Manchester City travel to Swansea this afternoon, looking for a place in the FA Cup Semi Final for the second time in three years, and to keep alive the dream of lifting the trophy for the first time since 2011.
The blues have dispatched Rotherham, Burnley and Newport so far in this season’s competition and visit South Wales on the back of thrashing Schalke 7-0 in the Champions League. City have scored 16 goals in their three cup ties and have kept clean sheets in all, and on paper are expected to book their place at Wembley.
But history of quarter finals speaks volumes and it’s fair to say that, over the years, an FA Cup semi final has eluded City more than times than they’ve qualified for the lasy four. Let’s take a look at some of those moments.
1988 – Liverpool
In 1988, Mel Machin’s young City side forced their way into the quarter final by beating Huddersfield (eventually), Blackpool (just about) and Plymouth. Their reward was a home quarter final with the title chasing Merseysiders, who were still unbeaten in the league. Although the blues put up a good performance, a suspected handball by John Barnes went unnoticed for Liverpool’s opener, then a great tackle by Paul Lake in the second half was penalised and Liverpool awarded a penalty. It was the end of the road for City on a rainy day in Manchester, compounded by two further goals from the eventual champions and City crashed out with a 4-0 defeat.
1993 – Spurs
The blues next reached the quarter final in 1993 and faced Spurs at home. The Londoners had already knocked City out of the League Cup at Maine Road and followed it up a month later by beating the blues 1-0 in the league match. City fans were hoping for better this time round and when Mike Sheron gave City the lead, blues fans were dreaming of a first semi-final since 1981.
Alas, it was not to be as not only did spurs equalise, they went on to score another three and also miss a penalty, before Terry Phelan pulled a consolation goal back. To make matters worse, the crowd then decided to invade the pitch, possibly in the hope of getting the match abandoned, but that also failed, along with the blues FA Cup quest for another year.
2006 – West Ham
After spending many years putting the fans through hell and flitting between promotion and relegation, there was a real sense in 2006 that City could go all the way and win the cup. They’d beaten Scunthorpe, Wigan (yes it really happened) and Aston Villa to reach the last eight, and with a home tie against West Ham, surely the blues name would be in the hat for the semi-final draw.
But, as usual it is hope that kills you and that hope started to die in the 41st minute when Dean Ashton gave the Hammers the lead. City were reduced to ten men when Sun Jihai was sent off in the second half and Ashton scored his and West Ham’s second on 69 minutes. Kiki Musampa’s volley pulled a goal back for the blues with five minutes remaining, but the mountain was too high to climb and the blues exited again.
2007 – Blackburn
Blues fans would only have to wait another twelve months to get another crack at the quarter finals, and of course, the familiar taste of disappointment. City had progressed to the last eight by beating Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton and Preston, and now faced a trip to Ewood Park to face Blackburn Rovers. The blues had lost the league fixture 4-2 earlier in the season, and were also beaten 3-0 in the home league match, so blues fans were expecting a better performance from their tem this time around.
Once again, the bleus failed to produce and the home side took the lead in the 28th minute, before the goalscorer got himself sent off with 21 minutes remaining. That should have encouraged the blues, but Blackburn scored a second in injury time to complete a hat-trick of victories of City and take their place in the semi-final at City’s expense/
2011 – Reading
Roberto Mancini’s side reached the quarter final after beating Leicester, Notts County and Aston Villa in previous rounds, and were given a more favourable home tie against Championship side Reading. Surely, this time they would make the semi-final?
The draw for the semi-final had been made before the match started and, if City were to win, they would face Manchester United at Wembley for a place in the FA Cup Final. But Reading were no pushovers and blues fans had to wait until the 74th minute for the deadlock to be broken. It came in the form of a bullet header from Micah Richards, that finally broke Reading resistance and sent City into their first semi-final since 1981.
2013 – Barnsley
The Premier League champions were marching towards another Wembley appearance in 2013, and Barnsley stood in their way of reaching a second semi-final in three years. City had beaten Watford 3-0, Stoke 1-0 and Leeds 4-0, and there were some who jokingly said that the blues would win either 2-0 or 5-0 to maintain a pattern of results.
As it turned out, it would be the latter as a Carlos Tevez hat-trick were added to by ASleksander Kolarov and David Silva as City booked their place in the last eight and tie with Chelsea at Wembley. Could the blues win 2-0 to keep the pattern going?
2014 – Wigan
After losing the FA Cup final to Wigan last season, the blues faced the Latics in the quarter final, looking for a slice of revenge for that Wembley defeat. In fairness, City had already achieved revenge when they thumped Wigan 5-0 in the League Cup earlier in the season, but two slices of revenge are always better than one.
As it transpired, it would be Wigan getting revenge for the early season drubbing. Jordi Gomez scored a first half penalty and James Perch added a second two minutes into the second half. Samir Nasri pulled a goal back but the blues couldn’t find a way back and the Wigan curse continued as the blues dropped out at the last eight stage again.
Despite the defeat, blues fans as usual saw the funny side, with one on Twitter posting an alternative song for new manager Manuel Pellegrini:
Sheikh Mansour went to Spain, in an Alfa Spider
He brought us back a manager who couldn’t beat Wigan either!
2017 – Middlesbrough
After three years, the blues finally reached another quarter final, this time at Middlesbrough. The Teeside club had knocked City out on two previous occasions, but this time it would be City who would victor for Pep Guardiola’s men.
A third minute goal by David Silva was doubled in the 67th minute by Sergio Aguero to send the bleus into only their third FA Cup semi-final in 36 years.
How will the blues go on today? Will they be booking an April trip to Wembley?