In an unexpected turn of events this year, Leicester beat Chelsea in the FA cup finals hosted at the Wembley Stadium earlier in May. The four-time runners-up managed to secure their first Emirates FA Cup title, edging Chelsea 1-0 in the game.
This season, the competition is still delivering incredible soccer action, with leading bookies welcoming FA cup bets on all the games. As such, fans also expect another memorable FA cup final this season to add to all the magical moments that this competition has delivered in the last two decades. Here are the top 5 most memorable FA cup finals in the last 20 years.
Liverpool vs West Ham United (3-3), 2006
Hosted at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, the 2006 FA Cup final was called the Gerrard Final for good reasons. Liverpool was participating in their 13th FA final, while West Ham was appearing for their fifth time.
After scoring a cracking volley to equalise the game at 2-2, Liverpool conceded another goal two minutes to injury time and left his team staring at defeat. West was ahead at 3-2 and with only a few seconds remaining in the game. However, the hammers defense half-cleared John-Arne’s cross, and it fell 30 yards out to England Midfielder Gerrard, who sent it screaming past Shaka Hislop. What made Gerrard’s strike remarkable was that the midfielder was laid on Cardiff’s turf only a few minutes earlier and suffering from cramp. However, his determination enabled him to drag himself up and haul Liverpool into extra time.
Arsenal vs Hull City (3-2), 2014
In 2014, Arsenal managed to snatch victory while staring at defeat, winning their 11th FA Cup. To claim the victory, the gunners beat Hull City 3-2 in the enthralling encounter at the Wembley Stadium to end their 3,283-days dry spell since they had previously lifted the silverware.
The Tigers made their intentions known eight minutes into the game using the defensive duo of Curtis Davies and James Chester, as Steve Bruce’s team seemed ready to extend Arsenal’s nine-year wait. However, Santi Cazorla had different ideas, as he scored a scrumptious free-kick ahead of the break. Laurent Koscielny later equalised in the second half, pushing the game to extra time. Thankfully, Ramsey put in the winning goal to complete the comeback for Arsenal.
Wigan Athletic vs Manchester City (1-0), 2013
Arguably the biggest upset in the FA cup final in history, this was the first time that the Latics lifted the silverware in their 81-year history. Roberto Martinez’s team produced a great attacking performance and they managed to get the well-deserved win against strong pre-match favorites, Manchester City.
Substitute Ben Watson, who missed most of the season after he broke his leg, sent Wigan Athletic’s fans into ecstasy following a near-post header from a corner from Shaun Maloney. Watson’s goal was a great reward for Wigan, whose intensity and drive were sharp compared to the lacklustre performance displayed by Manchester City.
Manchester City’s loss marked the end of a miserable day for coach Roberto Mancini, as the results cost him a job as the manager. The game was also more of a fairytale as Watson hadn’t played many games during the season.
Arsenal vs Chelsea (2-1), 2017
Arsene Wenger managed to secure his 7th FA Cup trophy as the Gunners produced an incredible performance to win the Wembley thriller against Chelsea. Alexis Sanchez gave the Gunners the lead in a contentious fashion in the first four minutes, when the referee overruled his assistant who had flagged Aaron Ramsey offside.
The EPL champions had a hard time with Sanchez scoring early in the game and their quest became even harder after Victor Moses was sent off in the second half. Fortunately, Diego Costa helped to revive Chelsea’s hopes of getting the FA cup and the EPL in the same year as they had achieved in 2010.
Arsenal, who remained outstanding throughout the match, refused to be denied the victory and they scored the winning goal three minutes later. Ramsey recorded the winning goal in the 79th minute, marking a similar performance as he did in 2014 in the FA cup final against Hull City.
Crystal Palace vs Manchester United (1-2), 2016
The Red Devils came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in the 2016 FA Cup finals at Wembley Stadium thanks to Jesse Lingard’s extra-time strike. Fans easily forgot the tense first hour when Jason Puncheon recorded the first goal for the Eagles, sending coach Alan Pardew into party mode. However, Juan Mata’s equaliser plus Lingard’s emphatic winner allowed United coach Louis Van Gaal to start celebrating.
Manchester United seemed to be on track for another season empty-handed and missed the Champions League after Jason Puncheon put Crystal Palace ahead. Fortunately, captain Wayne Rooney led the 10-man team to avoid further embarrassment post Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure.