This weekend’s final four :
Chelsea v Liverpool (Pay Per View, Setanta, Saturday, noon EST)
Middlesbrough v West Ham (Fox Soccer Channel, Sunday, noon EST)
The Guardian’s Barry Glendenning and Georgina Turner are virtually choking to death on the hyperbole.
With such thrilling newswire headlines as “Major Doubt Over Southgate”, “Gudjohnsen Blow For Chelsea”, “Hyypia Happy With Chance In A Millennium”, “Play-Off Experience Will Help Hammers” and the Suntastically snappy “Chelsea’s Essien In FA Cup Semi-Final Fitness Fight” to choose from, it’s small wonder that the Fiver is at a loss to know which of the countless stories surrounding the weekend’s semi-finals to use in a bid to wrap up this story before heading for the pub. So we’ll ignore them all and instead hand over to Sir Trevor Brooking to talk ahead of West Ham’s encounter with Middlesbrough.
“The FA Cup is special to players and can be a life-changing experience. Not a week goes by without someone mentioning my header in the 1980 final,” droned the Hammers mascot, seemingly oblivious to the fact that most of these “mentions” can be attributed to him. Meanwhile in Liverpool, Rafa Benitez was sounding confident prior to his side’s grudge match against Chelsea. “They are the most expensive team in the world and must be favourites,” he insisted, cunningly disguising the imminent flurry of punches. “But we know we can win, just like we did last season in Big Cup [jab!] semi-final. So I don’t envy Jose Mourinho’s wealth [sock!]. I am really satisfied here and happy that last season we won Big Cup! [pow!]” The Special One is clearly on the ropes – can Rafa deliver the knockout blow tomorrow?