Over the years, the biggest game in English football has provided some stellar moments and glorious goals. None more glorious than these five.
2002: Ray Parlour, Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea
What a gem of a curler from the Romford Pele.
The much loved and largely under rated midfielder only ever plundered 22 goals in his 400 plus appearances for club and country during his career. But, when one of those is goal as good as this in the biggest game of your life, who’s counting?
Parlour, who was capped 12 times by England, opened the scoring in the 2002 final for Arsenal against Chelsea at Cardiff with a beautiful right-footed strike from more than 20 yards in the 70th minute.
Freddie Ljungberg added a second 10 minutes later to bank a 2-0 win for The Gunners as they wrapped up the double.
1974: Kevin Keegan, Liverpool 3-0 Newcastle United
The 1974 Cup final was the game that truly launched Keegan into a Liverpool legend and an international superstar.
The £33,000 signing from Doncaster had signed for Bill Shankly’s men three years earlier and scored a brace that day against the side he would one day later manage.
The best of his two, which opened the scoring, was a turning volley shot from Tommy Smith’s cross that fizzed into the roof of the net that Toon goalie Willie McFaul couldn’t keep out despite getting a hand to.
Steve Heighway adding a second in the 74th minute in what would be Shankly’s last official game in charge of The Reds.
1971 Charlie George, Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
Three years earlier, Liverpool did not enjoy their trip south to London.
The reason? An outstanding 20 yard thunderbolt which defeated Shankly’s Liverpool and won the double for Arsenal.
The perpetrator? Charlie George.
Arsenal, who had just won the First Division, headed into a scorching hot 1971 FA Cup Final against Liverpool in a game where neither team could break the deadlock.
With the game 0-0 after 90 minutes, the match went into a power sapping extra time in which Steve Heighway opened the scoring for Liverpool before Eddie Kelly equalised for Arsenal.
With 111 minutes on the clock, and the match at 1-1, Charlie George picked up the ball 20 yards from the Liverpool goal and struck the ball beautifully with his right foot, watching it fly past Ray Clemence before lying flat on his back in one of the all-time iconic FA Cup moments.
1981: Ricky Villa, Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 Manchester City
For years, this was the goal that was considered to be the best FA Cup final goal of all time.
Ricky Villa’s mazy dribble and composed finish will forever be remembered, not least because Villa was a defender and this wasn’t, no isn’t, the kind of goal that defenders are supposed to score.
Spurs’ legendary Argentinian though was one for ripping up the rule book as this goal, which has gone down in FA Cup final folklore, proves.
The only replay – they did that back then – on our list, this final was played five days after an initial 1-1 draw on a Thursday night under the Wembley lights.
Villa took just 8 minutes to open the scoring before City established a 2-1 lead with goals from Steve Mackenzie and Kevin Reeves. Garth Crooks levelled for Spurs before Villa picked up the ball 35 yards from goal.
The Argentine weaved his way past a quartet of City defenders before slotting the ball home past Joe Corrigan in the City goal for what would prove to be the winner as Spurs won the Cup for a sixth time.
This goal would go on to win Goal of the Century in 2001, four years before….
2006: Steven Gerrard, Liverpool 3-3 West Ham United
In the last FA Cup Final to be held at Cardiff, Liverpool (who won also won the first) were heading for a defeat at the hands of a superior West Ham as a shock looked on the cards.
However, just as he had 12 months previously in Liverpool’s dramatic Champions League triumph over AC Milan, Steven Gerrard decided he wasn’t going to lose and took matters into his own hands.
Just when his team needed him, up popped Stevie with two goals to force an epic cup final into extra time.
The Hammers had raced into a 2-0 lead before Djibril Cisse and Gerrard hit back for the Reds.
A weird Paul Konchesky cross cum strike looked for all the world to win the Cup for the East Londoners before Gerrard, whose legs were filled with cramp, hit an astonishing 35 yard strike with 90 minutes on the clock to deny West Ham a memorable Cup final victory.
Somehow, the Scouser managed to dig out the power to beat Shaka Hislop to send the game to extra time and eventually penalties where Gerrard also converted one of his side’s three as Liverpool went on to lift the FA Cup for a seventh time.
The 2006 final was later dubbed the Steven Gerrard Final.