The Record Breaking FA Cup Final

History Made

Most of the headlines from Manchester City winning 6-0 against Watford in Saturday’s FA Cup Final at Wembley will focus on the domestic treble being achieved for the first time and the fact that the record highest margin of victory in an FA Cup Final was achieved.

Yes, those two records have been achieved by Manchester City, who won a sixth FA Cup title this season, to go with their sixth ever League Cup title and their sixth ever League Championship they won this season, by scoring six goals without reply.

That record 6-0 victory had been set by Bury in the 1903 FA Cup Final when thrashing Derby County that year. However, the Shakers victory did also complete an FA Cup run of not conceding a goal, so they still have bragging rights about that.

Goal-scoring Feats

But those two records are not the only FA Cup benchmarks that were beaten, equalled or set by Manchester City. By scoring those six goals in the Final it meant they had hit the back of the net 26 times en route to lifting the Trophy. That is the highest number of goals scored by any FA Cup winning team since the current competition structure was put in place in the 1925-26 season.

Now there is always a caveat with that ‘record’ as obviously it’s not the most goals scored by any club winning the Trophy (that’s the 40 goals scored by Aston Villa in 1886-87 season), but it also isn’t actually the highest tally since 1925-26, either.

That’s because Derby County scored 37 goals in total when lifting the FA Cup in the 1945-46 season. So why is the Rams’ tally disregarded as the highest total, then? Well, the reason is that during the first post-war FA Cup season there was no formally organised League football, so the FA decided in order to give clubs more games that all FA Cup rounds from the 1st Round to the Quarter Finals that year would be played over two legs. As a result Derby County played almost twice as many games as the six that most clubs now need to play to win the Cup.

However, if goals per game are analysed for the FA Cup winners, Manchester City set another modern day benchmark. When Newcastle United in 1932 and Chelsea in 1970 scored their total of 25 goals they did so having had to play two or three replays on their way to Wembley (and beyond in Chelsea’s case). Manchester City made it to this year’s Final without the need of a replay and so their 4.33 goals scored per game is the highest return since 1925-26, and was only last bettered by Blackburn Rovers 134 years ago.

A Brace of Braces

Manchester City’s second goal against Watford eventually went to the debatable goals committee to determine who had scored it. Originally it was believed that Raheem Sterling got the final touch, and as he then went on to score twice more in the match late on, it was widely believed that he had scored the first FA Cup Final hat-trick since Stan Mortensen in the 1953 ‘Stanley Matthews’ Final.

However, Stan Mortensen can rest easy, as the review panel decided the ball had already crossed the line before Sterling got his foot to it, and so the goal was awarded to Gabriel Jesus instead. This meant that both Jesus and Sterling scored two goals apiece, the first time ever two players from the same side scored a brace in the FA Cup Final.

Win One, Lose One

Manchester City’s victory was a culmination of a peculiar set of results in the competition that started way back in the Extra Preliminary Round in August. The sequence saw the winning team in one round then get knocked out in the very next round and this continued to happen throughout all 14 rounds of the FA Cup this year, a more than 8,000/1 likely occurrence.

Bizarrely, the last time this rare sequence happened was in the 2012-13 season when Manchester City were on the wrong end of the chain of events when losing to Wigan Athletic.

Double Zero

Watford’s defeat means that the Hornets become unwanted members of an exclusive club, that of teams who have appeared in more than one FA Cup Final but have so far failed to lift the Trophy. Only Queen’s Park, Birmingham City, Leicester City and Crystal Palace are fellow members of this club, the only difference being that each of those four sides have at least managed to score an FA Cup Final goal.

Ten Out Of Ten

Watford’s defeat also meant that every single runner-up in the FA Cup in the last decade, the 2010s, has been a different club. Portsmouth, Stoke City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Hull City, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Chelsea, Manchester United and now Watford have all tasted defeat in the Final over the last ten years. It is the first time ever that all 10 losing finalists in a decade have been 10 different clubs.

How Many’s A Crowd?

Finally, an unwanted record for this year’s FA Cup Final is that the attendance of 85,854 is the lowest Cup Final attendance since the showpiece game returned to be played at Wembley.

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