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Arsenal seek cup redemption

Published: Wednesday 9 March 2005, 13.15CET
FA Cup quarter-finals take centre stage as Arsenal FC and Manchester United FC look to atone for European exits.

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Published: Wednesday 9 March 2005, 13.15CET

Arsenal seek cup redemption

FA Cup quarter-finals take centre stage as Arsenal FC and Manchester United FC look to atone for European exits.
By Greg Duke

Arsenal FC and Manchester United FC both face difficult away matches in the FA Cup quarter-finals this weekend as they look to recover from respective UEFA Champions League exits at the hands of FC Bayern München and AC Milan.

Welcome break
In contrast, Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC both advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals but are out of the FA Cup, meaning a rare weekend off as there are no Premiership fixtures. Arsenal were the only side to go out this week despite winning, and Arsène Wenger can take some consolation from their battling 1-0 victory, having previously lost 3-1 in Munich.

Okocha injured
The Gunners travel to Bolton Wanderers FC without Wednesday's goalscorer Thierry Henry, as he needs up to three weeks to overcome a calf strain. Arsenal lost 1-0 at Bolton in the Premiership and a repeat result will leave last season's unbeaten champions facing the prospect of a trophyless campaign. Bolton have injury problems of their own, with captain Jay-Jay Okocha doubtful with a hamstring problem suffered in Monday's 1-0 victory at Manchester City FC.

Southampton revival
Saturday's other quarter-final takes United to Premiership strugglers Southampton FC. Despite still being in the relegation zone, manager Harry Redknapp has revived Southampton in recent weeks and they take on United on the back of a six-game unbeaten run.

United drought
Holders United have failed to score in three of their last four matches, including both legs against Milan. Sir Alex Ferguson blamed poor finishing for their midweek Champions League defeat by the Rossoneri and will be hoping Ruud van Nistelrooij rediscovers the scoring touch which has eluded the Dutchman since his return from a serious achilles injury.

Leicester hope
In Sunday's opening game, Blackburn Rovers FC entertain the only remaining non-Premiership team, Leicester City FC. Leicester reached this stage with a dramatic 2-1 success at Charlton Athletic FC and will be looking to claim a second successive Premiership scalp. Blackburn are attempting to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1960.

Newcastle bouyed
Newcastle United FC will no doubt be buoyed by Thursday's superb 3-1 UEFA Cup win at Olympiacos CFP in Greece as they host Tottenham Hotspur FC in the final tie. Tottenham's inconsistent season continued with a 1-0 loss at Southampton last weekend, leaving them ninth in the Premiership.

Last updated: 13/03/05 0.08CET

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