Arsenal have won the FA Cup on each of the last three occasions that Sheffield United have reached the competition’s semi-final stage. The statistic is purely by coincidence, but nevertheless the history that goes with it can give Arsenal a sense that their nine-year wait for a trophy is finally nearing an end.
The Gunners defeated Championship side Wigan Athletic, who won last year’s FA Cup, via a penalty shoot-out on Saturday to advance to this year’s final, where they will face either Sheffield United or Hull City.
Hull have never reached the final before while the Blades have played in the showpiece on six occasions, although not since 1936, when they were defeated by Arsenal 1-0.
That is not where the history ends in favouring Arsenal, with the north London side having won the FA Cup on each of the last three times Sheffield United have reached the semi-final stage – 1993, 1998 and 2003.
The League One side lost to neighbours Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at the old Wembley in the 1993 semi-final and 1-0 to Newcastle United at Old Trafford in the 1998 semis. In 2003, Sheffield United’s last appearance in the semi-finals, they came up against Arsenal at Old Trafford in a game that became famous for goalkeeper David Seaman’s wonder-save to stop Paul Peschisolido’s close-range header in a 1-0 win for the Gunners. Super Sunday! Liverpool and Manchester City meet at Anfield + Swansea City face Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium for ONLY 9. 99
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