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Seasons when we drew clubs in domestic cup competitions twice

Wednesday night saw us given a daunting trip to Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals. It sums up our season that we have drawn Pep Guardiola's side in both domestic competitions, although we did beat them 1-0 in the Carabao Cup third round at St James' Park. Anyway, let's have a look at the other times we've drawn a club in domestic competitions twice in a season.


The first time this happened came in the 1975/76 season, when we drew Queens Park Rangers in the EFL Cup fourth round and the FA Cup third round. The West London outfit finished just one point behind champions Liverpool in the First Division that season but on both occasions, we came out on top. The EFL Cup tie at Loftus Road saw Mick Leach give the hosts the lead after nine minutes but Mickey Burns equalised a minute later before Malcolm MacDonald put us in front after 15 minutes and Geoff Nulty netted in the 88th minute to seal a 3-1 win as we went on to reach the final. We drew them away again in the FA Cup, this time, it was a 0-0 draw, resulting in a replay on Tyneside four days later. Alan Gowling gave us the lead after 14 minutes before Don Masson equalised after half-time but a Tommy Craig penalty gave us a 2-1 win.


There are some similarities between this season and the 1994/95 season - a first European campaign for over a decade (with an exit that was hard to take), a much harder league campaign than the previous season with the extra games and drawing both Manchester clubs in the EFL Cup and then City again in the FA Cup (plus knocking Blackburn Rovers out at Ewood Park). After beating Manchester United 2-0 in the Coca-Cola Cup third round, we travelled to Maine Road to take on Manchester City in the fourth round and Mike Jeffrey gave us the lead after 11 minutes, only for Uwe Rösler's equaliser to take the tie to a replay three weeks later. The German netted again to give Brian Horton's side the lead at St James' Park before Paul Walsh made it 2-0 as the Citizens came out on top and reached the quarter-finals.

We drew them again in the FA Cup fifth round and Keith Gillespie, who had joined us from Manchester United the previous month, opened the scoring after 18 minutes. Rösler netted yet another goal against us to make it 1-1 but John Beresford put us back in front before half-time. Gillespie scored again in the second half to make it 3-1 as it was us reaching the quarter-finals of a cup competition this time.


Blackburn Rovers are a common club for us to get in cup competitions and like Manchester City four years previously, we drew them in both the EFL Cup fourth round and FA Cup fifth round with us losing the EFL Cup tie but coming out on top in the FA Cup. Alan Shearer's early header gave us the lead against his former club in the Worthington Cup but Tim Sherwood netted from a Jeff Kenna cross to equalise for Roy Hodgson's side and the game went all the way to penalties, where Rovers came out on top as Dietmar Hamann and Aaron Hughes failed to score their kicks.

As for the FA Cup tie, we were held to a 0-0 draw at St James' Park, meaning that we had to travel to Ewood Park for a replay for a second time in five seasons. We did beat them 2-1 in a third round replay in January 1995 and once again, we narrowly came out on top with Louis Saha netting the only goal of the tie in the 37th minute as went on to reach the final.


Another common club for us to get in cup competitions is Chelsea and like Manchester City in 1994/95 and Blackburn Rovers in 1998/99, we faced them in both the EFL Cup fourth round and FA Cup fifth round with us losing the first tie but winning the second one. José Mourinho's side came into the Carling Cup tie top of the league with six wins in a row in all competitions and they made it seven in a row thanks to extra-time goals from Eiður Guðjohnsen and Arjen Robben as they went on to win the competition (their first of 18 major trophies during Roman Abramovich's tenure).

When they came back up to St James' Park in the FA Cup three months later, Patrick Kluivert's fourth minute header (only the second goal they'd conceded in twelve games) was enough to send us through to the quarter-finals and end their hopes of an unprecedented quadruple whilst footage from the FA Cup tie was also used in the Goal film, that was released in September 2005. Additionally, we also played Sporting CP in both the UEFA Cup group stage and the quarter-finals that season with Craig Bellamy and Custódio scoring headers in a 1-1 draw at St James' Park in the last round of group games before the Portuguese outfit came from 2-0 down to beat us 4-2 on aggregate in the quarter-finals despite Alan Shearer's header giving us a 1-0 win in first leg on Tyneside.


We all know we didn't do so well in cup competitions during Mike Ashley's tenure and the first season since his takeover saw us beaten by Arsenal at the second hurdle in both cup competitions. The Carling Cup third round tie saw late goals from Nicklas Bendtner and Denílson give Arsène Wenger's side a 2-0 win and the FA Cup fourth round tie would be the first of two 3-0 losses at the Emirates in the space of four days. Once again, we got to half-time without conceding but Emmanuel Adebayor's brace made it 2-0 before a late Nicky Butt own goal wrapped up the win for the hosts.


I did mention that Blackburn Rovers were a common club for us to be drawn against in cup competitions and the 2011/12 season saw us draw them in both cup competitions for a second time. Like the 1998/99 season, they knocked us out of the EFL Cup in the fourth round (with the scores level after 90 minutes) but we beat them in the FA Cup. Rubén Rochina gave Steve Kean's side an early lead in the Carling Cup tie before a second half penalty from Yakubu doubled their lead but late strikes from Danny Guthrie and Yohan Cabaye took the game to extra time. Morten Gamst Pedersen's deflected free kick put the hosts back in front before a Peter Løvenkrands penalty made it 3-3 but a Gaël Givet header sealed a 4-3 win for Rovers and condemned us to our first competitive defeat in 15 games (stretching back to May 2011).

Shortly before Blackburn made the trip to Tyneside in the FA Cup third round, Demba Ba (who scored a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over them in the league) and Cheick Tioté both departed for the Africa Cup of Nations and David Goodwillie gave the visitors a surprise first half lead. Hatem Ben Arfa went on an unbelievable run before equalising with a goal that would be nominated for the 2012 Puskás Award before Jonás Gutiérrez chipped the ball over Mark Bunn in the 94th minute to give us a 2-1 win.

So in the six seasons where we've drawn clubs in domestic cup competitions twice, we've got through six of the twelve ties that I have mentioned and with us getting Manchester City for a second time this season, that is now seven out of thirteen ties where we have been successful in getting through. If we can somehow get past last season's treble winners and reach our first FA Cup semi-final since 2005, we could end up with another tie against our either of our other two opponents from this season's Carabao Cup with Manchester United and Chelsea also still in the competition.



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