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    Joe Jones
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    Joe Jones Tip
    Twitter: twitter JoeJones1862

    Who out of Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Southampton wants the FA Cup more?

    We're down to the last four teams in this season's FA Cup, with Manchester United up against Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea to face Southampton in the semi-finals.

    Ever since the Red Devils decided to withdraw from the 1999-2000 competition to focus on the inaugural FIFA Club World Championship in South America - a shocking decision that was supported by the FA to try and curry favour with FIFA when it came to their World Cup 2006 hosting bid - there has been much discussion with regards to how much the World's Oldest Cup Competition (TM) truly means to big teams any more.

    There was a time when the FA Cup truly was English football's showstopper, the curtain closer, but things such as the Man United withdrawal, or playing the final before the end of the Premier League season, like Wigan Athletic did in 2013, have all led to people despairing at how the competition seems to have fallen by the wayside.

    But this season, each of the four teams are certain to take the competition seriously.

    Southampton, as a team not traditionally expected to challenge for the title and seldom in Europe, will want to turn their superb cup run into something more and seek to clinch major silverware for the first time since 1976, not to mention giving their fans something to smile about amid the relegation gloom.

    Mark Hughes did well in his first match to get past a tricky side in Wigan Athletic and will propel himself to glory sharpish should the Saints dispatch of Chelsea and then win in the final, going a step further than the 2002-03 side, now to mention the EFL Cup final defeat last term.

    As for Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and the Blues, this season's FA Cup doesn't represent merely a booster trophy to other silverware; it represents each of these clubs' only chance of winning silverware.

    Let's face it, Manchester City have won the Premier League. We've pretty much known this since the turn of the year, and now it's more a matter of when rather than if. Will it be before the derby, leaving United possibly having to do a guard of honour, or during the derby, or can the Red Devils avoid either of those ignominies and keep the champagne on ice for a little longer?

    United were expected to be challenging for the league alongside City but they've been a distant second for much of the season and are now facing a battle for second, with Liverpool and Spurs - and possibly Chelsea - hoping to finish as high as they can.

    In addition, all three managed to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League but all three fell at the last-16 stage as Sevilla, Juventus and Barcelona all ran out relatively comfortable winners.

    Jose Mourinho has found himself under pressure in the last few weeks and his 12-minute monologue the other week seemed less "inspirational speech" and more "under-stress individual about to crack", so he will be hoping to get his hands on the FA Cup - it'll be more of a consolation prize, but failure to claim it will mean the ignominy of a "trophyless season".

    If Mourinho is on thin ice, Antonio Conte is very much struggling to tread water having fallen through a crack in the ice.

    Chelsea's woeful defence of their Premier League title and five-point gap between themselves and the top four is bad enough, but his constant spats and digs at the board during his press conferences aren't exactly going to endear him to Roman Abramovich - an owner with a history of sacking managers for less than what Conte has been doing/not doing.

    And then there's Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham, a side with arguably one of the best managers in the league but with a board that isn't particularly well liked by fans, due to the player wage ceiling which they believe leaves them open to poaching, not to mention the planned price of season tickets at the new stadium.

    Also, Spurs have been starved of silverware for a whole decade since they won the 2008 League Cup - and before then, the 1991 FA Cup - so a trophy would do wonders for securing the legacy of one of the most talented Spurs sides in recent memory.

    So how will the competition end this year? Will Mourinho do an Arsene Wenger and pick up a second FA Cup in a row as a consolation for a close-but-no-cigar Man United side? Could Conte suffer a similar fate to Louis van Gaal in winning the cup and being fired straight after? Will Pochettino finally guide his superb young side to cup glory? Or will Hughes upset the odds and guide Southampton to their first major trophy since the 1970s?

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