Manchester City completed a perfect weekend for the away teams in the English FA Cup as they shelved Newcastle United’s silverware plans for yet another season with a comprehensive 2-0 win at St James Park.
The departing Premier League champions succumbed to Liverpool in the EPL title race but they are clearly not giving up their FA Cup trophy status as holders as easily.
The Magpies were totally out of their depth from the start against a team hurting at having relinquished their Premier League champions status in midweek with a loss to Chelsea.
The reigning FA Cup holders were not going to give up the oldest trophy in football history as easily and had Newcastle against the ropes for the majority of the match.
Kevin de Bruyne put them in the driver’s seat just before the break from the penalty spot, and Raheem Sterling doubled the advantage with 20 minutes to go. From that moment on, the result was never in doubt.
Earlier, Chelsea secured their place in the semi-finals as Ross Barkley sealed a 1-0 win at Leicester, while Arsenal joined their London rivals in the last four after a dramatic 2-1 victory against Sheffield United on Sunday.
Looking to win the first trophy of Frank Lampard’s reign, Chelsea recovered from a woeful start at the King Power Stadium.
The Blues could easily have been behind before the break, but Lampard rang the changes at half-time and Barkley — one of the players introduced — grabbed the winner with a cool finish.
Chelsea’s quarter-final success could be a good omen for the Blues, who beat Leicester at the same stage en route to winning the competition for the eighth and most recent time in 2018.
Lampard made six changes to the team that handed the Premier League title to Liverpool with a victory over Manchester City on Thursday.
Chelsea were initially out of sorts as a result and Leicester’s Harvey Barnes had a sight of goal inside 30 seconds, the Winger’s heavy touch letting the ball squirt away as he prepared to shoot.
It was a sluggish start from Chelsea and Blues defender Antonio Rudiger angrily admonished his teammates after snuffing out a Youri Tielemans raid.
When Wilfred Ndidi was given acres of space to head straight at Willy Caballero, Lampard could be heard bellowing “liven up” at his sloppy stars.
There was no immediate improvement from Chelsea and Billy Gilmour gifted possession to Tielemans, who forced Caballero to turn his drive away for a corner.
Christian Pulisic had scored in each of Chelsea’s first two games since the restart and the United States winger led their response with a fierce strike that Kasper Schmeichel tipped over.
Lampard still wasn’t satisfied and sent on Barkley, Mateo Kovacic and Cesar Azpilicueta at half-time.
Chelsea looked more vibrant after the changes, with Kovacic dominating in midfield. Pressing harder and breaking with purpose, Chelsea took the lead in the 63rd minute. Willian swung in a teasing cross from the right and Barkley got in front of Evans to guide a clinical finish past Schmeichel.
At Bramall Lane, Dani Ceballos fired Arsenal into last four alongside Chelsea, United and City.
Mikel Arteta’s side rode their luck after surviving a second-half barrage from the Blades.
Nicolas Pepe put Arsenal ahead with a first-half penalty after Chris Basham fouled Alexandre Lacazette.
David McGoldrick equalised with three minutes left, but on-loan Real Madrid midfielder Ceballos settled it in the final moments.
“This is a difficult place to get a win. We are back at Wembley. I am really happy with the attitude and performance of the players,” Arteta said.
“It is a great opportunity to try and win a title and play in Europe.”
Norwich 1 Manchester United 2
Sheffield 1 Arsenal 2
Leicester 0 Chelsea 1
Newcastle 0 Manchester City 2
Manchester United v Chelsea
Manchester City v Arsenal