FA Cup 2018-19 Semi Finals Stats and Facts Preview

And so we are down to four, and who would have predicted the four that we have? Between them Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manchester City, Watford and Brighton and Hove Albion have appeared in the FA Cup Semi-Finals a total of 38 times. That is the lowest cumulative amount since 2008, when Portsmouth were the only Premier League side of the four teams in the Semi-Finals that year.

This season, though, all four clubs in the Semi Finals are Premier League sides but only Manchester City and Wolves have actually lifted the Trophy in the past. Watford and Brighton have just one FA Cup Final appearance each in their respective histories, both losing in successive seasons in the 1980s.

Wolves actually have the most FA Cup Semi-Final appearances of the four who have made it this far this year. This will be their 15th last four appearance but their first of this millennium. Wolves have actually won more Semi-Finals than they have lost, but you have to go all the way back to 1960 for their last victory.

By contrast, their Semi-Final opponents, Watford, are appearing in their fourth FA Cup Semi-Final this century and their seventh in total. The Hornets will be looking to win only their second last four tie having only ever beaten Plymouth Argyle at this stage in 1984.

The two clubs are drawn together for the sixth time in FA Cup history with Watford having won just one of their previous five. In fact, Wolves have triumphed 4-1 in both of their last two FA Cup meetings and Watford’s record defeat in the competition is a 10-0 reverse at the hands of Wolves in a 1911-12 1st Round replay.

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The two clubs are leading the best of the rest in the Premier League and so it would appear this tie could be a hard one to call. FA Cup head-to-head history suggests a Wolves victory, but a bizarre trend in this season’s competition points to Watford making it to the Final.

Wolves’ victory over Manchester United in the Quarter Finals continued a sequence that had started way back at the beginning of the competition in the Extra Preliminary Round at the start of August. One of the 184 ties that weekend saw Biggleswade defeat Northampton ON Chenecks by two goals to nil. However, Biggleswade’s FA Cup run was short-lived as they then lost 5-3 at home to Soham Town Rangers in the Preliminary Round.

The same losing fate then happened to Soham in the 1st Qualifying Round and this sequence of the winner of the tie in one round going on to lose in the next round has continued through 12 rounds of the competition, culminating so far with Wolves’ 2-1 win over Man Utd in the Quarter Finals. The odds on that happening are over 4,000 to one, but does it suggest the trend may continue to the Final itself?

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Bill Edgar from The Times newspaper got in touch to say he had determined that the last time it happened all the way through to the FA Cup Winners was in the 2012-13 competition. That sequence started with Continental Star beating Causeway United at the start of August, and culminated in Wigan Athletic’s last minute winner over Manchester City at Wembley in May.

By a strange quirk of fate Manchester City could be the beneficiaries of the sequence happening again this year, as if they win their Semi-Final they would then be on track to defeat Watford in the Final.

Man City are appearing in their 14th FA Cup Semi Final and their fourth this century, the last time just two seasons ago when defeated by Arsenal in extra time. That was only the third defeat for Man City at this stage of the competition, and they have the best win to lose ratio of all clubs to have appeared in 10 or more Semi-Finals.

Manchester City are now the joint top scorers in this season’s competition with 19 goals, putting them equal with Northern Premier League Division One East side Cleethorpes Town, who scored the same number in their qualifying round ties.

Since the FA Cup was re-formatted into its current structure in 1925, whereby the top two divisions are exempted until the 3rd Round, the most number of goals scored by the winning side in one campaign in total is 25 (this excludes Derby County in 1945-46 who scored 37 goals en route to lifting the Trophy, but for that season only each round before the Semi-Finals was played over two legs).

Only two clubs have scored as many as 25 goals in one campaign and gone on to lift the Trophy in those almost 90 seasons, Newcastle United in 1932 and Chelsea in 1970. If Manchester City emulate or better that feat this season theirs will have been achieved without the benefit of the extra games required through replays.

FA Cup history suggests that their potential to add considerably to their 19 goal tally this season is high, especially given their accumulated goals scored in all competitions so far. In their two previous FA Cup encounters with their Semi-Final opponents this year, Brighton and Hove Albion, the tie has been won each time by a four-goal margin.

A word of caution for Manchester City, though, is that the two clubs have enjoyed one win each in those two previous ties, and when Brighton won 4-0 in 1983 they went all the way to their one and only FA Cup Final to date, and to their only previous FA Cup Semi-Final appearance. And as the only one of the four Semi-Finalists this year with a 100% record at this stage of the competition, who’s to say it won’t be Brighton benefiting from that winner-losing quirk in this year’s competition?

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If Brighton and Hove Albion do win their Semi-Final, and Wolverhampton Wanderers actually manage to break that ‘winner losing’ sequence, then a different kind of history will be made in the FA Cup Final. With a total of 43 letters in their two names it would become the longest combined total of any two FA Cup Finalists, the current record being the 38 letters of 1921 when Wolves appeared as well, but then they lost to Tottenham Hotspur.

As a footnote, some argue that the 1897 FA Cup final between Sheffield Wednesday and Wolverhampton Wanderers is the one with the current longest combined names at 41 letters, but at the time of that Final the South Yorkshire club were known simply as The Wednesday, making a total of just 34 letters.

Whatever happens in the Semi-Finals it will be a first time meeting in the Final whichever two teams make it there. And if it is Brighton and Hove Albion versus Watford it will be the first FA Cup Final to be contested by two clubs who have never lifted the Trophy since Chelsea versus Leeds United in 1970.

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European Apathy

There was a time when I used to support the English based clubs in European competitions even though they were bitter rivals of the club I supported. But not any more.

Back in the late 70s and early 80s, clubs from England dominated the European Cup with six successive seasons seeing the famous giant trophy paraded through the streets of an English city.

Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa all triumphed in a succession of Finals and I cheered each and every one of them on all the way.

I also supported Arsenal in their failed attempt to lift the European Cup Winners Cup in 1980, and revelled in the glory of Ipswich Town and Tottenham Hotspur as they won their respective UEFA Cup Final ties. Why, I even urged on Aberdeen as they beat Real Madrid in the Cup Winners Cup Final.

These English based clubs seemed to represent English football against the rest of Europe, and their victories were victories not just for the clubs involved but also for English football as a whole. But that is no longer the case.

Manchester United and Liverpool both produced terrific comeback victories in Champions League Finals either side of the turn of the 21st century and I still felt a tinge of pride in them having done so, especially because of the dramatic nature of their victories. But I hadn’t really been urging them on to win.

That was because the profit maximising obsessed nature of the clubs competing in the Champions League has meant that these victories actually were victories that will benefit the clubs only and will not be for the benefit of English football any more.

And the recently announced overseas Premier League TV deal, which will see the top 6 English based clubs get a bigger share of the funds from the deal, reinforces that greed and mirrors that their European success is all about benefitting themselves financially and has nothing to do with benefitting English football as a whole.

Why should I now care if Manchester City or United, Arsenal, Spurs or Chelsea, or Liverpool are successful in Europe when all it means is that they will continue to open up the wealth gap between themselves and the rest of football clubs in England?

How can I cheer on any one of these so called ‘big six’ when I know that their victory will actually be detrimental to the future of my own club and the future of every other one of the thousands of clubs that make up the English pyramid?

What I do care about is the long term future of the game in England and I am saddened by this ever increasing concentration of wealth amongst ever fewer clubs. Over the last six or seven years 5% of all Saturday men’s clubs have disappeared. That’s 5% every single year, mostly all for the want of funding levels that wouldn’t even be noticed by the wealthy clubs if they lost that much down the back of the sofa.

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It is time that the mainstream media woke up to the fact that English based teams winning in Europe is not good for the game in England. Instead of just glorifying their achievements and spouting how fantastic it is for the English game they should focus on the damage being done to the health of the game in this country by these club’s avaricious tendencies, where no matter how much money they earn it will never be enough.

A word of caution to those clubs in the ‘big six’. From the 1st World War to the early 1990s football in England was for all 92 clubs in the Football League. Then came the Premier League and suddenly football in England was all about the 20 clubs fortunate enough to be part of it.

Then, due to the Champions League meaning finishing in Top 4 became the goal of clubs, football in England has become all about the ‘big six’. However, it is only a matter of time when that group of six gets whittled down to two, three or four clubs.

I for one will not shed a tear for those two or three of them that are left by the wayside.

FA Cup 2018-19 Quarter Finals Stats & Facts Preview

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Just eight clubs remain from the 736 that entered this year’s FA Cup as we reach the Quarter Final of the competition, officially known as the Sixth Round ‘Proper’.

Within the mix are six Premier League clubs and two Championship sides. There are just three former winners remaining, four other clubs who’ve appeared in the Final in the past but have yet to lift the Trophy, and Swansea City who are the only one of the last eight clubs yet to appear in an FA Cup Final.

Given there are fewer FA Cup winners than non-winners remaining in this year’s competition could there be a new name etched on the Trophy this year? There is, after all, a lower level of FA Cup pedigree amongst the last eight clubs, too.

Between them, the eight Quarter Finalists have reached this stage of the competition a total of 139 times, the lowest combined amount since the eight clubs who reached this stage in the 1996-97 season, 22 years ago. Interestingly, this is the first season since 1994-95 that neither Chelsea nor Arsenal have made the last eight of the FA Cup.

Manchester United leads the way with this season being their 44th appearance in the last eight of the FA Cup, now clear second highest with just one appearance fewer than Everton. A win for the Red Devils would also take the club to a record 30th FA Cup Semi-Final.

Wolverhampton Wanderers are their opponents who are into the last eight for the 31st time, the second highest of this year’s Quarter Finalists. However, Wolves will be looking to reach the Semi-Finals for the first time this Century and their tie with Manchester United is the most common FA Cup match-up of the quartet of ties.

This is the seventh time the two clubs have been drawn together in the FA Cup with Manchester United ahead by four wins to two. Whilst past FA Cup head-to-heads might suggest a Manchester United victory, another peculiar statistic hints at Wolverhampton Wanderers winning through this time.

Back at the beginning of August, 184 FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round ties were played. Anyone interested in undertaking the ‘Road to Wembley’ would have selected one of those matches from which to start their campaign.

Taking the ‘Road to Wembley’ means sticking with the winners of each round all the way through to the Final itself. Of those 184 Extra Preliminary Round ties only one has gone on to witness a different club be victorious in every round, namely ‘Biggleswade 2-0 Northampton ON Chenecks’.

In the Preliminary Round Biggleswade were beaten 5-3 by Soham Town Rangers who then lost 4-0 at FC Romania in the 1st Qualifying Round. FC Romania themselves were then beaten 2-0 at home by Beaconsfield Town in the 2nd Qualifying Round who then were defeated 2-1 at Concord Rangers in the 3rd Qualifying Round.

Then, in the 4th Qualifying Round Concord Rangers went down 1-0 at home to Dover Athletic who themselves were then well beaten 5-0 at Bury in the 1st Round ‘Proper’.

Bury then lost their 2nd Round tie 1-0 at home to Luton Town who lost by the same scoreline at Sheffield Wednesday in their 3rd Round replay, after a goal-less draw. Sheffield Wednesday then went down 3-0 at FA Cup holders Chelsea in the 4th Round who themselves lost 2-0 at home to Manchester United in the Fifth Round.

And now Manchester United face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Quarter Finals. Will the different winner sequence continue? Wolves fans will definitely be hoping so, for this round at least.

That Wolves versus Man. United tie is the only one of the four Quarter Final ties to pit two former winners against each other. Actually, the only other former FA Cup winner in the Quarter Finals are Manchester City, appearing at this stage of the competition for the 25th time (the third highest of the last eight clubs) and for the fifth time in the past nine seasons.

Manchester City are the top scorers of clubs who remain in this year’s FA Cup with 16 goals scored so far, and their opponents are the second highest scorers of those who’ve reached the last eight, Swansea City (with 11). Nil-nil draw, anybody?

This will be the first ever FA Cup meeting between Swansea City and Manchester City and the Swans will be wary not only of the fact that they face the current Premier League Champions, but also that their opponent’s record against Welsh clubs in the FA Cup is played 12, lost just once. However, a different kind of history may well be on the Welsh club’s side.

Swansea City are appearing in the FA Cup Quarter Finals for just the fifth time, but also in successive seasons, something they’ve only done once before back in 1925/26 and 1926/27 seasons. The last of their two Semi-Final appearances happened 55 years ago. On that occasion, as was also true in 1926, the Swans were a second tier club who won through their Quarter Final tie 2-1 against a title challenging top flight side (Liverpool finished 1st in 1964 and Arsenal finished 2nd in 1926).

So will history repeat itself as the Swans find themselves once again a second tier side in the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup facing a top-flight club vying for the title?

The Swans are one of only two Championship clubs to reach the last eight in this year’s FA Cup representing the second tier alongside Millwall. In what is the Lions’ 122nd FA Cup campaign they have reached the Quarter Finals for the 11th time, serendipitously making it this far on average every 11 campaigns.

What’s unique about Millwall’s 11 appearances in the FA Cup Quarter Finals is that they have all occurred whilst the club have been competing below the top tier (well the club has only had two seasons as a top flight side, after all). Eleven Quarter Final appearances, all as a non-top flight side, is still a competition record, nonetheless.

The Lions’ opponents in this year’s Quarter Finals are Brighton and Hove Albion who are making just their fourth visit to the FA Cup last eight, the fewest amount of all this season’s clubs. The Seagulls made only their third appearance at this stage last season and so this is the first time in their 108 FA Cup campaigns that they have posted back-to-back Quarter Final appearances.

Millwall and Brighton and Hove Albion are drawn together in the FA Cup for just the second time. The last occurrence was a 1956-57 1st Round tie that Millwall eventually won 3-1 in a replay. One other FA Cup connection for the two sides is that both the Lions and the Seagulls have appeared in just one  Cup Final in the past, both unfortunately being on the wrong end of heavy defeats by Manchester United.

The last of this year’s four Quarter Final ties sees two other clubs whose best FA Cup runs are as beaten Finalists, as Watford host Premier League rivals Crystal Palace. It is the sixth time the two sides have been drawn together in the FA Cup with the Hornets ahead of the Eagles by three wins to two. Palace do have the most recent victory, though, a 2-1 Semi-Final win just three years ago.

That Semi-Final was the third time this Century that Watford have made it that far, and both they and Crystal Palace have won their last three FA Cup Quarter Final ties. And with both clubs the only two of the eight remaining yet to concede a goal in this year’s FA Cup, something has to give this time.

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FA Cup 2018-19 5th Round ‘Proper’ Top-line Stats & Facts

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Stats of the Round

Millwall have made the FA Cup Quarter Finals for the 11th time, and every time as a club playing outside of the top flight – an FA Cup record

Brighton and Hove Albion reach back-to-back FA Cup Quarter Finals for the first time in their 108 campaigns

Swansea City are the only Quarter Finalist who have never played in an FA Cup Final in the past

 

Lowest ranked club definitely in QF Round

Millwall

 

First time in QF Round in a while

16 years – Wolverhampton Wanderers

 

Into QF Round and a while since last KO as early as the 5th Rd

5 years – Manchester United

 

First time KO as early as 5th Rd for a while

4 years – Chelsea

 

KO in 5th Rd but Equalled Best Run

Doncaster Rovers – (5th time in 120 campaigns)

 

KO in 5th Rd but Set Best Run

Newport County (27th campaign)

AFC Wimbledon (15th campaign)

 

KO in 5th Rd and a while since last progressed to QF Round

45 years – Bristol City

30 years – Brentford

24 years – Queens Park Rangers

20 years – Derby County

 

Biggest Wins of the 5th Rd

Newport County 1-4 Manchester City

Swansea City 4-1 Brentford

Last Year’s Finalists

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Chelsea and Manchester United are due to meet in the 2018-19 FA Cup Fifth Round, a repeat of the FA Cup Final from just nine months ago. This will be the thirteenth time that the Finalists from the previous FA Cup campaign will have faced each other in the following year’s competition.

But who has the upper hand in the follow up match? Does the previous year’s winner always triumph again in the next meeting, or do the runners-up more typically exact revenge? As with much to do with the FA Cup, the facts may surprise you.

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The first instance of the FA Cup Finalists meeting again the following season happened as early as the third year of its illustrious history. The Wanderers were unbeaten in the FA Cup having lifted the Trophy in both of the competition’s first two fledgling campaigns, the second time by virtue of a 2-0 victory over Oxford University.

The competition in that 1872-73 season ran in line with its original premise and name, the FA Challenge Cup, whereby the previous season’s victors awaited to meet the best of the rest, who progressed through a knock-out competition to meet them.

Oxford University were competing in the FA Cup for the first time and victories over the original Crystal Palace, Clapham Rovers, Royal Engineers and Maidenhead, coupled with a walkover against Queen’s Park, meant that they earned the right to challenge The Wanderers for the Trophy.

Henry Wollaston and Arthur Kinnaird scored the goals for The Wanderers to ensure the FA Cup was retained. However, the FA recognised that the challenge element of the competition was skewed too much in favour of the winners, and so the following 1873-74 season the FA Cup reverted to a straightforward knock-out competition.

The Wanderers received byes against Southall Park and The Trojans before being paired with Oxford University in the Third Round, also the Quarter Finals. The two sides played out a 1-1 draw before Oxford University won 1-0 in the replay to inflict the first ever FA Cup defeat on The Wanderers. One-nil to the runners-up.

Oxford University went on to lift the Trophy that season winning 2-0 against Royal Engineers at the Kennington Oval courtesy of strikes by Charles Mackarness and Frederick Patton. As fate would have it, the two sides would meet again in the following season’s Semi-Finals.

As in the previous season the two sides played out a 1-1 draw followed by a 1-0 victory in the replay. Maintaining the same pattern of events it was once again the runners-up who exacted revenge with Henry Renny-Tailyour scoring the only goal for the Engineers to take them to the Final where they also eventually went on to lift the Trophy. Runners-up two, winners nil.

There was to be a five year gap before the situation occurred again, and once again the pattern of the encounters followed a very familiar path. The 1878-79 FA Cup Final saw the first of two Cup Final victories for Old Etonians, winning 1-0 against Clapham Rovers thanks to a Charles Clerke goal.

The two sides would be drawn to face each other again in the following season’s Fifth Round, also the Quarter Finals. This time there would be no replay required as Clopton Lloyd-Jones scored the only goal of the game to give Clapham Rovers a 1-0 win. And, as a follow up to all these repeat encounters, Lloyd-Jones would go on to score the winner in that year’s Final against Oxford University. It was now three wins to nil for the runners-up.

Another five seasons would pass before the FA Cup Finalists would meet each other again in the following season’s campaign, and this time a significantly different pattern emerged. If it hadn’t been different, the runners-up would definitely have lifted the Trophy as it occurred in the Final itself.

The 1883-84 FA Cup Final was historic in that featured the first and only Scottish Club to appear in an English Final as Queen’s Park faced Blackburn Rovers. Despite a goal from Robert Christie for the Glasgow based club, it was Blackburn Rovers who would win the Final 2-1 thanks to Joe Sowerbutts and Jamie Forrest earlier efforts. (Some records suggest Sowerbutts’ goal was scored by James Brown, others by James Douglas).

Amazingly the two clubs fought their way to meet each other in the following season’s FA Cup Final, the only time in the competition’s history that has ever happened. This time Rovers scored twice through Forrest and Brown without reply to retain the Trophy and to end the hoodoo of the winners against runners-up in the next season’s FA Cup. Of course they still lifted the Trophy, but now it was runners-up three, winners one.

It wasn’t too long before it was happening again. The 1887-88 FA Cup Final was contested by West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End. Jimmy Bayliss and George Woodhall scored for the Albion to cancel out a Fred Dewhurst effort for North End to crown West Bromwich Albion as FA Cup winners.

The following season coincided with the formation of the Football League, and Preston North End would go on to dominate English Football that year becoming known as ‘The Invincibles’ as they remained unbeaten in the League and won the FA Cup without conceding a goal. They met West Bromwich Albion in the Semi-Final with David Russell scoring the only goal of the game.

Once again the runners-up defeated the winners when they met the following year, and once again the side that triumphed in that follow up game went on to lift the Trophy itself. It was now four-one to the runners-ups.

In 1904 Manchester City lifted the FA Cup for the first time winning 1-0 against Bolton Wanderers with Billy Meredith scoring the only goal of the game. The two sides would meet again in the following season’s Second Round, but this time there would be no FA Cup triumph for the victors of that encounter.

However, for the fifth time in six such encounters it was the previous season’s runners-up who came out on top when the two sides met again the following year. Albert Shepherd and Walter White scored the goals to give Bolton Wanderers a 2-1 victory with Billy Gillespie netting for Manchester City. Bolton’s FA Cup run that year would be short-lived going down 2-0 to Newcastle United in the next round. The running total was now runners-up five, winners one.

Aston Villa beat Huddersfield Town 1-0 in the first FA Cup Final after World War I, in 1920, with Billy Kirton scoring the only goal of the game in extra time. It was, at the time, a record sixth FA Cup triumph for the Villans.

The two clubs were then drawn together in the 1920-21 Third Round with Billy Walker bagging a brace in a 2-0 win for Villa. As with Bolton Wanderers before them, their FA Cup run that year ended in the following round, a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur, but perhaps the tide had turned with regards to who would be victorious when previous year’s Finalists met again in the following season.

It not only proved to be a blip, but also was to be the last occasion for 56 years, but the score was now; runners-up five, winners two.

The 1976 FA Cup Final was the middle one of three during a period of eight seasons when a second tier side defeated a top-flight club in the Final. Like Sunderland before them and West Ham United after them, Southampton defeated Manchester United by a solitary goal, in their case scored by Bobby Stokes.

The two clubs were paired together again in the following season’s Fifth Round and, unsurprisingly given Southampton were still a league below their opponents, Manchester United won through to exact revenge, although they did require a replay before doing so. The clubs played out a two-two draw at The Dell, before Jimmy Greenhoff struck twice at Old Trafford to cancel out the David Peach strike for the Saints.

So once again the runners-up proved victorious in the follow up meeting taking the winning totals to runners-up six, winners two. And Manchester United went on the lift the FA Cup that season, too, to re-establish that trend. Jimmy Greenhoff was on the scoresheet again alongside Stuart Pearson either side of a Jimmy Case strike.

The first FA Cup Final to be played outside of England, at the Millennium Stadium in 2001, witnessed a famous comeback victory for Liverpool courtesy of a late Michael Owen double after Freddie Ljungberg had seemingly won the Cup for Arsenal.

The two clubs would go head-to-head in the following season’s Fourth Round, a tie decided in favour of Arsenal by Denis Bergkamp. And Arsenal would go on to lift the Trophy in Cardiff with a 2-0 victory over Chelsea thanks to goals from Ray Parlour and Ljungberg. It was now runners-up seven, winners two, and the trend for the victors to go on to lift the Trophy themselves seemed to have been re-established.

But only one of those two trends would happen in the following season when Arsenal and Chelsea met again, this time in the Quarter Finals. A two-two draw at Highbury was followed up by a 3-1 victory for Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in the replay with Sylvain Wiltord and Lauren amongst the goals.

It was now runners-up seven, winners five to buck that particular trend, but Arsenal did go on to retain the Trophy with a 1-0 win over Southampton in Cardiff as Robert Pires scored the only goal.

The 2013 FA Cup Final will go down as one of the biggest upsets and one with one of the most memorable endings in its history. Wigan Athletic were on the verge of relegation from the Premier League and took on a soon to be dominant Manchester City side and won.

With the game seemingly heading toward extra time, Ben Watson, who had only been on the pitch for ten minutes, rose highest to head home the winner deep in injury time to make Wigan Athletic the 43rd different club to win the FA Cup. A few days later they were relegated to the Championship.

Remarkably, the two clubs were drawn together again in the following season’s Quarter Finals with Wigan Athletic now a division below their opponents who would go on to lift the Premier League Trophy at the end of the season. But even more remarkably, Wigan Athletic were once again the victors.

This time Jordi Gomez and James Peach scored goals for the Latics before Samir Nasri pulled just one back for Manchester City to give Wigan another famous, against-the-odds victory. Unfortunately, the unlikely dream of retaining of their FA Cup Trophy was extinguished courtesy of a penalties defeat to eventual winners Arsenal in the Semi-Finals. The head-to-head score now was runners-up seven, winners four.

Arsenal faced Hull City in that 2014 FA Cup Final coming back from conceding two early goals to win the match 3-2 after extra time. Santiago Carzola and Laurent Koscielny had cancelled out strikes by James Chester and Curtis Davies, before Aaron Ramsey netted the winner very late on.

For the first time in FA Cup history the previous season’s Finalist were drawn together in the following year’s Third Round, effectively meaning the two clubs would play each other in consecutive FA Cup matches.

Per Mertesacker and Alexis Sanchez scored the goals to give Arsenal a 2-0 victory to move the head-to-head scoreline along to runners-up seven, winners five. That particular hoodoo would appear to have been laid to rest, but for the ninth time in twelve occasions, the victors of this repeat FA Cup meeting would go on to lift the Trophy.

This time Arsenal did it with ease as Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud all scored in the 4-0 rout of Aston Villa.

So who will be victorious between Chelsea and Manchester United? History seems to suggest that the Red Devils will win through their encounter, although in more recent times it has been the Cup holders who have triumphed more often. Either way, the past also tells us to expect the winner of the 2018-19 FA Cup Final to be whomever proves successful in this Fifth Round tie.

 

 

 

FA Cup 2018-19 5th Round Stats & Facts Preview

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Just sixteen clubs remain from the 736 that entered this year’s FA Cup as we reach the fifth round of the competition. Within the mix are just seven Premier League clubs, the second lowest total of the 21st Century, six Championship clubs, two clubs from EFL One, and Newport County, the last remaining fourth tier club.

Newport County are into the FA Cup fifth round for the first time since re-forming and are equalling the best FA Cup run of the original club, achieved by the Ironsiders 70 years ago. As with that season, this year the Exiles are up against the top flight League leaders in the shape of Manchester City.

Back in 1949 the original club were drawn at Portsmouth losing 3-2 in extra time, notable as being the last FA Cup fifth round tie to be settled in extra time in the first game.

Of course, that scenario could happen again this year as the FA have scrapped replays from the fifth round onward. Newport County could, in theory, create a unique FA Cup double.

Manchester City are appearing in the FA Cup fifth round for the fourth successive season, but famously last season exited away from home at the hands of a lower league side. Could history be repeated?

Also appearing in the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time are AFC Wimbledon. Of course, Wimbledon FC won the FA Cup in 1988, and they themselves were last in the fifth round back in 2001. The original club took almost 100 years to appear in the fifth round for the first time. AFC Wimbledon have taken just seventeen.

AFC Wimbledon host Millwall this year in the only fifth round tie to kick-off at the traditional Saturday 3.0pm time slot. Millwall are looking to make the last eight of the FA Cup for the eleventh time, unique amongst all past Quarter Finalists, always having done so whilst competing in a league below the top flight.

Doncaster Rovers are equalling their best ever FA Cup run but are in the fifth round for the first time in 63 years. This is the first time Rovers have achieved the feat as a third tier club, doing so in the past, four times in five seasons in the first half of the 1950s as a second tier outfit.

They have never faced their 2018-19 fifth round opponents, Crystal Palace, in the FA Cup before despite having 224 campaigns between them. Palace are in the fifth round for the third time in five seasons and are yet to concede in the FA Cup this season.

Brentford will be trying to make the last eight of the FA Cup for just the fifth time, the furthest the Bees have ever gone in the competition. It is 30 years since they have succeeded in doing so.

Their only previous encounters with their 2018-19 fifth round opponents, Swansea City, in the FA Cup occurred in a 1971-72 first round tie won 3-2 by the Swans in a replay. The South Wales side are appearing in successive FA Cup fifth rounds for the first time in 54 years, back when the club was still known as Swansea Town.

It is five years since two Welsh clubs appeared in the FA Cup fifth round in the same season, and Swansea City and Newport County will be looking to make it a Welsh double in the Quarter Finals for the first time since 1927, the only year to date the FA Cup was won by a club from outside of England.

 

Two clubs more familiar with FA Cup fifth round appearances go head to head as a repeat of last season’s Final sees Chelsea host Manchester United. It is the first FA Cup Final repeat tie in the following season since Arsenal and Hull City met in the third round in 2014-15. In the dozen previous occasions the two finalists have met in the following season, the club finishing as runners-up have actually been triumphant more often, seven times to five.

Chelsea and Manchester United have been drawn together for the 14th time in the FA Cup (including Finals) with the Red Devils ahead by eight wins to five. However, Chelsea have won through all four of their 21st Century ties by one goal to nil, including in last year’s Final.

Both clubs are on unbeaten runs in the fifth round, Chelsea having won through to the last eight in each of the last three seasons and Manchester United in each of the last four. Something has got to give.

It is 18 years since Bristol City last appeared in the FA Cup fifth round and 45 years since they made the last eight of the competition. They are facing Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup for only the second time, with Wolves having won 1-0 back in a 1972-73 fourth round tie.

Whilst Wolves have made it this far in the competition as recently as two seasons ago, it is 16 years since they themselves went any further. This is the fourth time they have made the fifth round this century.

Watford are achieving the feat of being in the last sixteen for the fifth time since the year 2000, going on to reach the Semi-Finals in three of their four previous appearances. Their opponents this year, Queens Park Rangers, have reached this stage for the first time in 22 campaigns.

In fact, QPR have won as many FA Cup matches this season as they had done in the previous seventeen. Their record against Watford in the competition is won one, drawn one, lost one.

Also knocking each other out of the FA Cup one time each in the past are Brighton and Hove Albion and Derby County, although the Rams have beaten the Seagulls twice in the competition! The anomaly comes about courtesy of the fact the two clubs met in the fifth round of the 1945-46 competition, the season when all rounds bar the Semi-Finals and the Final were played over two legs.

In that two legged encounter Derby County easily won both legs posting a 10-1 aggregate victory. Brighton achieved revenge of sorts 15 years later with a 3-1 third round win.

Brighton and Hove Albion are one of six clubs in this year’s fifth round who have appeared in an FA Cup Final before but who have never yet lifted the trophy. If AFC Wimbledon is regarded as a different club from Wimbledon, then this means that there are more past beaten finalists in the last 16 than there are past FA Cup winners. There are only five of the latter and one of them must exit in this round.

Could we see a new name etched on the famous trophy again this season?

FA Cup 2018-19 4th Round ‘Proper’ Top-line Stats & Facts

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Stats of the Round

Wimbledon FC took 96 years from foundation to make the FA Cup 5th Round for the first time. AFC Wimbledon have achieved it in just 17 years.

Manchester United have now knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup 8 times, the most times the Gunners have lost to any other side

 

First time in 5th Round ever

AFC Wimbledon (15th campaign)

Newport County (27th campaign)

 

Equalling best run to 5th Round

Doncaster Rovers – 5th time in 120 campaigns

 

Lowest ranked club definitely in 5th Round

Newport County

 

First time in 5th Round in a while

70 years – Newport County (original club)

63 years – Doncaster Rovers

22 years – Queens Park Rangers

18 years – Bristol City

13 years – Brentford

4 years – Derby County

3 years – Crystal Palace, Watford

 

Into 5th Round and a while since last KO as early as the 4th Rd

5 years – Manchester United

4 years – Chelsea, Manchester City

 

Consecutive 4th Rd Kos

3 – Newcastle United

2 – Middlesbrough, West Ham United

 

KO in 4th Rd but Equalled Best Run

Accrington Stanley (3rd time in 48 campaigns)

Barnet (3rd time in 97 campaigns)

 

KO in 4th Rd for the first time in a While

4 years – Tottenham Hotspur

 

KO in 4th Rd and a while since last progressed to 5th Round

17 years – Gillingham

13 years – Newcastle United

9 years – Portsmouth

7 years – Bolton Wanderers

6 years – Oldham Athletic

3 years – Everton, West Ham United

 

Avenged Previous FA Cup Defeat

Doncaster Rovers 2-1 Oldham Athletic (now 3 wins each)

 

Biggest Wins of the 4th Rd

Manchester City 5-0 Burnley

 

Cup Upsets

AFC Wimbledon (3) 4-2 West Ham United (1)

Millwall (2) 3-2 Everton (1)

Replay

Newport County (4) 2-0 Middlesbrough (2)