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Aston Villa

 By Michael Cox

FA Cup semifinals offer plenty of intrigue among the four managers

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes and Stewart Robson preview Arsenal's FA Cup semifinal with Reading and wonder if the Gunners will repeat the mistakes of last year.

Frustrating fixture scheduling has ensured that the FA Cup semifinals won't be centre stage this weekend. Both ties clash with a notable Premier League contest, which seems a great shame considering that both games have tremendous potential.

There's a nice mixture between a potential giant-killing on Saturday, and an all-Premier League tie on the Sunday. The most interesting battles, however, are taking place in the dugouts.

Arsenal vs. Reading

Saturday's semifinal provides an obvious contrast...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Sherwood vs. Rodgers, Arsenal out to defend trophy - Five FA Cup themes

Arsene Wenger is out to defend his FA Cup trophy.

Wembley Way this weekend will greet fans of four clubs hoping to be back there on May 30 for the final. On Saturday, Championship side Reading attempt to become the first Football League finalists since Cardiff City lost 2008's final to Portsmouth, while holders Arsenal want a repeat of last season when they beat Hull to claim the prize. Meanwhile, Sunday sees Aston Villa and Liverpool find a welcome distraction from their Premier League problems.

Here are five themes to consider.

1. The forgotten...

Kevin Hughes Aston Villa  By Kevin Hughes

Aston Villa looking for a change in FA Cup fortunes

Aston Villa's Christian Benteke previews his side's FA Cup semifinal match against Liverpool, where he still believes Brendan Rodgers' side are the favourites to progress to Wembley.

Aston Villa have a rich history in the FA Cup but significantly less to feel proud of in recent years. In fact, it's been more like decades. For one of the great established clubs in England, the magic of the FA Cup has been distinctly lacking, and Sunday's semifinal represents a rare chance to take a step closer to recording a success in the modern era.

Only three clubs have won the competition more times than Villa -- Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham -- who have triumphed on seven occasions...

Kevin Hughes Aston Villa  By Kevin Hughes

Tim Sherwood and Villa edge closer to safety and now focus on FA Cup

Tim Sherwood savoured his most satisfying win as Aston Villa boss after his side won 1-0 at Tottenham.

The clenched fists and beaming smile said it all. The 1-0 victory over Tottenham was a massive result for Tim Sherwood and Aston Villa. They have now passed the 30-point mark, which is a significant psychological boost.

Safety is not assured but it is within sight. Other than Leicester's 3-2 win at West Brom -- the Baggies are now just a point above their neighbours and are being sucked back into the relegation picture -- results went in Villa's favour. Defeats for Burnley, QPR, Hull and Sunderland...

 By Chris Wright

Tim Sherwood's celebrations vs. Spurs captured in Aston Villa video

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood recaps his side's 1-0 win over his old club, Tottenham.

Reasons to be cheerful have proved few and far between at Aston Villa this season, so with a rare chance to celebrate cropping up this weekend, the club have seized their opportunity to milk it for all it's worth.

Following Villa's impressive 1-0 victory against manager Tim Sherwood's former club Tottenham on Saturday afternoon, the rejuvenated club posted a highlight reel of their boss' various jubilant full-time celebrations on their official YouTube channel.

The video contains almost two full...

Benteke strikes to stun Spurs and hand Sherwood and Villa crucial win

Tim Sherwood marked his return to White Hart Lane with a surprising 1-0 victory over Tottenham.
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood recaps his side's 1-0 win over his old club, Tottenham.

LONDON -- A trio of thoughts from Aston Villa's 1-0 victory at Tottenham as Tim Sherwood came back to haunt his former club.

Tottenham HotspurTottenham Hotspur
Aston VillaAston Villa
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1. Sherwood returns to surprise Spurs

Just 10 months after he left Tottenham as manager, Tim Sherwood returned to claim a 1-0 win that could keep Aston Villa in the Premier League.

There is now a much more comfortable gap between Sherwood's side and the relegation zone thanks to this fine away win, just as there was always an uncomfortable gap between the brilliant Christian...