With the FA Cup final coming up between Manchester City and Stoke I thought it would be a good time to look at some other games over the years that have featured a highly fancied team against one that wasn’t given a chance before the game. Here is a top ten list of some memorable games that big underdogs have taken part in.
10 2009-10 Chelsea 1 Portsmouth 0
I feel this is worth a place on the top ten because of the immense problems Portsmouth went through that season that included heavy debts and ended with relegation. However, despite those problems the club still managed to reach the FA Cup final at a packed Wembley. Chelsea won the match thanks to a 59th winner from Didier Drogba.
9 2007-08 Cardiff 0 Portsmouth 1
This game makes the list for two main reasons. Firstly, it was a fantastic achievement for a Championship club to reach the FA Cup final and playing in Europe for either club would be a fantastic achievement. Portsmouth won this encounter thanks to a winner goal from Kanu in the 37th minute. The result ensured Portsmouth had qualified for Europe for the first time in their history.
8 2003-04 Manchester United 3 Millwall 0
Manchester United won this game comfortably with a goal from Ronaldo and a superb brace from Dutch forward Ruud Van Nistelrooy. But it should be noted that Millwall did fantastically well just the reach the final considering it was the first time the club had reached a final in the League or FA Cup.
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7 2002-03 Arsenal 1 Southampton 0
Arsenal went into this game as big favourites after finishing second in the Premier League and having won the double the previous season. Even though Southampton were a solid side also but in this situation they were underdogs. As expected Arsenal won the game 1-0 with Pires getting the winner goal.
6 1991-92 Liverpool 2 Sunderland 0
This was another great final between a massive club from the top flight and massive underdog from outside the top division. But the game went the expected way and Liverpool won through goals from Michael Thomas and Ian Rush.
5 1987-88 Wimbledon 1 Liverpool 0
Liverpool were always billed as the likely winners of this game having just won the title for the top flight that season but it was plucky Wimbledon who upset the bookies with an unlikely win. Lawrie Sanchez struck the unlikely winner in the first half and Wimbledon recorded a famous victory.
4 1986-7 Coventry 3 Tottenham 2
This was a classic of a game that again needed extra time to find a winner. The two sides were close throughout the game – but it was eventually Coventry that won thanks to a Gary Mabbutt own goal.
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3 1989-90 Manchester United 3 Crystal Palace 3
What a classic game of football this was and even after extra time there was still no winner. In fact there was even time for two goals to be scored in the extra time period. Manchester United won the reply 1-0.
2 1982-3 Manchester United 2 Brighton 2
Manchester United were big favourites going into this game and Brighton had been relegated from the top flight that season and never reached the final before. However, they gave United quite a game and the match finished in a 2-2 draw thanks to 87th minute equaliser from Gary Stevens.
1 1982-3 Manchester United 4 Brighton 0
After such a strong performance in the original game they would have had high hopes for the replay but it proved to be a very one-side affair with United winning 4-0. United did well to record such a convincing win in what must have been such a tricky game.