Manchester United, Liverpool, and three other clubs who need to win the 2022 FA Cup

The FA Cup is often an afterthought for the biggest clubs in English soccer, but the 2022 competition could, and probably should, be a little different.

For all its incredible history, the FA Cup has not been treated with all that much respect by Premier League teams in recent times.

That is understandable in a way. After all, the financial benefits of protecting your Premier League status are huge. In most other ways, though, it's little short of a dereliction of duty to English soccer.

However, this season may be different with many of English soccer's biggest names looking in genuine need of winning it.

Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford for Manchester United vs Atalanta

Only Arsenal have won the FA Cup more times than Manchester United, and no one has won the league title more, so let's not kid ourselves that Red Devils fans have been, or are being, starved of success.

However, it's also just as fair to say that Man Utd are a mere shadow of what they used to be.

Things were bad under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and they haven't really improved under Ralf Rangnick, with serious questions now being asked about the mentality and professionalism of their expensively assembled squad.

There is a sense, from the outside at least, that Manchester United now expect to win things rather than being prepared to work for it, and the only real way to quash that reputation is to win something.

That's something they haven't done since 2017 when Jose Mourinho delivered the League Cup and Europa League, and the FA Cup is by far their best chance of some much-needed silverware this season.


Rafa Benitez Everton manager Nov21

If there is one Premier League manager right now who needs to prove a point to his club's supporters, then it is Rafael Benitez.

His appointment at Everton was always going to be a controversial one given his connections with, and very publicly-stated affections for, Liverpool.

Benitez needed a strong opening season and that's just not happening. The Toffees are languishing on the periphery of the relegation scrap and that is by no means a false position.

Winning a trophy would certainly buy the Spaniard the time he says he needs to rebuild, but there is just as strong a case to be made for the club itself badly needing it too.

They have spent a lot in recent times and boast a prestigious history, but they haven't lifted silverware for more than a quarter of a century.

They should have enough to avoid getting dragged into a fight for Premier League survival come May, so the FA Cup could, and probably should, become a priority for them.


Antonio Conte with the FA Cup

Spurs are another club who are trying to rebuild under a new manager, although they are able to boast one of far greater recent pedigree than Everton.

Antonio Conte has started life at Tottenham brilliantly and has fired them right back into the reckoning for Champions League soccer.

That has to be the club's main aim this season, but there is no reason why they shouldn't be making a major play for the FA Cup too.

Spurs already have a League Cup semi-final to look forward to, and with no European distractions between now and the end of the season, can afford to give the FA Cup the attention it deserves.

The only spanner in the works is a recent COVID outbreak which has left them with some catching up to do in terms of Premier League fixtures.

However, Tottenham have only one won one trophy this century and you can't build a reputation on things you want to do. Put simply, if Tottenham want the world to see them as they see themselves, then they need to win things.

West Ham

Declan Rice, West Ham, Aston Villa, Premier League

West Ham's improvement over the last couple of years has been extraordinary.

The battle for the fourth and final Champions League spot is shaping up to be a ferocious one, but the Hammers are very much in there fighting for it alongside Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United.

West Ham are at something of a crossroads, though. Do they want to put all their eggs in the Champions League basket, or do they want to try and win something too?

Their squad isn't as large as their rivals towards the top of the Premier League table and their financial resources more limited. But many years down the line, what will fans remember more; a couple of decent tilts at a top-four finish or an FA Cup? 

These are questions for David Moyes and the West Ham board, but you can bet the future of Declan Rice is also featuring heavily in their thoughts.

Rice has arguably become the most complete central midfield player in the Premier League, and barely a day goes by without him being linked with a move to another club.

If they secure a Champions League berth there would be little danger of Rice looking elsewhere. Failing that, lifting the FA Cup at Wembley would also provide a pretty convincing argument for him to stay put.


Roberto Firmino appeals for Liverpool

At the start of the season, the FA Cup was understandably low down the list of priorities for Liverpool.

Things change, though, and you'd have to say that Liverpool look well-and-truly out of the Premier League title race right now.

At the time of writing they are 11 points behind Manchester City and so will need to rely on a pretty major implosion by the Citizens to be back in with a chance of regaining the trophy they won two years ago.

Of course, Liverpool are still very much in the mix for the Champions League, and they are in the semi-finals of the League Cup too, but the FA Cup should take on greater importance now.

It's the biggest domestic trophy they can win and one they haven't had their hands on for more than 15 years.

That's too long a time for a club of their size, so maybe it's time to prioritise it. Otherwise, a promising campaign is in very real danger of fizzling out.

READ MORE: Six Everton managers who were worse than Rafael Benitez

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