanquishing Manchester City and Sheffield United and Hull City setting up an all-Yorkshire semi-final with wins against Charlton and Sunderland.
Arsenal are still left in the tournament after their4-1 defeat of Everton, but in Uwe Rosler’s Wigan they face a tricky opponent in the other Wembley semi-final.
Personally I would love to see a Sheffield United-Wigan final, and although many will say Hull City v Arsenal is the more likely scenario, who can possibly predict the outcomes after Manchester City’s shock 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Wigan on Sunday?
Earlier this season many fans looked to be deserting the FA Cup, with half-empty stadiums commonplace in many matches.
Also some managers seemed to treat the competition with contempt, I can recall a ridiculous team sent out by Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino for the fifth-round clash against Sunderland.
Having watched the Saints a few times this season I was looking forward to seeing them turn on the style against the Black Cats when I sat down to watch the game on television.
I was stunned when the team news came through, the St Mary’s club having made six changes to their side from the previous league game’s line-up.
While Sunderland’s side included many changes, you could understand why Gus Poyet did so, as they had a Carling Cup final and a relagtion battle to focus on.
Southampton, in contrast, had no midweek game, were in no danger of relegation and were not in the mix for European qualification so why did the Argentine boss opt to leave out some of his most influential players rather than go all-out for cup glory?
I would imagine the travelling fans were not too impressed, having made the trek from the South coast up to Wearside, only to settle into their seat and find their more influential players such as Jay Rodrigues, Morgan Schneiderlin and Jose Fonte were also sat on their backsides rather than lining up on the pitch.
I don’t think saying he is a foreign manager so doesn’t understand the FA Cup holds much water as I have seen several British managers do the same in the cup.
It seemed a lot of the Sunderland fans had sensed the kind of players which would be on show, as an attendance of 16, 777 illustrates.
Thankfully the weekend’s events seemed to have breathed new life into the Cup, with the old City favourite Rosler returning to dump the Premier League giants out of the cup on their own patch, and Nigel Clough taking his League One side to Wembley as he tries to win the one trophy that his father failed to collect.
Hull City should not be forgotten either, as they are the only one of the quartet who have never featured in an FA Cup final.
Steve Bruce has done a great job with City in their first season back in the top flight, so a final win would also be great for the Tigers.