Manchester United narrowly avoided suffering one of the greatest shocks in the history of English football when they managed to defeat Coventry City on penalties to reach the FA Cup final for the second straight year. The Red Devils found themselves three goals to the good on the hour mark thanks to strikes from Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes. But the second-tier outfit wouldn’t give up without a fight.

The Sky Blues pulled a goal back in the 71st minute through Ellis Simms, before Callum O’Hare netted a second eight minutes later. It looked like the equaliser they so desperately craved wouldn’t come, but then a late penalty was awarded and converted by Haji Wright in the 95th minute. Coventry thought they had found a 121st-minute winner through the brilliant Simms, however, his goal was ruled out for offside after a lengthy VAR check.

That sent the contest to penalties and allowed Andre Onana to become the hero and spare his side’s blushes. He saved a shot from O’Hare before Ben Sheaf blazed over, allowing Rasmus Hojlund to punch United’s tickets to the final. He duly obliged and now Erik Ten Hag’s side has the opportunity to secure redemption for last year’s defeat at the hands of their cross-city rivals. There are plenty of betting markets available on the Wembley showpiece and you can see them all on Oddschecker, but the most important is perhaps the tournament winner market, which currently makes United rank 3/1 outsiders and has City as the favourites.

The Red Devils’ last two trips to the FA Cup final have had disappointing outcomes. But what exactly happened?

2023: Manchester City 2-1 Manchester United

Last season, City faced United in the first-ever Manchester derby FA Cup final. The matchup was a huge one for both teams. The Blues were on the hunt to secure just the second-ever treble in the history of English football after their cross-city rivals achieved the feat in 1999, while Ten Hag’s side was doing everything possible to stop them in their tracks.

The game kicked off to a historic start. İlkay Gündoğan broke the record for the fastest ever FA Cup final goal, setting the tone for an exhilarating contest. But United managed to find an equaliser at the half hour mark through Bruno Fernandes. Unfortunately for both him and his team, City found the all-important winner in the 51st minute with their German midfielder netting his second of the game. Ten Hag’s men couldn’t come back from the dead again and so City lifted their second trophy en-route to the treble, which they completed by defeating Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League final.

2018: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United

The 2018 FA Cup final saw Manchester United pitted against Chelsea in a classic showdown. Under the guidance of then-manager José Mourinho, one of their opponent’s greatest ever leaders, the Old Trafford side was looking to end the season on a high note by securing a trophy after finishing second in the Premier League. Antonio Conte’s Blues, however, had won the top flight the previous year and were aiming to lift the FA Cup in what was expected to be the Italian manager’s final game in charge.

The only goal of the match came from a penalty awarded to Chelsea in the first half, which was converted by Eden Hazard. United, despite possessing talented players like Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku, struggled to break down the Blues’ disciplined defensive setup. The Red Devils dominated possession and launched multiple attacks but failed to convert their chances into goals, leaving their London rivals to celebrate under the arch.