With 227 Quarter Final appearances between them, this season’s octet of FA Cup Quarter Finalists is the second most experienced at this stage of the competition in its history. And it includes two clubs who jointly hold the record for most FA Cup Quarter Final appearances.
Everton and Manchester United have both reached the last eight of the competition for the 46th time each, a staggering third of all the FA Cup campaigns there have ever been. Additionally, more than half of all the 140 FA Cup campaigns since 1872 have witnessed at least one of Everton or Manchester United in the Quarter Finals.
Manchester United are also appearing in their seventh consecutive FA Cup Quarter Final, the third highest such consecutive run in the competition’s history. Along with Chelsea this will be the Red Devils’ 14th Quarter Final appearance of the 21st Century. Only 2001 and 2014 have witnessed FA Cup competitions this century where neither Chelsea nor Manchester United were in the last eight.
At the other end of the spectrum is AFC Bournemouth, the only non-Premier League side left in the competition, who are equalling the club’s best ever FA Cup run by reaching the Quarter Finals for only the second time in their history, a whole 64 years since last doing so. It’s the longest gap between first and second appearances in the last eight in FA Cup history.
AFC Bournemouth are one of only two clubs in this season’s FA Cup yet to have their name etched on the famous trophy’s plinth. The other is Leicester City, who famously have appeared in the most Finals without ever lifting the Trophy, and are the only club to be crowned English League Champions never to have won the FA Cup. Will either of the Cherries or the Foxes become the 44th different FA Cup winning club this season?
All four Quarter Final ties involve clubs who’ve met in the FA Cup before. AFC Bournemouth and Southampton have been drawn together on just one previous occasion, 67 years ago, a 1st Round tie won 3-1 by the Cherries in a replay. All the other three ties pit clubs together who’ve met in FA Cup Finals in the past.
Manchester United have won both their previous encounters against Leicester City, last doing so in the 1975/76 season on their way to Wembley, but first defeating the Foxes 3-1 in the 1963 FA Cup Final. Quirkily, that was the last Cup Final involving the tradition of playing the National Anthem after the game as well as ahead of it.
Sheffield United and Chelsea are drawn to face each other for the sixth time in the FA Cup. Chelsea have won four of the previous five encounters, most recently in 1991/92 season, but the Blades won the one that counted, 3-0 in the Khaki Cup Final of 1915 played at Old Trafford.
The most common tie of the Quarter Finals is Everton versus Manchester City, facing each other for the eighth time in the competition, but for the first time since another Quarter Final 40 years ago won 2-1 by Manchester City.
However, the Toffees have a four-to-three head-to-head advantage over their opponents in past FA Cup meetings, including a 3-0 win in the 1933 FA Cup Final, the first Final to involve players wearing numbers on the backs of their shirts … but with a twist. Everton players wore numbers one to eleven, whilst Manchester City wore twelve to twenty-two.
It would be sixty years before we saw the Number 22 appear on a shirt in a Cup Final again.