FA Cup preview: Everton, Manchester United meet in semifinal clash

When this tournament began, 736 clubs across England and Wales had the chance to lift the FA Cup.

Now, only four remain and they are at Wembley.

Everton and Manchester United will square off in one of the semifinals (Saturday, noon ET, FOX Sports 2) while Crystal Palace and Everton will meet in the other (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET, FOX Sports 2).

Let’s have a look at the matchups:

Everton vs. Manchester United

Team news: Everton are hard hit with injuries and suspensions at the moment, with Ramiro Funes Mori (suspension), Seamus Coleman (hamstring), Phil Jagielka (hamstring) and Gareth Barry (groin) likely out.

However, John Stones (stomach) should be available.

Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney could be back for a relatively healthy United side.

Chasing glory: It’s not a stretch to say that both managers are under pressure to produce some silverware. Winning this tournament would likely buy Roberto Martinez another season on Merseyside, and that result could help Louis van Gaal’s chances of sticking around next season as well.

Form guide: Getting thrashed 4-0 in a Merseyside Derby is hardly the way Martinez wanted to bring his side into the FA Cup semifinal, but that’s where Everton sit. Meanwhile, Manchester United is still hoping to find a spot in next year’s Champions League with a top-four finish.

Though winning this trophy would be nice, the league will be the focus for Van Gaal’s men.

They said it, part one:

“We’re all excited and we should be excited and looking forward to Wembley. The semi-final of the FA Cup is always a terrific footballing occasion. We are looking forward to the big football occasions in front of us and it’s a chance to achieve something special.” — Roberto Martinez

They said it, part two:

“It is not important for me, it is important for the club, for the players and for the team. I said I wanted a title and I am very happy but it is very important for the club.” — Louis Van Gaal

Crystal Palace vs. Watford

Team news: Both teams enter this match in good health and with a focus on winning this tournament. Palace will be a little less rested, as this will be its fourth match in 12 days.

Chasing glory: With Palace on 39 points, staying in the Premier League is not the concern it was a few weeks ago. Watford is in a similar spot, with 41 points and a 12th-place standing in the EPL table.

They said it, part one: “One of them could end up like I was as a player. As a manager you are never going to be the hero. The real hero is going to be the one who scores the winning goal or has a great game. That is who the fans remember. And I want it to be James McArthur or Yohan Cabaye or Wilfried Zaha or Yannick Bolasie. I want it to be one of my players. They have that opportunity and I really hope it comes to one of our players.” — Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew

They said it, part two: “This is the time to talk about Watford, the fans, how important it is for the club that everyone can see Watford play at Wembley. I want to enjoy this experience, the last part of the season, I have a lot of reasons to do that. It is not the time to talk about me. I am completely happy with the situation. Watford fans need to know that I am completely happy — I repeat, completely happy — in Watford. — Quique Sanchez Flores

About Randy Capps

South Carolina native, Fulham apologist, writer and sports fanatic.

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