It’s the oldest knock-out competition in World Football – and only two teams can make it to the final of the FA Cup. This year it’s going to be a battle between North and South: with Man United taking on Crystal Palace.
So what about the 2016 final – and what about the history of the FA cup?
It is under pressure Utd. manager Louis Van Gaal’s only realistic shot at any silverware this season as they can’t win the Premier League – they’re fighting to even finish in the top four and qualify for next years’ Champions League – and were unceremoniously dumped out of that top flight European Championship by Austrian side Wolfsburg last December.
Meanwhile Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace sit at the lower end of the Premier League table – and battled for a hard fought win to beat Watford in the Semi-final. Heading towards the Final – which takes place on May 21st at Wembley – Crystal Palace were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United – although that was on United’s home turf at Old Trafford. They drew 0-0 earlier in the season when United visited London. Expect the ‘home side’ fans to turn out to support one of our own – Wembley should be buzzing.
The FA Cup kicked off (ahem) in November 1871 with the final taking place on 13 March, as such it’s the world’s oldest national football competition. The inaugural final was held at The Oval (yes, the famous Cricket ground) and was won by London based Wanderers F.C. – a side made up primarily of players who were ex-English Public School.
Statistically London clubs have done quite well in the competition – some of our big names head a number of records and statistics:
Arsenal have won the FA Cup the most times – 12 in all feat they earned by wining the trophy own 2015. They are also one of only two teams – along with Man Utd. – to have completed the ‘double’ (winning both the FA cup and Premier League in the same year) on three occasions. Arsenal are also the first side to have won an FA cup under a roof – when it was played at the Millennium Stadium Cardiff (whilst Wembley was being redeveloped) in the 2003 tie.
Chelsea went unbeaten in the tournament for 29 games from 2008 – 2012 (excluding penalty shoot outs – through which Everton knocked them out in 2011) making it the longest winning streak in the tournaments history. Chelsea skipper John Terry holds the highest number wins as a captain, with 4, achieved in 2012 when Chelsea beat Liverpool. Also in 2012 Didier Drogba hit the back of the net to become the first ever player to score in 4 separate Cup Finals.
The most impressive stat for a player goes to former England defender Ashley Cole – for the most number of wins. The Londoner was part of the wining side for Arsenal in ’02, ’03 & ’05, then with Chelsea in ’07, ’09, ’10 & ’12.
So – who will be victorious at Wembley on 21st May? The form book would suggest it will be the northerners, but we’re definitely rooting for London and Crystal Palace. If you’ve got tickets and will be amongst the 89,000 that will be spectating, we hope you have a fab time and it is an entertaining match.