Arsenal - we haven't forgotten 1930...
City's biggest games (before last season) involved the Arsenal and the FA Cup, every member of the Tiger Nation knows the score.
In the cup run of that year, City had overcome some difficult ties to reach the semi final, seeing off Newcastle in an epic game. Their reward was a plum tie against Arsenal, a team that was starting to come together under manager Herbert Chapman.
The Arsenal had all the big names and were expected to have an easy time against a City side that was struggling to match its Cup form with league results, but it was City that opened the scoring with Jimmy Howieson making a deft chip over the Arsenal keeper's head after a poor goal kick. It was 2-0 after 30 minutes as Dally Duncan's powerful shot was defelected into his own net by Arsenal's Eddie Hapgood, was a shock on the cards?
After the restart it was clear that Arsenal had decided to up the game and in a bruising second period, their greater physical effort (and tackles) left City struggling to keep them out. On 66 minutes Davy Jack scored and City knew that their passage to Wembley was looking very rocky.
City were increasingly handicapped by on field injuries, Mills and Walsh being the worst affected and on 75 minutes, it told as Cliff Bastin put away the equaliser. City managed to hold on for the replay but it was clear that it would be a much harder game.
City had to make enforced changes for the return at Villa Park but were making a good fight of it up to halftime and beyond, being just a goal behind after 11 minutes through Jack. Early in the second half though, a decision from the referee killed off the game as a meaningful contest as Arthur Childs became the first man to be sent off in an FA Cup semi-final, for allegedly 'aiming a kick at Jack Lambert'. It appears that only the referee saw the challenge in this light, nobody else in the ground did and Childs had to go. Even then, there were mutterings of favouritism towards the big club, but in the end it made no difference, City had lost, so close and yet so far.
Arsenal went on to win the Cup and thus started a run of success of one of the biggest clubs around. However it has been suggested that if they'd lost to City, history could have been so different.
In the end, City were relegated that season, with just the memories of an amazing Cup run to bring them comfort during the summer.