Man City must take inspiration from Yaya Toure Wembley antics to reignite FA Cup story
Manchester City face Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, a venue that has played host to plenty of happy City memories in recent years.
The national stadium has been dubbed City’s home away from home due to the frequency of their visits, which have included triumphs in the FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield. With City coming into the game off the back of a draining midweek game in Madrid and with fresh injury concerns, a full-strength Liverpool is going to be difficult to overcome.
But anything can happen in the cup, and this is City we’re talking about. Hopefully these recent Wembley outings can inspire City to create more memories at the home of football.
Yaya at the double
Yaya Toure was the man to finally end City’s trophy curse in 2011 and bring joy to a new generation of Blues.
Roberto Mancini’s side came up against arch-rivals Manchester United in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final. Toure’s cool finish in the second half sealed a win that suggested a changing of the guard was just around the corner.
A month later the Ivorian midfielder was at it again, when he cannoned in a fierce strike from close-range to give City a 1-0 win in the final against Stoke. If you had to pick City’s greatest Wembley hero, Toure would be a fantastic shout.
The City invitational Cup
City have developed a fondness for the League Cup in recent years, winning the competition six times between 2014 and 2021.
It all started with the 2014 final, when Toure (he just loved playing at Wembley, didn’t he?) scored an outrageous looping effort to spark a City fightback after Sunderland had taken a surprise lead.
Two years later City overcame Liverpool on penalties, inflicting defeat on Jurgen Klopp in his first final with the club. Willy Caballero was the hero that day saving three spot-kicks, although Toure converted the winning effort and at one stage picked up Adam Lallana and started throwing him around like a rag doll. Oh Yaya.
The dominance continued under Pep Guardiola as City won four League Cups on the bounce between 2018 and 2021, defeating Arsenal, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Tottenham.
It might not be the most prestigious competition, but a late February/early March trip down to Wembley was a welcome day out in the calendar for fans.
We want 10
Perhaps surprisingly, City have only won the FA Cup once during Guardiola’s almost six-year reign, but when they did they did it in style.
Watford were the unlucky sacrificial lamb in 2019, powerless to stop City from sticking six goals past them and equaling the record for the highest-scoring margin of victory in the final, set by Bury FC in 1903.
The showpiece fixture was Vincent Kompany’s final appearance in sky blue, making the day a bitter-sweet occasion.
It’s Dickov again…
Ok, the 1999 Division Two play-off final was at the old Wembley as opposed to the new one, but we couldn’t not include this.
City were 2-0 down to Gillingham as the game entered injury-time, resigned to another year in English football’s third tier. Kevin Horlock got one back to give what City fans thought was false hope, but in the 95th minute, Paul Dickov broke free and smashed home an equaliser to force extra-time.
Nicky Weaver proved the hero, saving two penalties in the shootout before completely losing his head and running around the pitch like a madman.
Kyle Walker insanity
City’s dynamic right-back won’t be involved on Saturday after picking up an injury midweek against Atletico Madrid, but the last time City faced Liverpool at Wembley he played a crucial role.
City won 5-4 on penalties that day after drawing 1-1, but would have lost were it not for Walker’s incredible goal-line clearance. With Mohamed Salah’s header over Claudio Bravo about to cross the line, Walker acrobatically launched himself at the ball and managed to bicycle kick it up and over the bar.