Football

A Countdown Of The Top 10 FA Cup Finals

Fa Cup final

This Saturday’s FA Cup final clash between Manchester City and Watford possesses all the hallmarks of being another entertaining, David vs Goliath-esq clash. 

We’ve seen more than our fair share of such finals down the years, from Sunderland’s shock upset over Leeds in 1973, to Liverpool’s Micheal Owen-led masterclass of Arsenal in 2001.

And with plenty of betting markets available, you’ll be able to wager on whatever goes down in history this weekend.

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So to prepare you for this weekend’s highly anticipated tie at Wembley, we’re taking you down memory lane for you to immerse yourself in some of the most memorable FA Cup finals of days gone by…

10) Blackpool 4-3 Preston 1953

Famously known as the ‘Matthews Final’, this Wembley showpiece delivered entertainment, drama and controversy, all in the space of 90 minutes.

While Blackpool were 3-1 up in the 55th minute, courtesy of Nat Lofthouse, captain Willie Moir and Eric Bell, they quickly squandered this lead thanks to the efforts of Stanley Matthews – hence the game’s moniker.

Despite the fact that he didn’t score a goal, the famed England winger put in an impressive performance that sealed the victory for his side.

With Stan Mortensen leading the charge, Matthews’ energy, determination and skill inspired his sparring partner to a brace, before Bill Perry scored the 92nd-minute winner that tied up the match for Blackpool.

9) Liverpool 3-2 Everton 1989

A Merseyside derby and FA Cup final all rolled into one? Yes, please.

With such an exciting prospect on offer, there was no surprise that the clash became one of the few extra-time FA Cup final classics to grace the history books.

While Liverpool looked to be on course to lift the trophy, drama ensued in the 89th minute courtesy of substitute Stuart McCall’s equalising goal that took the game into extra time.

The Reds then fought back with a substitute of their own in the form of Ian Rush, however, McCall scored again to make things level once more.

Rush then found the net for the final time – a goal that Everton were unable to respond to, making the final score 3-2 in the favour of the Red half of Merseyside.

8) Liverpool 0 – 1 Wimbledon 1988

Sticking with the theme of Liverpool, what made this final memorable was that they were defeated in one of the greatest upsets of FA Cup final history.

Wimbledon, against all odds, fought their way to the final in that particular year, despite the fact that they were playing non-league football.

Their graft and effort on the pitch was rewarded in the form of a Lawie Sanchez headed goal in the 36th minute. What’s more, they were able to keep the Reds out of the scoring action in the ensuing moments, including a saved penalty from Dave Beasant on John Aldrige, making him the first keeper to do so in an FA Cup final.

Wimbledon celebrated wildly that night, and their fans will always remember the events that unfolded in the 1988 FA Cup final.

7) Coventry City 3 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1987

Much like Wimbledon’s heroics against Liverpool, this particular FA Cup final venture also saw Goliath – Tottenham – trumped by the hands of David – Coventry City.

Given that Coventry had the superior squad, the odds were stacked against them to do the impossible against a Spurs side who had finished third in Division 1 and were firm favourites.

And they did exactly that two minutes into the game. However, the Lillywhites struck twice to take the lead before half-time.

It was an unfortunate deflection that put Coventry ahead, yet the small coast town were not going to let that dampen the victory and celebrated long into the night.

6) Everton 3 – 2 Sheffield Wednesday, 1966

 

Facing a Division two club in Sheffield Wednesday was always going to be a tough game, given the previous results between contrasting league sides.

And Wednesday certainly lived up to the hype by taking the lead four minutes into the game, before doubling their advantage in the 57th minute.

Everton fought back in a simply amazing 15-minute spell where they netted three times to emerge as the deserved winners of the tie.

5) Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United 1979

An FA Cup final that kept fans on the edge of their seats until the very last minute of injury time.

It began with Arsenal in cruise control, leading 2-0 with five minutes left on the clock, and aiming to see the game out without any slip-ups.

Yet United pulled themselves back with two goals in quick succession. Just when it looked like the red devils would pull off a stunning comeback, Alan Sutherland produced the winning goal, ensuring that the North London club were the rightful owners of the FA Cup.

4. Liverpool 2 – 1 Arsenal 2001

Having to play their FA Cup final away from Wembley, the Reds already had a mammoth task to achieve.

Yet despite Arsenal taking the lead via Freddie Ljungberg in the 72nd minute, a goalscoring master-class from a young Micheal Owen was enough to turn the tide in Liverpool’s favour.

The Englishman scored twice in the space of five minutes and earned his side the FA Cup trophy.

3) Arsenal 3-2 Hull 2014

An FA Cup final in the forefront of the memory of today’s youth might not have sounded like it would ingrain itself in FA Cup history, but that’s exactly what happened when Arsenal faced Hull in the 2014 clash at Wembley.

It seemed as if Hull were set to clinch a historic FA Cup trophy after leading by two goals after eight minutes, courtesy of James Chester and Curtis Davies.

Yet Arsenal came roaring back at the Tigers, reducing the total via a brilliant Santi Cazorla free-kick. From there on, Hull had their backs to the wall and couldn’t stop Laurent Koscielny from levelling things up.

The momentum for the Gunners climaxed in extra time, where Aaron Ramsey’s volley broke the hearts of Hull City fans, with the share of the spoils of war claimed by Arsene Wenger’s men.

2) Sunderland 1 – 0 Leeds United 1973

This particular tie will go down in history as one of the greatest FA Cup upsets of the century, given the strength and power of Leeds at the time as one of the best teams in Europe, and arguably the best in England.

They were expected to sweep aside Sunderland with relative ease, but what ensued proved again that nothing is impossible in the FA Cup, and that often big team can be taken apart by underdog sides.

Indeed in this clash, a 31st-minute goal from Ian Porterfield was enough to seal a famous win – one that older fans of the Black Cats won’t forget in a hurry.

1) Liverpool 3 – 3 West Ham United, 2006 (Liverpool won 3-1 on penalties)

The mother of all FA Cup finals featured a Liverpool side who had clinched their fifth Champions League trophy a year earlier, facing a West Ham side who were the obvious underdogs.

And yet, the Hammers didn’t let this bring them down, and instead forced the Reds into mistakes that saw them capitulate their lead.

Yet games like these, featuring sides like these always have a special player who rises from within the ranks to save that day, and on this day in 2006, it was Steven Gerrard, captain of Liverpool to do so.

The Merseysider ran onto the ball 30 yards away from goal, with barely two minutes left on the clock, executing a shot of the highest calibre that evaded the keeper’s reach, tieing the game at three all.

Though extra time and penalties beckoned, Liverpool channelled the same spirit that led them to their famous Champions League final win over AC Milan in Istanbul, deservedly winning the game.

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