It is now 12 years since the FA Cup final was last played at the old Wembley, and five years since it returned to the new Wembley. And so, it seems appropriate to look at the statistics of the last 11 FA Cup finals and, in parts, more closely at the last five.
Since leaving the old Wembley the 11 FA Cup finals played have produced a total of 21 goals (in the initial 90 minutes) at an average of just under two goals per game.
If we discount the highest (Liverpool 3-3 West Ham) and lowest (Chelsea 0-0 Man Utd) scoring games in that data as anomalies then we get a more helpful and accurate average of just 1.66 goals per game. While the five games at the new Wembley have produced a total of just six goals at an even slenderer average of 1.2.
All recent statistical indicators point to nervy affairs in the final of the world’s oldest club competition. Under 2.5 goals is available to back at odds of 1.67 and Under 1.5 goals is a 3.00 shot.
Given the overall trepidation of the FA Cup final one would naturally assume that the games would be slow starters. But the statistics don’t necessarily back that up. In the 11 games we are using for our analysis there have been eight first-half goals and 13 after the interval.
The average of 0.73 goals in the first 45 minutes suggests a bet on Over 0.5 first half goals at odds of 1.44, but under 1.5 at 1.35.
A first half lead can be quite significant in terms of the overall outcome of the game. Of the four teams taking a lead into the dressing room at half time three have gone on to win the match inside the 90 minutes. West Ham are the only team in the last 11 years not to convert a half-time lead into silverware, when Steven Gerrard’s injury-time strike took the match into extra time. Look out for the In-Play odds available on either side if leading at half time.
The above also tells us that seven of the 11 matches in our data have been level at the interval. 2.05 is available on the half-time draw this Saturday, while Draw/Chelsea is 6.00 and Draw/Liverpool is 7.50 in the HT/FT market.
Didier Drogba has scored in three of the last five FA Cup finals (one in extra time) and, excluding Community Shields, on all seven of his previous visits to the new Wembley. The Ivorian is priced at odds of 3.20 to score this weekend and 8.00 to get the first of the game.
Frank Lampard has scored more FA Cup goals (19) than any other player since the start of the 2006/07 season. He is a 4.25 chance to add to that tally here.
Luis Suarez will be Liverpool’s danger man having scored in all three of his FA Cup appearances for the club. He also scored a hat-trick in his last Liverpool appearance, at Norwich, and is 3.20 to score at Wembley. Maxi Rodriguez has scored in both games against Chelsea this season and can be backed at 6.00 to make that three out of three.