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FA Cup: The greatest final upsets as Manchester United look to shock Manchester City

Manchester United can look to some huge final upsets in the past as inspiration to defeat Manchester City

FA Cup Wembley

Manchester United head into Saturday’s FA Cup final against rivals Manchester City as massive underdogs.

Only Arsenal have lifted the trophy more times than the Red Devils but even the most passionate United fans are not giving them much of a chance against the Premier League champions after a torrid campaign.

To give supporters hope they can beat the odds, however, we relive some previous FA Cup final upsets in the competition’s rich history.

Sunderland 1-0 Leeds (1973)

The FA Cup had not seen a winner outside the top flight for more than 40 years until second-tier Sunderland stunned a star-studded Leeds in 1973.

Leeds, led by legendary boss Don Revie and boasting the likes of Norman Hunter and Billy Bremner, were overwhelming favourites having lifted the trophy the season before.

A Black Cats team who had missed out on promotion having finished sixth in the Second Division would surely be no match – but no-one showed Bob Stokoe’s side the script beforehand.

Ian Porterfield scored in the first half before an outstanding goalkeeping display by Jim Montgomery earned the Wearsiders a famous triumph.

Southampton 1-0 Manchester United (1976)

If United do manage to beat City on Sunday, it would still be nothing compared to the giant-killing they were on the wrong end of in 1976.

Just three years after Sunderland’s miracle, Southampton – also sixth in the Second Division – repeated the trick by stunning the Red Devils, who had finished third in the top flight.

The Saints were clear underdogs against Tommmy Docherty’s men but lifted the only FA Cup trophy in their history courtesy of Bobby Stokes’ winner.

West Ham 1-0 Arsenal (1980)

West Ham remain the last team from outside the top flight to taste FA Cup glory and, like Sunderland, they did so against the defending champions.

The Gunners were one of English football’s most dominant teams at the time while the Hammers were languishing down in seventh in the Second Division.

But Liam Brady and Co were unable to find a way past the Irons, who became FA Cup champions for the third time through Trevor Brooking’s winner.

Wimbledon 1-0 Liverpool (1988)

The 1988 FA cup final will forever be remembered as one of the most memorable in the competition’s history.

Though Wimbledon and Liverpool were competing in the same league at the time, they were worlds apart in terms of their achievements and playing styles.

The Reds, FA Cup holders and First Division champions, were one of  while the Dons, were English football’s surprise package after finishing seventh with their rough and tumble style.

But the FA Cup once again proved the great leveller, with Lawrie Sanchez’s winner for Wimbledon prompting John Motson’s iconic commentary line: “The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club”.

Wigan 1-0 Manchester City (2013)

There is a growing sense in modern football that smaller teams lifting trophies are a thing of the past – but Wigan Athletic put that notion to bed in 2013.

After suffering relegation in the Premier League, most Latics fans had been hoping to leave Wembley without being on the end of a spanking by Manchester City.

But Roberto Martinez’s men held their own against their heavily-fancied opponents, who had been unable to find a way through as 90 minutes approached on the clock.

And then up popped the most unlikely of heroes as Ben Watson headed home in stoppage time to send the Wigan half of Wembley into absolute pandemonium.

Beating the bookies?

If you have more confidence in Manchester United then the bookmakers do, then why not place a wager on the outcome.

In this article, we also highlight some bets that appear good value.

Picture of Cian Cheesbrough

Cian Cheesbrough

Cian is a sports journalist with a wealth of experience writing for national titles, including LiveScore, MailOnline, Eurosport and Sky Sports. He has covered a number of key events during his time in the industry, including from the press box at live Champions League fixtures.