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Sheffield United’s FA Cup Love Affair

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Ah, the FA Cup. The oldest football cup competition in the world which has seen some of the most surprising, shocking, and historic moments over the years. And Sheffield United have shone in that role of underdog throughout the last two decades, reaching the semi-final not once, not twice, but three times. The Blades may not have lifted the trophy in 99 years, but they are in the hat once more this season.

Despite being the Premier League’s basement team – already seven points adrift of safety – The Blades have found solace in the FA Cup. They thumped League Two Gillingham by four goals to nil in the third round of the competition. They have a difficult test in the fourth round having been drawn to face Brighton at Bramall Lane, but should they get through that test, who knows how far their adventure will take them. It may even go as far as these three endeavours.

Neil Warnock Leads The Blades to Two Domestic Cup Semifinals

The South Yorkshire outfit are still considered massive underdogs by prominent betting sites this term, but their odds are nowhere near as long as they were when Neil Warnock led the club to the FA Cup semi-final back in 2003. Under the stewardship of their maverick manager, the second-tier outfit headed to Old Trafford as underdogs against reigning Premier League holders Arsenal. But they had already knocked off another top-division side in the form of Yorkshire rivals Leeds United in the quarter-finals, and they aimed to do the same thing once more.

Once the big game got underway, the Blades were surprisingly the better side. They were all over the Gunners from start to finish but still fell behind in the 38th minute through Freddie Ljungberg. Then a miraculous save from David Seaman denied Paul Peschisolido of a deserved equaliser and the North London outfit were able to cling on and secure a razor-thin 1-0 victory.

Steel City Derby Doesn’t Come to Fruition, Another Semifinal Does

The second time Sheffield United made it to the FA Cup semifinal was in the 2013/14 season, under the guidance of Nigel Clough. The Blades, still in League One at that time, had knocked out Premier League outfits Aston Villa and Fulham in the third and fourth rounds, respectively, before edging past Nottingham Forest, in the fifth round.

They had the opportunity to face off against cross-city rivals Sheffield Wednesday in the quarter-finals however, the Owls were downed in a fourth-round replay by Charlton Athletic. The Blades duly dispatched them as well, setting up a spot in the quarterfinals against Hull City. There, the Sheffielders took an early lead through Ryan Flynn. The Tigers equalised shortly before halftime, but United took the lead barely a minute later through Stefan Scougall. The halftime celebrations, however, were as good as it would get, and the Humberside side rallied to secure a 5-3 victory.

Promotion and Yet Another Semifinal

Last term was one of the greatest in the history of Sheffield United. They managed to finish as runners-up to Burnley and secure promotion to the Premier League. They also reached yet another FA Cup semifinal, defeating Hollywood hopefuls Wrexham at Bramall Lane in the fourth round and then Tottenham Hotspur in the fifth.

Victory against Blackburn Rovers secured a spot in the semifinals however, there they came up against Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Manchester City, and the Blues duly ran out 3-0 victors. They then defeated Manchester United in the final, before winning the Premier League and defeating Inter Milan in Istanbul to secure the Champions League and an iconic treble in the process.

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