The Giant Killers

Every F A cup slaying since 1888

The Giant Killers of



2018

Third round replay, Wednesday, January 17th 2018, Robin Park, Attendance: 4,709 

Scorers: Sam Morsy {9}, Dan Burn {73}, Callum Elder {76}


Ranked at the time: 221

Wigan: 23:Jamie Jones, 6:Max Power, 22:Cheyenne Dunkley, 14:Alex Bruce, 3:Callum Elder, 4:David Perkins, 5:Sam Morsy, 27:Ryan Colclough {Replaced by 33:Dan Burn-71}, 18:Gary Roberts {Replaced by 17:Michael Jacobs-86}, 11:Gavin Massey, 9:Will Grigg {Replaced by 24:Noel Hunt-51}. Manager:Paul Cook


Bournemouth: 1:Artur Boruc, 24:Ryan Frazer {Replaced by 22:Emerson Hyndman-78}, 3:Steve Cook, 42:Jack Simpson, 11:Charlie Daniels, 33:Connor Mahoney {Replaced by 33:Jordan Ibe-64}, 6:Andrew Surman {Replaced by 58:Kyle Taylor-87}, 8:Harry Arter, 7:Marc Pugh, 31:Lys Mousset, 9:Benik Afobe. Manager:Eddie Howe

Fourth round, Saturday, January 27th 2018, Robin Park, Attendance: 14,194

Scorer: Will Grigg {7, 62-Pen}


Ranked at the time: 286 

Wigan: 1:Christian Walton, 2:Nathan Byrne, 22:Cheyenne Dunkley, 33:Dan Burn,  3:Callum Elder {Replaced by 26:Reece James-86},  6:Max Power, 5:Sam Morsy, 11:Gavin Massey {Replaced by  27:Ryan Colclough-76}, 25:Nick Powell, 17:Michael Jacobs,  9:Will Grigg {Replaced by  18:Gary Roberts-88} Manager:Paul Cook


West Ham: 25:Joe Hart, 5:Pablo Zabaleta {Replaced by 18:Joao Mario-45}, 32:Reece Burke, 21:Angelo Ogbonna, 3:Aaron Cresswell, 22:Sam Byram, 33:Josh Cullen, 14:pedro Obiang {Replaced by 35:Reece Oxford-36}, 26:Arthur Masuaku {Sent Off-49}, 29:Antonio Martinez {Replaced by 23: Saed Haksabanovic-81}, 17:Javier Hernandez. Manager:David Moyes

Fifth round, Monday, February 19th 2018, Robin Park, Attendance: 19,242

 1-0 vs Manchester City


Scorer: Will Grigg {79}


Ranked at the time: 40

Wigan Athletic


On match day: 2nd in League One [3rd tier]


Final placing: Champions


Form: Lost last two games after a sixteen game unbeaten run, including the victories over Bournemouth and West Ham

Staring eleven all first team regulars.


Pedigree: F A Cup Winners 2013

Relegated from top flight 2013

F A cup semi finalists from second tier 2014

Relegated to third tier 2015

Third tier Champions 2016

Relegated to third tier 2017

Beaten five top flight teams in the cup since 2014, including Manchester City


League places difference: 46

Manchester City


On match day: Top of Premier League [top flight]


Form: Unbeaten in eight games in all competitions, Two defeats in forty-four top flight games dating back thirteen months.

Through to the League Cup Final and also in the Champions League, bidding to win a quadruple.

Nine first team regulars and two experienced reserves in starting eleven.  


Pedigree: Double domestic runners up 2013

League Champions and League cup winners 2014

League runners up 2015

League cup winners & Champions League semi finalists 2016

F A cup semi finalists 2017

Third round, Saturday, January 6th 2018, City of Coventry Stadium, Attendance: 14,199

Scorers: Jordan Willis {24}, Jack Grimmer {68}


Coventry: Charlie Adam {54-Pen}


Ranked at the time: 124

Coventry City were at their lowest ebb for over half a century, having sunk into the Football League's basement for the first time since 1959 the previous spring. Much like that one and only season in the old Division Four, the Skyblues were on course for promotion when they won through two early cup rounds against Non-League opponents to an aggregate score of 5-0. 

The draw for the third round paired them with struggling Premier League Stoke City, who would arrive at the Ricoh Arena in the relegation zone. An additional twist to the tail was that managers, Mark Robins of Coventry and Mark Hughes of Stoke both scored the goals in a Manchester United FA cup tie against Nottingham Forest twenty-seven years earlier, that had gone down in folklore as the result that saved Alex Ferguson's job before going on to turn United into the biggest club in the land. Now, Hughes faced the very real possibility of dismissal if his misfiring Premier League side slipped up. 

Here's what happened


Twenty-nine times Stoke aimed at the Coventry goal but only managed to get six efforts on target and although that bettered Coventry's four, the home side buried half of the opportunities that came their way. The majority of those Stoke efforts came in the late surge of desperation when tired legs saw Coventry deeply on the back foot. Unsurprisingly, Mark Hughes was asked to clear his desk the following day as the Stoke board turned to Caretaker, Eddie Niedzwiecki, until Paul Lambert was appointed ten days later. City won just two of their remaining thirteen league games as they surrendered their top flight status.


Coventry traveled to third tier Milton Keynes Dons in Round Four.    With another minor shock under their belt, they lined up another top flight scalp in round five with a trip to Brighton. Their cup run over, Mark Robins turned the Sky Blue's attention back to the League Two promotion race. City were now lying 8th with fourteen games remaining but won half of them to secure a play-off birth, which ultimately secured them promotion to League One. 


Coventry: 13:Liam O'Brien, 2:Jack Grimmer, 4:Jordan Willis, 12:Tom Davies, 17:Jordan Maguire-Drew {replaced by 31:Ben Stevenson-63}, 30:Tom Bayliss, 8:Michael Doyle, 26:Jordan Shipley {Replaced by 24:Ryan Haynes-85}, 9:Maxime Biamou, 10:Marc McNulty. Manager:Mark Robins


Stoke: 1:Jack Butland, 6:Kurt Zouma, 20:Geoff Cameron {Replaced by 25:Peter Crouch-52}, 5:Kevin Wimmer, 42:Thomas Edwards, 4:Joe Allen, 7:Stephen Ireland {Replaced by 10:Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting-73}, 16:Charlie Adam {Replaced by 22:Xherdan Shiqiri-75}, 32:Ramadam Sobhi, 9:Saido Berahino, 18:Mame Biram Diouf. Manager:Mark Hughes

Third round, Sunday, January 7th 2018, City Ground, Attendance: 27,182

Scorers: Eric Lichaj {20, 44}, Ben Brereton {64-Pen}, Kieran Dowell {85-Pen}


Arsenal: Per Mertesacker {23}, Danny Welbeck {79}


Ranked at the time: 124

It was four years since Championship Forest last earned a Giant Killing scalp and the club's fans had watched them gradually slide closer to the third tier, than a return to the top flight, they'd last graced almost two decades earlier. After a bright start to the season, that promised an unexpected promotion tilt, inconsistency dogged Mark Warburton's side and ultimately cost the manager his position on New Year's Eve. Former Newcastle player and academy coach, Gary Brazil took charge for their New Year's day game but was unable to halt a run of five games without a win that left Forest looking over their shoulders at the relegation battlers sitting eight points behind them. 


Brazil's next task was to pick the side that would take on Arsene Wenger's Arsenal in the Third Round of the cup. The Gunner's were lying sixth in the top flight and were unbeaten in nine games in all competitions, which included a run to an upcoming League Cup Semi Final and the knockout stages of the Europa League. For most fans that would be an excellent season and yet a gathering storm of disgruntled Gunners, dissatisfied with their performance. Arsenal hadn't finished outside the top five for over two decades and any hope of the League title was long gone. They were also more used to Champions League Football and a top four finish was the expectation. Amazingly, in the eyes of many Gunners, Arsenal were under achieving and Wenger appeared to be feeling the pressure when he was handed a three match touchline ban that would include the cup tie. With a League cup semi final against Chelsea coming up, Wenger made nine changes from the side that had drawn with the semi final opponents in a New Year's Day league clash.


Highlights


Not surprisingly, criticism pour onto Wenger with his team selection called arrogant beyond belief by outspoken pundit, Chris Sutton. Wenger was quick to defend his selection, pointing out his team's heavy schedule, fitness concerns and Arsenal's strength in depth still seeing six full internationals on the field at one stage. It was the Frenchman's inexperienced substitute's bench that attracted the strongest criticism. Giving some squad men a start in the cup would be considered fine but most top flight sides usually kept their star men in reserve, to come on and save the day should things go wrong. Only one of Arsenal's bench men possessed any top flight experience. It was scant consolation that referee, Mike Dean admitted he should have had Forest's second penalty retaken for a double touch. Wenger's gamble might have been forgiven had it paid off but they remained sixth at the end of the season, were outclassed by Champions, Manchester City, in the League cup final and missed out in the semi finals of the Europa League. Wenger announced his intention to step down as manager in April.


Forest appointed Aitor Karanka, a former bit part player in three Real Madrid Champions League winning sides, as their new manager in time for their fourth round tie at fellow Championship side, Hull City. In he short term, Forest's change of manager didn't have the desired effect. They continued to struggle in the Championship, ultimately finishing seventeenth. 


Forest: 43:Jordan Smith, 2:Eric Lichaj, 42:Joe Worrall {Sent off-89}, 4:Michael Mancienne, 6:Armand Traore, 24:David Vaughan, 11:Ben Osborn, 14:Matthew Cash {Replaced by 10:Barrie McKay-87}, 20:Kieran Dowell {Replaced by 5:Matt Mills-90+3}, 16:Zach Clough {Replaced by 34:Tyler Walker-56}, 17:Ben Brereton. Caretaker Manager: Gary Brazil


Arsenal: 13:David Ospina, 2:Matthieu Debuchy {Replaced by 32:Chuba Akpom-87}, 4:Per Mertesacker, 16:Rob Holding, 30:Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 35:Mohamed El Neny, 69:Joe Willock {Replaced by 62:Eddie Nketiah-65}, 14:Theo Walcott, 17:Alex Iwobi, 61:Reiss Nelson, 23:Danny Welbeck. Manager:Arsene Wenger

Footnotes and might have beens

Alas this was a bad year for Non-League Football as it was the first time since 1951 that all sixty-four teams in the Third Round hailed from the Football League and Premier League. This was especially disappointing after three teams from the seventh tier had been among the nine Non-League sides in round two. Most of those nine suffered heavy defeats to league opposition.


Three fourth tier teams took on top flight sides in round three with one of their number securing a Giant Killing, see Coventry City.


Two second tier teams got a shot at beating the reigning League Champions, Chelsea and the first, Norwich City were a penalty shootout away from pulling off a shock after taking Chelsea to a replay and equalising at Stamford Bridge with the last kick of the game. Chelsea survived and later put paid to Hull City before going on to lift the trophy in May


Chelsea were replaced as Champions by Manchester City, whose fate is detailed above.