The FA Cup final takes place today between Chelsea and Arsenal at Wembley and it is set to be a cracking final.
It is a contest between two FA Cup specialists, with Arsenal having won the trophy a record 13 times and Chelsea 8 times, with 6 of those coming since the turn of the century.
The bookies have Chelsea priced as favourites at a shade above evens, whilst Arsenal are available at best odds of 11/4.
The final will be played in balmy conditions as temperatures at Wembley Stadium and expected to reach 25 degrees centigrade.
Hopefully it will be one of the classic contests that goes down in FA Cup folklore.
Certainly the competition is steeped in history and is known throughout the world as the premiere domestic cup competition.
Do you think you know the FA Cup well? Test your knowledge with 8 fun facts about the FA cup you might not know.
- The first FA Cup – took place in 1871-72 and the final was between Wanderers and Royal Engineers held at Kennington Oval. Wanderers won 1-0 making them the first FA Cup winners, something they also achieved the following year.
- Successful clubs – Arsenal is the most successful FA Cup winner, having received the trophy 13 times. They are followed by Manchester United who have collected 11 cups; Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea come next have 8 wins apiece; Aston Villa and Liverpool have each collected 7 cups, and Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers have each triumphed six times.
- Biggest goal margin – The biggest goal margin occurred just last year when Manchester City hammered Watford 6-0. Previous to that the biggest winning margin was way back in 1890 when Blackburn Rovers beat The Wednesday 6-1. In recent times other biggest winning margins include Arsenal beating Aston Villa in the final by 4-0 in 2015. That was the biggest win since 1994 when Manchester United beat Chelsea and with the same score line. Manchester United also beat Brighton & Hove Albion 4-0 in 1983.
- Highest scoring finals – this was in 1890 between Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday in which Blackburn won 6-1 and in 1953 when Blackpool beat Bolton Wanderers by 4-3.
- Giant killers – Luton Town have been the hottest giant killers over the last quarter century. Their greatest success was in the 2012/13 season when they beat Norwich who at the time were 88 places above them. They have also beaten Wolves, Bradford City and Newcastle United. Other leading giant killers include Oldham Athletic, Swansea City, Sheffield United and Cardiff City. However, in terms of individual games, the biggest giant killer game was that between Hereford and Newcastle in 1972 in which Hereford won 2-1 in extra time. Other memorable giant killer games include Manchester United and Leeds in 2010 where Leeds won 1-0, and Leicester City and Wycombe Wanderers in 2001.
- Biggest scandals – one of the biggest FA Cup scandals occurred in 2017 and involved a meat pie. Wayne Shaw, the reserve goalkeeper for Sutton, was filmed eating a meat pie in the dugout during the match in which Sutton lost to Arsenal. The result was a betting scandal as Sutton was aware that a bookmaker had offered odds on him being shown on TV doing just that. As a result he resigned tearfully from the team.
- Trophies – There have been five FA Cup trophies. The first, which cost £20 to create, was stolen in 1895 while it was on display in a Birmingham shoe shop having been won by Aston Villa. Trophy number two, a precise replica of the first one, was in use from 1896 till 1910 and was subsequently sold in 2005 for almost half a million pounds. The third trophy was larger as was used for several years but it was discovered to be fragile and so was replaced by a replica which remained in use until 2014 when it was replaced by a stronger, heavier version.
- Unluckiest club – arguably the Leicester City is the unluckiest club in the competition; they have played in the final on four occasions but have failed to win the cup. Whether you consider Wigan Athletic to be unlucky or unlucky depends on your point of view; in 2013 the club won the FA Cup, and in the same season they were relegated from the Premier League.
Any fascinating FA Cup facts we have missed – let us know!
If you are looking to have a punt on the final, then there are some great free bet offers from the bookies (UK and Ireland only). Here are some of the best ones:
- Bet 365 – Bet £50 get £50 Free in-play – By invite only: You will receive a Free In-Play Bet to the value of your largest pre-match bet (max Free In-Play Bet value £50) to use as the stake on any Chelsea v Arsenal In-Play market.
- Betway – £20 Golden Goal Refund – Payout as a winner if your backed team scores first and doesn’t win. Back a team to win and if your team scores first and goes on to draw or lose, they’ll payout as a winner.
- Paddy Power – £10 refund – Money Back as a free bet if Chelsea win the FA Cup in 90 mins. Applies to losing singles placed pre-match only. Applies to all markets on the match. Max free bet €/£10 per customer.
Please see each of the bookmakers for the individual terms and conditions of the offers.
So plenty of opportunities there to make some risk-free cash.
Good luck with your betting for today’s final.