The Ten Best FA Cup Final Games Of All Time

By Ian John
April 4, 2022

Across Saturday and Sunday this weekend, we take a break from the usual Premier League action and instead our main focus will be on the quarter finals of the FA Cup.

Eight teams remain in the competition, and all are just one further win away from a date at Wembley for one of the two semi-finals that will take place in April.

The two winners of the semis then will return to Wembley in May to compete for the most famous knockout cup trophy in football and one that was last won last year at Wembley by Leicester City, who defeated Chelsea in the final.

Bet365 Sport has plenty of great betting to enjoy across the four semifinals this weekend, with the games to watch out for being:

  • Middlesbrough v Chelsea (5.15pm – Saturday)
  • Crystal Palace v Everton (12.30pm – Sunday)
  • Southampton v Manchester City (3.00pm – Sunday)
  • Nottingham Forest v Liverpool (6.00pm – Sunday)

So remember to tune in for a bet if you would like to on these games.



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And with this weekend’s main focus being the FA Cup, we are now going to go back to our Best Of series of articles and give you the Ten Best FA Cup Final games of all time, with a little more information about why these games rank in the top ten.

The Ten Best FA Cup Finals Of All Time


For many years, the FA Cup Final was the pinnacle of cup football around the world. Over the years, its prestige may have dimmed for the money-hungry clubs who dominate in the Champions League every year, but for purists, the prospect of an FA Cup Final win is still very much something to aspire to achieve.

Over the years we have seen some incredible final matches (and a fair few awful ones too) and with that in mind, we have come up with our top ten FA Cup Finals. Please note, where the game has gone to a replay, we have included this as a single entry in this list (not as two separate games).

10. 1976 – Southampton 1-0 Manchester United

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The 1976 final pitted then second division Southampton against the favourites Manchester United, who had finished third in the First Division that season. However, an experienced Southampton side which featured the likes of Peter Osgood, Jim McCalliog and Mick Channon managed to keep United in check.

Then in the 83rd minute, a hopefull ball forward was reached by Bobby Stokes whose left foot finish beat Alex Stepney and gave Southampton their first major trophy.

9. 1983 – Man Utd 2-2 Brighton, Man Utd 4-0 Brighton

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The first game in this couple of games was an absolute cracker as Brighton, who had been relegated from Division 1, took the lead early on through Gordon Smith. A lead that they held to half time. United though struck back in the second half through Frank Stapleton and a beautiful curling shot from Ray Wilkins handing them the lead. However, Gary Stevens strike from a corner on the 87th minute forced extra time.

Right at the end of extra time, Brighton broke up field and Michael Robinson squared the ball to Gordon Smith on the edge of the six-yard box with only Gary Bailey to beat. Commentator Peter Jones famously stated “And Smith must score…” only for the Brighton striker to shoot tamely at the keeper.

That miss would be Brighton’s best chance of victory as in the replay United were rampant winning 4-0 thanks to two goals from Bryan Robson and strikes from Norman Whiteside and Arnold Muhren.

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8. 2013 – Wigan Athletic 1-0 Manchester City

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2013 was a mixed year for Wigan Athletic, the club were relegated from the Premier League but had their day in the spotlight at the FA Cup Final against Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City. City, who had won the Premier League in 2012, were the huge favourites but in a tight game, they saw Pablo Zabaleta sent off in the second half.

Wigan managed to force a corner in injury time from which midfielder Ben Watson managed to get his head on the ball and divert it past Joe Hart to hand the Lancashire side their first major trophy.

7. 1966 – Everton 3-2 Sheffield Wednesday

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With Liverpool winning the league in 1966, their neighbours Everton needed to respond and they had a chance to do that at Wembley against Sheffield Wednesday.

However, it was the Owls who went in front early on through Jim McCalliog and then early in the second half, David Ford made it 2-0 to Wednesday as Everton’s hopes of lifting the cup started to diminish.

However, Mike Trebilcock produced a two-goal salvo in the space of five minutes to bring Everton level and then ten minutes later Derek Temple scored the winner to bring Everton back from the dead and ensure that both pieces of silverware ended up on Merseyside.

6. 2019 – Manchester City 6-0 Watford

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Not since Bury had beaten Derby by the same scoreline in 1903, had any team won an FA Cup Final 6-0 and certainly, this won’t be a final remembered by Watford fans, but it is a great example of just how clinical and deadly Manchester City were on the day. City had 23 shots, 12 finding the target half of which ended up in the back of the net.

Watford had no answer as goals from David Silva and Gabriel Jesus put City 2-0 in front at the half and second half goals including another for Gabriel Jesus, one for Kevin De Bruyne and two for Raheem Sterling handed City the cup in the most emphatic and one-sided final of the past 100 years.

5. 1987 – Coventry City 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur

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Arguably, the first of five truly brilliant and dramatic finals came in 1987 between Coventry City and Tottenham. The Londoners began like a train and took the lead on two minutes when Clive Allen glanced home Chris Waddle’s cross. However, Coventry struck back a short time later when winger Dave Bennett converted to level the score.

Just before half time, Gary Mabbutt put the firm favourites to win in front again but it would not be the last time Mabbut’s name would appear on the scoresheet.

In the second half, Spurs had the better of things but Coventry always remained in the game and in the 63rd minute Bennett crossed for Keith Houchen to plant a fantastic diving header into the corner of the net to bring Coventry level.

Extra time followed and six minutes into the game, Lloyd McGrath attempted a cross into the box, the ball deflected off the unfortunate Mabbutt, over the head of Clemence and into the net to hand Coventry the lead which they would hold on to and with it claimed their first ever FA Cup Final win.

4. 1979 – Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United

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For 86 minutes, this game looked like being a very straightforward victory for Arsenal. In the 12th minute, Alan Sunderland and Brian Talbot both went for a cross from Graham Rix, both seemingly getting their foot to the ball to score, although the goal was given in the end to Talbot.

Then just before half time, Frank Stapleton headed home Liam Brady’s cross to put Arsenal 2-0 up. Despite pressing in the second half, United couldn’t get back into the game and as time wore on, it seemed Arsenal would land the win.

Then on the 86th minute the real drama started. First Gordon McQueen turned home a shot from a corner to pull one back and barely two minutes later, United were level as Sammy McIlroy somehow bundled his way through to score past Pat Jennings and hand United a lifeline.

However, from the kick off Arsenal came forward, Brady fed Graham Rix wide left and Rix’s cross found Alan Sunderland at the back post who stretched and turned the ball home past Bailey to snatch victory for Arsenal.

3. 1982 – Tottenham 1-1 Manchester City, Tottenham 3-2 Manchester City

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Two fantastic games of football saw Spurs win the 1982 FA Cup. The first game began well for City and on the half hour mark, veteran midfielder Tommy Hutchison scored a fantastic header to put City in front.

They held the lead until 11 minutes from time when a Glenn Hoddle free kick was only part deflected by Hutchison past his own keeper and into the net, allowing Spurs to equalise. With no more goals in extra time, the game would go to a replay.

The replay started with a bang as on 8 minutes, Ricky Villa, who had been substituted and was inconsolable afterwards in the first game, put Spurs ahead, only for City to pull level with a stunning volley from Steve MacKenzie on 11 minutes.

In the second half, Kevin Reeves converted a penalty to put City back in front but 20 minutes later, Garth Crooks pulled Spurs level.

However, the grand finale and perhaps the best goal in FA Cup Final history clinched the game for Spurs when Ricky Villa’s mazy dribble saw him beat four City players and tuck the ball home past Joe Corrigan to claim the win for Tottenham.

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2. 2006 – Liverpool 3-3 West Ham (Liverpool win 3-1 on penalties)

The 2006 final has become known as “The Gerrard Final” for the influence that the Liverpool star had on dragging his team to victory. Things began poorly for the Reds as West Ham went into a 2-0 lead inside the first half hour. A Jamie Carragher own goal and Dean Ashton putting the Hammers into dreamland.

Djibril Cisse however pulled one back straight after and ensured that the Reds were just one-goal down at half time.

In the second half, Gerard crashed home a stunning shot from a Cisse knock down to bring the game level, but ten minutes later, a mishit cross from Paul Konchesky flew over Pepe Reina and into the net.

West Ham held on to the advantage until very late in injury time when Liverpool pressed, West Ham cleared the ball from a cross and a tired Gerrard reached it and crashed home an incredible 30-yard screamer into the bottom corner of the net to bring Liverpool level right at the death.

With no goals in extra time, Liverpool scored three of their four penalties, Gerrard netting the crucial third, with West Ham scoring just the one as the Reds clinched another dramatic cup final win.

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1. 1953 – Blackpool 4-3 Bolton Wanderers

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For me, there is no doubt that the 1953 final, the Matthews Final, remains the best ever FA Cup Final to this day. A strong Bolton Wanderers team, led by Nat Lofthouse, took a 2-0 lead in the first half against Blackpool, although Stan Mortensen pulled one back for Blackpool before half time.

However, when Bolton made it 3-1 early in the second half, it looked like they’d be winning the trophy. Enter Stanley Matthews who was an inspiration down the wing as he played a key role in Mortensen pulling another goal back and then with just one-minute remaining Matthews once again set up Mortensen for a hat-trick and the goal to bring the game level.

However, Matthews wasn’t finished. In an incredible end to the game, he once again got to the byeline and pulled the ball back for Bill Perry to score and win the cup for Blackpool.

Alongside Steven Gerrard’s performance for Liverpool, Matthews performance remains as the best by an individual player in an FA Cup Final.

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