Manchester City take on Brighton on Saturday looking for a place in the FA Cup Final for the first time since 2013. The blues are favourites to lift the trophy, but this competition has a habit of conjuring surprise results at any stage. It’s fair to say that City haven’t been involved in that many semi-finals over the years, so let’s take a look back and see what has happened in the past.
2017 – Arsenal
Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge in Manchester almost resulted in a Cup Final appearance. And that possibility looked like a reality when Sergio Aguero gave the blues the lead in the 62nd minute. Unfortunately for City, Nacho Monreal equalised nine minute later, and the match went into extra time, where Alexis Sanchez scored the winner for Arsenal.
It was bitter disappointment for City and their fans as Guardiola ended the season trophyless for the first time in his managerial career.
2013 – Chelsea
In 2013, the Premier League champions were on the verge of losing their crown, and the FA Cup was the only hope of silverware for Roberto Mancini’s men. Wigan Athletic awaited the winners in the final and the blues took control as goals either side of half-time from Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero put City 2-0 up. Demba Ba pulled a goal back for the holders, and City’s hearts were in their mouths when Fernando Torres went down in the area, only for the referee to wave away the penalty claims.
But the blues held on to secure their second Cup Final in three seasons and kept alive their hope of silverware from an otherwise disappointing season.
2011 – Manchester United
The blues and the reds came face to face at Wembley for the first time, and would play either Bolton or Stoke, who would play their semi-final 24 hours later, in the final. The two teams and drawn the derby at the Etihad, while United won the reverse fixture at Old Trafford, and despite City’s growing emergence in the Premier League, it was expected United won win the match and reach the final.
The reds should have taken the lead when Dimitar Berbatov spurned two chances to put United in front. But despite those chances, it was City who began to look likely finalists. After a goalless first half, the blues broke the deadlock. Yaya Toure pounced on a misplaced pass and powered past the United defence to put the ball between the legs of the keeper and into the back of the net. City fans went wild at the prospect of reaching the final at United’s expense.
Towards the end of the match, Paul Scholes saw red for a nasty challenge on Pablo Zabaleta as City made it to the FA Cup Final for the first time since 1981.
1981 – Ipswich
Villa Park was the venue for City’s FA Cup semi-final with Ipswich. The Suffolk team were hot favourites to reach the final against an unfashionable City side, and were at the time one of the better teams in the First Division.
But the FA Cup can throw up some shocks, and the 81 semi-final certainly did that. Both teams had their chances, but after a goalless 90 minutes, the match went into extra time. City won a free kick outside of the Ipswich penalty area. Paul Power stood over it, and he hit it perfectly past the Ipswich wall, over the keeper and into the back of the net to send City fans wild. The underdogs were 1-0 up and heading to Wembley.
The blues had chances to make the game safe, but in the end, it wasn’t needed and City set up a meeting with Spurs in the final.
Will it be the underdogs or favourites who reach Wembley tomorrow?