The two Manchester clubs are out, which leaves Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool as the biggest contenders for the Cup — but their focus should be elsewhere.
Take Tottenham. If you told the fans at the start of the season that they could finish fourth in the league and win the FA Cup this campaign, they'd have bitten your hand off. But here we are in February, and their situation is slightly different.
Champions League football doesn't look like being a problem for Spurs, but they're still in the title race. They may not get a chance to win it again — they may have to rebuild without Harry Redknapp next year — if they go off the boil in the league, they'll regret it. Look at the way Arsenal fell away in the league at the end of last year, and the slow start they made when the football started again in August. Momentum matters.
Speaking of Arsenal, there's an argument that they need a trophy. They've famously not won anything since the FA Cup in 2005, and you can pinpoint the start of their fall from grace back to the League Cup final defeat to Birmingham this time a year ago. It would be good for the fans to see some silverware, and who knows — perhaps it would be the confidence-boost some of these younger players need?
But if they take their eye off the ball and miss out on the Champions League next season, I don't hold out much hope for them. Robin van Persie would be almost certain to leave, and after that, where are the top-class Arsenal players — and who will be coming in to improve the squad? At the moment for the Gunners, the FA Cup is nice, but fourth spot is crucial.
Andre Villas-Boas knows that. He's under a lot of pressure at Chelsea at the moment, and Roman Abramovich isn't going to be satisfied with the FA Cup. There's only one trophy he wants to parade at Stamford Bridge now, and that's the Champions League trophy. If his team aren't playing in it next season, he'll spend more millions in pay-offs and release clauses to find a manager who can get them there, and I doubt that an FA Cup win will change his mind.
Liverpool might end up winning both Cups at this rate. They go into the League Cup final as favourites against Cardiff, and they should beat Brighton this weekend.
But if they miss out on the Champions League, that will be three seasons in a row that they've not made it into Europe's premier competition. They've got some American owners who've spent some big money on players, they've got sponsors from Asia who are expecting Liverpool to be potential league winners. They can take the Cups on their next pre-season tour if they like, but the Premier League and the Champions League are what the club's success will be judged on.
It doesn't give me any pleasure to talk about the FA Cup that way. I was lucky enough to win it myself as a player, and back then it was really special.
Nowadays, it's of secondary concern to the big boys, and with the money at stake, it's not hard to see why.