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Coventry City
FA Cup | Semi-Finals
Apr 21, 2024 at 3.30pm UK
The Coventry Building Society Arena
Manchester United logo

Coventry
3 - 3
Man Utd

Simms (71'), O'Hare (79'), Wright (90+5' pen.)
Thomas (82'), Dasilva (111'), Collins (127')
FT
(aet)
McTominay (23'), Maguire (45+1'), Fernandes (58')
Onana (85'), Onana (126')
Man Utd win 4-2 on penalties

Preview: Coventry City vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's FA Cup clash between Coventry City and Manchester United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Championship versus Premier League is on the Wembley menu for Sunday's fascinating FA Cup semi-final, which sees Coventry City and Manchester United square off for the right to advance to the showpiece.

Both final-four competitors advanced courtesy of astonishing quarter-final victories, as the second-tier outfit eliminated Wolverhampton Wanderers, while the Red Devils extinguished Liverpool's quadruple hopes in extra time.


Match preview

Coventry City celebrate a last-gasp winner against Wolverhampton Wanderers on March 16, 2024.© Reuters

Mark Robins inexcusably celebrating in the face of a Molineux ball boy may have soured the moment somewhat, but Coventry's travelling fans were within their rights to explode into unrestrained bedlam on March 16, where Ellis Simms and Haji Wright punched the Sky Blues' ticket to Wembley.

The former's first goal would seemingly prove inconsequential as Rayan Ait-Nouri and Hugo Bueno found the mark in the final 10 minutes, but Simms restored parity in the seventh minute of added time before Wright's unbelievable winner with no fewer than 100 minutes on the board.

By shattering Wolves hearts in the most dramatic circumstances, the Championship outfit will now compete in just their second FA Cup semi-final - their only previous last-four encounter in 1986-87 saw them sink Leeds United before triumph over Tottenham Hotspur in the final.

Coventry do not return to Wembley with the wind in their sails, though, having suffered three defeats from their last four games in the Championship - including each of their last two to Southampton (2-1) and relegation-threatened Birmingham City (3-0) - the latter result caused particular alarm.

Now rank outsiders for a playoff place - sitting eighth in the second-tier standings and eight points behind sixth-placed Norwich City, albeit with a game in hand - FA Cup glory would be a huge saving grace for Robins and co, but even if they manage to slay the Red Devils, either Manchester City or Chelsea will stand in their way of supremacy.

Manchester United's Antony celebrates scoring their second goal with Amad Diallo on March 17, 2024© Reuters

The clock had also ticked into the three figures by the time that Man United's epic quarter-final with Liverpool was settled, as when John Brooks's whistle sounded to signal the end of the 90, nothing could separate the two titans of the English game at two goals apiece.

Further strikes from Harvey Elliott and Marcus Rashford saw penalties loom, but with mere minutes remaining before the dreaded 12-yard shootout, the seldom-seen Amad Diallo - then sent off for taking off his shirt while already on a booking - conjured up the magical moment to send the Red Devils to Wembley yet again.

As the watchful eye of Sir Jim Ratcliffe remains fixed on Erik ten Hag, the Dutchman will earn serious credit in the bank by leading Man United - the 2022-23 EFL Cup winners - to a second domestic honour in as many seasons, but the seven-goal spectacular of Liverpool remains the Red Devils' most recent triumph.

Indeed, Ten Hag's troops have since gone winless in four straight Premier League games - drawing with Bournemouth, Liverpool and Brentford either side of a taste-of-their-own-medicine 4-3 loss to Chelsea - but as will no doubt be repeated countless times over the weekend, form goes out of the window at Wembley.

Victory over Coventry would see Man United - 12-time winners of the tournament - set a new outright record of reaching 22 finals, but the Sky Blues have previous when it comes to stunning the Red Devils in knockout circumstances; their most recent clash in the 2007-08 EFL Cup saw Coventry stun Old Trafford by two goals to nil.

Coventry City FA Cup form:


Coventry City form (all competitions):


Manchester United FA Cup form:


Manchester United form (all competitions):


Team News

Manchester United's Antony on January 28, 2024© Reuters

During Coventry's wild injury-time celebrations at Molineux, midfielder Kasey Palmer - who had been substituted earlier in the match - picked up a last-gasp yellow card for encroaching onto the field, his second of the tournament and one which rules him out of the trip to Wembley through suspension.

The absence of Palmer is a particularly big blow for the Sky Blues - the playmaker has contributed two goals and four assists from five FA Cup games in 2023-24 - but Callum O'Hare has three knockout strikes of his own and will be a competent replacement.

Jamie Allen (cheekbone) and Tatsuhiro Sakamoto (back) are Coventry's only two injury concerns for the semi-final, but Robins axed Bobby Thomas, Victor Torp and Jake Bidwell at half time in the beatdown at Birmingham; all three have therefore seen their chances of Wembley starts diminish.

While Palmer takes his place on the Wembley naughty step, Diallo has already served his ban in Premier League action, but the Red Devils are still dealing with an injury crisis - particularly in defence - ahead of Sunday's tantalising battle.

Anthony Martial (groin), Tyrell Malacia (knee), Luke Shaw (thigh), Victor Lindelof (thigh), Lisandro Martinez (calf), Jonny Evans (muscle) and Raphael Varane (muscle) are definitely out, and the Red Devils are also said to have lost Sofyan Amrabat, Willy Kambwala and Mason Mount too, leaving Ten Hag with just one senior centre-back in Harry Maguire.

Scott McTominay (knee) and Antony (muscle) - both of whom also netted in the quarter-final beating of Liverpool - are winning their battles to be fit too, and the former could start in midfield if Casemiro is needed in defence, but the latter would be expected to lose out to Alejandro Garnacho and Marcus Rashford for starts on the wing anyway.


Coventry City possible starting lineup:
Collins; Latibeaudiere, Thomas, Kitching, Dasilva; Sheaf, Eccles; Van Ewijk, O'Hare, Wright; Simms

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
Onana; Dalot, Casemiro, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka; McTominay, Mainoo; Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford; Hojlund


SM words green background

We say: Coventry City 1-3 Manchester United

As much as Man United's ravaged defence and frequent concession of shots should provide Coventry with confidence, Robins's men are faltering at the worst possible time and will rue the absence of prolific playmaker Palmer.

A consolation goal is not beyond the realm of possibility, given how many attempts opposition teams carve out against Ten Hag's men, but the Sky Blues' own backline will likely be overwhelmed as the Red Devils reach the final for the second year running.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


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Data Pass: [t, fa-cup, odds, 3737110]

How you voted: Coventry vs Man Utd

Coventry City
21.0%
Draw
4.7%
Manchester United
74.3%
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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag applauds fans after the match on February 24, 2024
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