What Happened The Last Time Brighton Met Manchester City In The FA Cup?
Manchester City, Brighton & Hove Albion, Watford, and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Only one side can get their hands on the trophy representing the world’s oldest football association competition; the FA Cup.
The first semi-final this weekend sees Pep Guardiola’s City take on Chris Hughton’s Brighton on Saturday afternoon.
City haven’t won the competition in eight years, and haven’t made the final in six; this year, the ambitious side are looking to make it part of an unprecedented ‘Quadruple’, alongside the already captured League Cup, as well as the Premier League and Champions League which they are both still in contention for.
In the four league meetings the two sides have had since Brighton rose up to the top tier of the English league in 2016/17, Man City have seen out every single fixture with a win, scoring an aggregate of seven goals with Brighton returning just one.
However, this will be the first meeting between Brighton and Manchester City in the FA Cup since 29th January 1983, which was a whole different result.
Strikes from Jimmy Case and Neil Smillie, and a brace courtesy of striker Michael Robinson at The Goldstone, allowed the Seagulls to win a fourth round tie en route to their - so far - only previous appearance in an FA Cup final.
After subsequently seeing off Liverpool (2-1) and Norwich City (1-0), and then Sheffield Wednesday in the semi-final at Highbury with a single goal, Jimmy Melia’s men would eventually lose by that same scoreline to City’s cross-town rivals Manchester United, then with Ron Atkinson at the helm in just his second season, in the final at Wembley which had been taken to a replay.
However, almost four decades later, it is a whole different ball game returning to face the behemothic Blues, backed by the billions of Sheikh Mansour and the Abu Dhabi United Group.
Brighton have only won one of their last 11 matches with Man City in all competitions, having drawn three and lost seven, the only victory coming in a 2-1 exactly 30 years ago in April 1989 in the Second Division.
Manchester City have progressed from 10 of their previous 13 FA Cup semi-final appearances, including eight of the last nine.
Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero, Nicolas Otamendi, Raheem Sterling, and Kevin De Bruyne; Man City have had nine different goalscorers in the FA Cup this season.
The last time they had ten different scorers in the competition was back in 2010/11. What happened then? Well, that’s when they last lifted the FA Cup, and also ended the four decades of trophyless heartache and goading from their Red neighbours.
Brighton are winless in their four previous matches at Wembley Stadium (drew one, lost three) and should they fail to win, they will become just the fifth different side to win on none of their first five visits to the stadium in all competitions; that ignominious list also includes Brentford, Leicester City, Middlesbrough, and Shrewsbury Town.
Should the bookies be proven right and Brighton are the latest victim of the City juggernaut, then personal achievements can still be gained; who will be - or even will there be? - the Seagulls fifth scorer at Brighton at Wembley?
Each of Brighton’s four previous goals scored at the national stadium have come via different players. Gordon Smith and Gary Stevens v Manchester United in the initial tie that ended in 2-2 and provoked the replay in 1983 and Dean Wilkins and Dave Regis versus Notts County in 1991.
Hopefully at least one person from the south-coast club will come away with some cheer.
The 33,000 approximated seat allocation was clearly too much for the Cityzens...