Another season, another FA Cup semi-final weekend for us all to enjoy – except this one is a little bit different.
Both ties will be played inside an eerily quiet Wembley Stadium, with supporters still barred from attendance due to COVID-19. Despite this upheaval, some things have remained the same.
Once again, the semi-finalists are comprised of Premier League big boys – with Chelsea taking on Manchester United and Arsenal facing Manchester City.
We could be in for a pair on enthralling games with many top class players to enjoy. If push came to shove though, who would make the cut in a combined XI of all four sides. Taking into account current form and making sure to select players in their actual positions, here’s what 90min came up with.
Just as confident with his feet than he is with his hands, Ederson has a career as a lower-league goalscorer waiting for him whenever he gets bored of playing in goal.
The Brazilian may have made three errors leading to goals this season but he has registered a 71.6% save percentage and is a better distributor of the ball than any other goalkeeper in the world.
Although the defensive aspects of his game have never been questioned, Aaron Wan-Bissaka has sometimes struggled to make an impact going forward.
Recently he has made amends for this, contributing far more fluidly to the Manchester United attack. He remains some way off Trent Alexander-Arnold in the battle for England’s right-back slot, but carry on his fine form and the former Crystal Palace man will give Gareth Southgate something to think about next summer.
Composed on the ball, dominant in the air and strong in the tackle, United captain Harry Maguire has not seemed fazed by being the most expensive defender of all time.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need him to be at his very best when they take on Chelsea as well, as the Blues boast a host of intimidating attacking options.
It would be an oversimplification to say that Aymeric Laporte’s injury cost Manchester City the Premier League, but the Cityzens desperately missed the Spaniard nonetheless.
The centre-back brings a tranquility to Pep Guardiola’s backline that has been absent for much of the season. Now he’s back firing on all cylinders, don’t be surprised if City secure a treble.
After injuries hampered the start of his Arsenal career, Kieran Tierney’s tenacity and determination has swiftly endeared him to the Gunners’ faithful.
The Scotsman is a fantastic crosser and is also incredibly versatile. This season alone he has been deployed as a left-back, centre-back, left winger and in midfield.
A few months ago Nemanja Matic’s Manchester United career seemed to be over. He looked sluggish and his uninspired passing attracted the ire of many of the club’s supporters.
However, since lockdown he has looked a man transformed and even earned a new contract recently. Doing the dirty work at the base of United’s trio, his bread and butter midfield play allows his more creative teammates to express themselves.
Kevin de Bruyne has been on top of his game this season and is arguably the best midfielder in the world.
The Belgian pass master combines freakish athleticism, intelligence and technique to create an irresistible midfield package. If he’s on form against Arsenal, the Gunners will struggle to stop Manchester City.
Quite frankly, the transformative power of Bruno Fernandes’ arrival at Manchester United has been astounding.
Ever since they signed the Portuguese playmaker, the Red Devils have looked a far more organised and fluid outfit. It makes you wonder where United would be as a club if their new talisman had arrived at the beginning of the season.
When’s he’s not reversing government policies on free school meals, Marcus Rashford plays a bit of football to unwind.
The hometown hero has continued to develop this season, bouncing back from a string of nasty injuries to help propel Manchester United back into contention for Champions League qualification.
Raised in the shadow of the Hershey chocolate factory in Pennsylvania, Christian Pulisic performances on the pitch have often been as magical as the story of Willy Wonka.
Both footed and possessing an infectious enthusiasm on the pitch, the American has emerged as the crown jewel of Chelsea’s extensive attacking options this season.
Anthony Martial’s credentials as a number nine have been doubted in the past but he has gone a long way to silence his critics this season.
No Premier League player has outperformed their xG more dramatically than the Frenchman this season, proving that he has the ruthless finishing ability required to be a top level striker.