Everyone loves an FA Cup giant killing, unless your team is on the wrong end of one. There’s something special about a David versus Goliath story that keeps the romance of the FA Cup alive, and there could be a few big upsets in the upcoming third round this weekend.
Ahead of the weekend’s FA Cup action, we’ve taken a look at the biggest upsets in the recent history of the illustrious tournament. You can take a look at our FA Cup bets for the third round here.
Liverpool 0-1 Wimbledon (FA Cup final, 1988)
On paper, the Liverpool side of the 1988 FA Cup final should have swept aside Wimbledon, but the ‘Crazy Gang’ – featuring Vinny Jones, Lawrie Sanchez and Dennis Wise to name a few – stunned the league champions of that season.
A Sanchez header in the first half was enough to separate the sides and provide one of, if not the biggest shocks in the competition.
Sutton United 2-1 Coventry (FA Cup third round, 1989)
A total of 8,000 supporters were packed into Golder’s Green Lane to see Coventry visit Sutton United in January 1989 – just 18 months after the Sky Blues had won the FA Cup and were playing well in the top flight.
But they came crashing down to earth in this one when a team full of bricklayers, brokers and insurance clerks managed by English teacher Barrie Williams sent the big dogs packing.
Wrexham 2-1 Arsenal (FA Cup third round, 1992)
In 1992, Arsenal arrived at the Racecourse Ground as league champions to take on a Wrexham side who were bottom of the old fourth division.
When Alan Smith put the Gunners ahead, they must have thought they were on course to stroll into the fourth round, but Mickey Thomas and Steve Watkin strikes late into the second half were enough to hand the Red Dragons the win.
Oh to have been a fly on the wall in the Arsenal dressing room after that match for George Graham’s post-match team talk…
Manchester United 0-1 Leeds United (FA Cup third round, 2010)
We can already hear football supporters up and down the country say that Leeds winning an FA Cup tie isn’t a giant-killing, but in the context of this one, it most certainly was.
Leeds hadn’t played their bitter rivals Manchester United in six years since being relegated from the Premier League, and they now found themselves in League One as they took on Sir Alex Ferguson’s Champions League finalists of that year.
A solitary strike from Jermaine Beckford silenced the Old Trafford crowd and saw Leeds go marching on into the fourth round and leave the Red Devils rather red-faced.
Wigan 1-0 Manchester City (FA Cup final, 2013)
Wigan were facing relegation in the Premier League in May 2013 but in their penultimate game of the campaign, the Latics had an FA Cup final to contend first against Manchester City.
Against all odds, Roberto Martinez’s side beat Yaya Toure, Carol Tevez, David Silva and Co courtesy of a Ben Watson header from a corner in stoppage time.
Wigan may have gone down that season, but lifting the FA Cup trophy is perhaps the best moment in the club’s history and a memorable FA Cup upset.
Chelsea 2-4 Bradford (FA Cup fourth round, 2015)
When Chelsea go 2-0 up at home, there’s not many Premier League teams who could come back from it, never mind League One Bradford. But that’s exactly what the Bantams did by scoring four at Stamford Bridge to knock the Blues out of the competition.
Jose Mourinho’s side went on to win the Premier League that season, which is a testament to Bradford and how big their achievement was – an unforgettable FA Cup giant-killing.
Burnley 0-1 Lincoln (FA Cup fifth round, 2017)
In beating Burnley at Turf Moor, Lincoln City became first side outside the top four divisions to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in more than a century.
The Imps faced a barrage of attacks for 89 minutes before Sean Raggett struck to shock the Clarets late in the tie and put the East Midlands side on cloud nine.
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