WIGAN ATHLETIC produced the shock of the FA Cup quarter-finals as they knocked Manchester City out to line up a Wembley meeting with Arsenal.
Wigan, who shocked City in last year’s final when Ben Watson’s stoppage-time goal saw them claim a 1-0 win to lift the trophy, remained on course to defend their crown thanks to their 2-1 win at the Etihad on Sunday.
The Sky Bet Championship side will face a Gunners side bidding to end a nine-year wait for silverware while
Arsenal’s most recent trophy came in 2005 when they defeated Manchester United on penalties to lift the FA Cup and they booked their place in the last four after thrashing Everton 4-1 on Saturday.
Hull will play Sheffield United in the other semi-final.
Less than a year on from their famous victory over City in the final of the same competition at Wembley, Jordi Gomez’s penalty and Perch’s strike gave Wigan a shock 2-1 win over Manuel Pellegrini’s men at the Etihad Stadium.
The Championship side were made to hold on for the final third of the match but a combination of excellent defending and poor finishing put them through to the semi-finals and another Wembley appearance.
Asked how they accomplished beating City again, matchwinner Perch paid tribute to boss Uwe Rosler.
The former Newcastle midfielder said: “It was just the gameplan we had all week, we’ve worked on it hard, we’ve had four weeks to prepare for it and the gaffer’s got us geed up for this game.
“It’s the FA Cup, I don’t think you need to work too hard on getting people geed up, it’s the magic of the FA Cup.
“He told us to press them high and get in their faces, and they didn’t like it. I think it paid off.”
Hull earned their place at Wembley with a 3-0 victory over Sunderland on Sunday to line up an all-Yorkshire clash against Sky Bet League One side Sheffield United.
In beating Charlton 2-0, the Blades became the first club from the third tier to reach the semi-finals of the competition since Wycombe in 2001.
Hull boss Steve Bruce admitted that the draw, which saw his side avoid Arsenal, was favourable but was taking nothing for granted against the Blades.
“It’s a great draw,” he said.
“Sheffield United have had a wonderful run and they’ve beaten every team in front of them so it’s never going to be easy but you’ve got to be honest and I’m sure Sheffield United were the same as us - you just want to avoid the big boys.
“When you get to quarter-finals and semi-finals, we haven’t been there since 1930. That’s a bit of the magic of the Cup.
“The magic of the FA Cup for me will never disappear.
“The magic of it when you get to the big quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals - whether you’re a player, manager, coach or supporter you enjoy the occasion.”