The 5 Best FA Cup Finals of the 21st Century


Arsenal’s astonishing comeback to beat Hull City and win the FA Cup on Saturday has got the football world talking, with the Gunners winning an absorbing game 3-2 in extra-time thanks to Aaron Ramsey’s winning goal.

But where does the contest rank in the best finals of this century? Here’s our top five:

 

5. Chelsea 2 Everton 1, 2009

On a boiling hot day at Wembley, Everton’s Louis Saha heated up the FA Cup final with the fastest goal in the history of the showpiece event just 25 seconds in – breaking a 114-year record as he did so.

Didier Drogba soon headed Chelsea level though, and Frank Lampard won Guus Hiddink’s side the trophy with a left foot strike from distance 18 minutes from time. There was still enough time for some goalline controversy, as Florent Malouda saw his shot hit the bar and cross the line, only for it not to be given.

 

4. Manchester City 0 Wigan 1, 2013

The greatest shock in modern cup final history? It’s hard to think of any greater.

Wigan stood up to Manchester City’s millionaires throughout the afternoon at Wembley, eventually earning a one-man advantage when Pablo Zabaleta was sent off, and then remarkably winning the game in stoppage time when Ben Watson headed home a corner to spark delirious celebrations.

 

3. Arsenal 1 Liverpool 2, 2001

They are still trying to work out how Arsenal didn’t win this one in North London.

Liverpool survived a barrage of Gunners attacks throughout the 90 minutes at the Millennium Stadium, with defender Stephane Henchoz infamously getting away with a couple of handball incidents.

Freddie Ljungberg finally gave Arsenal the lead 18 minutes from time, only for two top quality strikes in the final seven minutes from Michael Owen – 2001’s European Footballer of the Year – to dramatically win the trophy for the Reds.

 

2. Arsenal 3 Hull City 2 after extra-time, 2014

We could scarcely believe what we were seeing as goals from James Chester and Curtis Davies in the opening eight minutes but underdogs Hull ahead, although the stunning free-kick scored by Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla always had the feeling of a hugely important goal.

Laurent Koscielny levelled for Arsenal 19 minutes from time, and with Hull now out on their feet and praying for penalties, Aaron Ramsey delivered the winner for the Gunners 11 minutes from the end of extra-time, as a first Arsenal trophy for nine years was secured.

 

1. Liverpool 3 West Ham United 3 – Liverpool win 3-2 on penalties, 2006

For a more dramatic game though, we go back to 2006, Cardiff and a stunning individual display.

Like Hull, West Ham raced into a 2-0 lead against Liverpool thanks to a Jamie Carragher own goal and Dean Ashton’s strike, only for Steven Gerrard to drag Liverpool level as he set up a Djibril Cisse volley and then equalised himself either side of half-time.

Paul Konchesky’s overhit cross then looped into the net and looked as though it’d won the Hammers the cup, only for Gerrard to score a scarcely believable long-range drive in stoppage time to make it 3-3.

The Liverpool captain scored in the penalty shootout too, as Pepe Reina made three saves to give Rafael Benitez’s side a remarkable success.