With a place in the FA Cup final up for grabs, this clash at Maine Road was a tightly-contested affair - and one that ended in controversy. Liverpool twice took the lead in Manchester, through Terry McDermott and Jimmy Case, but twice Everton fought back; Bruce Rioch and Duncan McKenzie levelling the scores. The match was heading for a draw when Bryan Hamilton netted for the Blues in the dying seconds. Everton fans thought their side had done enough to reach their first Cup final since 1968 but Welsh referee Clive Thomas chalked off the 'goal' for an infringement and the game ended in stalemate. Liverpool went on to win the replay 3-0, only to lose the final to Manchester United.
In the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, the 1989 FA Cup final was always going to be a memorable and emotional day, but the incredible action on the Wembley pitch served to make it even more so for the hoards of travelling Scousers. John Aldridge put Liverpool into the lead after just four minutes and it stayed that way until virtually the last kick of the game when Stuart McCall sparked a delirious Evertonian pitch invasion by poking the ball home. On as a substitute, Ian Rush then restored Liverpool's lead in extra time before McCall again gave the blue half of Merseyside hope with his second equaliser of the day. But, just as in 1986 when he netted twice to down Everton in the first all-Merseyside final, Rush was to have the last laugh, heading what proved to be Liverpool's winner on 104 minutes.
While nowadays playing semi-finals at Wembley is a matter of course in order to help the FA pay for building the new Wembley, it was demand for tickets for the 1991 clash between Spurs and Arsenal that led to a semi being played at the old stadium for the first time. Paul Gascoigne hammered home a tremendous 30-yard free-kick before Gary Lineker doubled Tottenham's lead. Alan Smith scored before half-time, but Lineker's second was enough to see Spurs through to the final – where they would beat Nottingham forest in extra time – and leave Arsenal's hopes of a league and Cup double in tatters.
Just as fan pressure had led to the all-north London semi being moved to Wembley two years previously, so demand for tickets to the Steel City semi saw the clash between United and Wednesday moved from Elland Road. Chris Waddle struck home a free-kick to give Wednesday the lead, but it was cancelled out by Alan Cork. Mark Bright netted the winner in extra time to fire Wednesday through to their second Cup final of the season. That was as good as it got for Wednesday, who lost both the League Cup final a fortnight later and the FA Cup final replay the following month to Arsenal.
This all-London tie – between the previous season's finalists - came just on the cusp of landmark periods in the history of both clubs. Chelsea would be bought by Roman Abramovich just a few months later, while Arsenal would go the whole of next season unbeaten in the league as they claimed the title. John Terry scored first at Highbury as Chelsea secured a 2-2 draw, and the defender opened the scoring again in the replay at Stamford Bridge, only this time into his own net with a quarter of the game gone. Sylvain Wiltord then doubled Arsenal's lead. Terry atoned for his earlier own goal with one at the right end 11 minutes from time after Pascal Cygan had been sent off but, exposed as they went in search of a leveller that would force extra time, Lauren broke down the right and fired home as holders Arsenal beat Chelsea in the Cup for the second year running.
Bringing us bang up to date is this nail-biting clash at the Etihad Stadium which saw City's defence of the trophy end at the first hurdle. United achieved a small measure of revenge for the 6-1 spanking handed to them at Old Trafford three months previously, but not without making life hard for themselves. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring on 10 minutes, and soon afterwards City captain Vincent Kompany was harshly sent off for a lunging tackle on Nani. One goal from Danny Welbeck and another from Rooney had United 3-0 up at half-time, but in the second half they almost contrived to throw it all away. Aleksandar Kolarov whipped in a fantastic free-kick just three minutes after the break to give City hope and Sergio Aguero struck midway through the half, but the 10-men of City were not quite able to salvage a replay. And all this was played out against the backdrop of Paul Scholes coming out of retirement, news of which was broken just an hour or so before kick-off.