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The two clubs also met at the semi-final stage that year, with a nail-biting two-legged affair going to a penalty shoot-out. Left-back in that fondly-remembered side was Andy Hinchcliffe, who has some clear memories of the tie.
"By the time we got to the quarter final, word had got around among the players as to what the other teams were like, as I'm sure it does today. We knew that Arsenal were a very good side as well from their results, and we wondered whether Arsenal-City would be the final.
"We drew them in the semi-final, and of all the games including the final against United, it was the best game we had and the closest as well. We lost 1-0 at Highbury, which was our first defeat for a long time, which knocked us and made us realise what a good team Arsenal were.
"It was a tough game at Maine Road, we beat them 2-1 and it went to penalties. It was 5-4 in our favour on penalties, and I got one - I think Ian Scott got the winner. It really was down to the wire, and they would have won the competition if they had gone through.
"They had Michael Thomas and Paul Merson in that side, but we had a few who went on to our frst team, like Paul Lake, David White and Ian Brightwell. The City fans really got behind that youth side and it was a fantastic night at Maine Road, but it was a very close call."
This year's talented City crop play at the City of Manchester Stadium for the third consecutive cup game tonight, and the experience of playing in front of big crowds is one that Andy says can only help the lads, both in the short and long term.
"Playing in front of big crowds can only be a good thing. In the final at Maine Road there were 22,000 there, and after that I was never too worried about playing in front of big crowds because of it.
"Our coaches were Tony Book and Glyn Pardoe, and they were old pros and they gave us a good grounding, but the game has changed now. I know that Jim Cassell and his team work very hard on the mental approach to the game, and I think the lads now are a lot further down the line mentally than we were back then."