FA Cup semi-finals; Here is how it works

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The FA Cup semi-finals are held to ascertain who will compete in the FA Cup Final. They are the penultimate round of the FA Cup, the world’s oldest football competition.

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The target for teams that make it into FA Cup Semi-Finals is to qualify for the final and subsequently win the title.

What is the venue of the FA Cup semi-finals?

Semi-finals have always been held in a neutral venue. All semi-finals have been hosted at the new Wembley Stadium since 2008.

Previously, any suitable major ground that was not the home ground of one of the teams in the semi-final was used.

Birmingham’s Villa Park, Manchester’s Old Trafford, and Sheffield’s Hillsborough used to be frequent hosts.

Between 1871 and 1881, Kennington Oval hosted all semi-finals. In 1882, Huddersfield hosted the first neutral semi-final match outside of London.

Due to overcrowding, the 1989 semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough, Sheffield, turned tragic. 96 fans were killed in the stands.

The Hillsborough disaster had far-reaching implications for stadium design in the future. On the 23rd anniversary of the catastrophe, Liverpool was granted a special dispensation to postpone playing their 2012 semi-final match against Everton.

The North London derby semi-final between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in 1991 was the first to be held at Wembley Stadium, which is also home to the FA Cup Final.

After fans of both Sheffield clubs complained, the first FA Cup Steel City derby–between Sheffield rivals Wednesday and United–was moved from its original venue of Elland Road, Leeds, to Wembley two years later.

This happened again in 1994, except this time a replay was staged at Maine Road in Manchester between Manchester United and Oldham Athletic.

Other neutral stadiums were used from 1995 to 1999 and 2001 to 2004, while both matches in 2000 were played at the old Wembley Stadium, which was in its final year of existence.

Both semi-finals were held in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in 2005. The FA chose to go back to a neutral ground format in 2006, with games held at Villa Park and Old Trafford.

Afterward, all future semi-finals were played in the new Wembley Stadium as it was announced in 2003 and took effect in 2008.

The decision was made mostly for financial reasons, allowing the FA to recoup part of the costs associated with the stadium’s reconstruction.

Traditionalists, on the other hand, opposed the decision, as were other supporters’ groups. Aston Villa, among others, has urged for the semi-finals to be regionalized again, more than a decade after the shift.

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Tottenham Hotspur’s semi-final encounter in 2018 was in some ways a home match for them, given they played their home games at Wembley that season while their new stadium was being built. It was, nevertheless, treated as a neutral venue for the FA Cup semi-finals of that year.

How does the FA Cup Semi-Finals work?

If a semi-final match was drawn in the past, there would be a replay. There would be a second replay if the replay was also drawn. To find a winner, an infinite number of games might theoretically be played. In 1980, for example, the tie between Arsenal and Liverpool was decided after four games. This was the most games needed to decide an FA Cup semi-final, while three games were played on other occasions.

Prior to the 1992 semi-finals, the only semi-final played under different rules was the rearranged 1989 semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, for which it had been declared in advance that due to the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, the game would be decided by extra time and penalties if necessary.

The 1871–72 repeat match between Queen’s Park and Wanderers was canceled.

In the 1872–73 season, no semi-finals were held. Holder Wanderers won a bye to the final per the rules at the time. As a result of Queen’s Park’s decision not to compete in a semi-final, Oxford University advanced to the final.

Due to the nature of the competition, only one semi-final was contested between 1877 and 1881, leaving three teams.

The FA determined in 1991 that only one replay would be performed (beginning with the 1991–92 season). If the game finished in a tie, extra time would be played, followed by penalty kicks if the score remained the same.

The semi-finals were agreed in 1999 to be played in one game, with extra time and penalties if the score was tied after 90 minutes.

However, replays are still used in previous stages, despite being phased out in the quarter-finals in 2016. In the previous FA Cup semi-final replay, Manchester United faced Arsenal at Villa Park in 1999.

With Peter Schmeichel saving a last-minute penalty from Dennis Bergkamp and a Ryan Giggs extra-time goal determining the match in Manchester United’s favor, this became one of the most memorable semi-finals of all time. This goal was rated the best in FA Cup history in 2003.

If the game proceeded into extra time, a fourth substitute was allowed in semi-final matchups from 2016 to 2017.

Records

Villa Park has hosted 55 FA Cup semi–finals, making it the most used stadium in the competition’s history.

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Villa Park – FA Cup Semi-Final

Everton’s penalty triumph over Manchester United on April 19, 2009, had the biggest attendance for an FA Cup semi-final. The semi-final was the fourth to be held at the new Wembley Stadium.

Newcastle United’s 6–0 win over Fulham in the Anfield semi-final in 1908 holds the record for the largest margin of victory. Stoke City’s 5–0 triumph over Bolton Wanderers in the second 2011 semi-final on April 17 was the largest post-war winning margin. Hull City’s 5–3 win over Sheffield United in the second 2014 semi-final was the highest-scoring match.

FA Cup Semi-Finals 2019

The 138th edition of the world’s oldest football tournament (also known as the Football Association Challenge Cup) took place in 2018–19. Emirates sponsored the tournament, which was dubbed The Emirates FA Cup for sponsorship purposes. It began with the Extra Preliminary Round on August 11, 2018, and ended with the final on May 18, 2019.

Chelsea were the defending champions, however, they were knocked out in the fifth round by Manchester United on February 18, 2019, in a rematch of the previous year’s final.

Manchester City won their sixth FA Cup triumph and first since 2011, becoming the first English team to win a domestic trifecta after also winning the EFL Cup and Premier League.

Top Scorers in 2019

PlayerClubGoal
Padraig AmondNewport County5
Gabriel JesusManchester City5
Matt DohertyWolverhampton Wanderers4
Connor JenningsTranmere Rovers4
Raúl JiménezWolverhampton Wanderers4
Paddy MaddenFleetwood Town4
Alfie MayDoncaster Rovers4
Ivan ToneyPeterborough United4

FA Cup Semi-Finals 2021

The Football Association Challenge Cup, the world’s oldest football event, celebrated its 140th season in 2020–21. Emirates sponsored the tournament, which was dubbed the Emirates FA Cup for sponsorship purposes. The winners advanced to the UEFA Europa League group stage in 2021–22.

Arsenal, the reigning Premier League champions, were knocked out in the fourth round by Southampton.

Leicester City won their first FA Cup after defeating defending runners-up Chelsea 1–0 in the final. They had previously finished second four times.

Top Scorers in 2021

PlayerClubGoal
Tammy AbrahamChelsea4
Kelechi IheanachoLeicester City4
Gary MadineBlackpool4
Alfie MayCheltenham Town4
Tom NicholsCrawley Town4
Connor HallChorley3
Joshua KingBournemouth3
Jon MellishCarlisle United3
Ashley NadesanCrawley Town3
RicharlisonEverton3
Mohamed SalahLiverpool3
Dominic SamuelGillingham3
Youri TielemansLeicester City3
Carlos ViníciusTottenham Hotspur3
Benjamin WhitemanDoncaster Rovers3

FA Cup Semi-Finals 2022

The 141st season of the FA Cup took place in 2021–22, marking the 150th anniversary of the first Football Association Challenge Cup, the world’s oldest football tournament, which began in the 1871–72 season. The Emirates FA Cup was the name given to it since it was sponsored by Emirates. The winners advanced to the UEFA Europa League group stage in 2022–23.

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Former England international Robbie Fowler made the semi-final draw on March 20, 2022.

Chelsea qualified for the FA Cup Final with a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace, with two goals from Mason Mount and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, while Liverpool and Manchester City faced off in a thrilling five-goal thriller, which Liverpool won 3-2.

Leicester City were the holders after defeating Chelsea in the 2021 FA Cup Final. Nottingham Forest knocked them out in the fourth round.

Liverpool won the FA Cup for the first time since 2006, defeating defending runners-up Chelsea on penalties in the final. Chelsea became the first team to lose three straight FA Cup finals, when the fifth FA Cup final went to extra time.

Top Scorers in 2022

PlayerClubGoals
Riyad MahrezManchester City4
Jayden StockleyCharlton Athletic4
Ryan BowmanShrewsbury Town3
Jordon GarrickPlymouth Argyle3
Harry KaneTottenham Hotspur3
Callum LangWigan Athletic3
Romelu LukakuChelsea3
Emiliano MarcondesBournemouth3
Bryan MbeumoBrentford3
Takumi MinaminoLiverpool3
Ollie PalmerAFC Wimbledon3
Scott QuigleyStockport County3
James WilsonPort Vale3

FA Cup semi-finals Draw

The date for the FA Cup semifinal draws will be announced when it is appropriate. The meeting where it will be decided which squad will compete and secure a spot in the final is anticipated to take place during the second and third week of May 2023.

FA Cup semi-finals; All you need to know about this stage of the competition and how it determines the final

In April 2023, both semifinal games will be held at Wembley Stadium in London. Again, this will cause scheduling conflicts because games are scheduled for that time in the Premier League and Championship.

Where to watch the FA Cup on TV

  • UK: ITV, BBC One, BBC Red Button, and BBC iPlayer
  • U.S.: ESPN+

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