Ten of the greatest FA Cup Final moments

This weekend sees Manchester City take on Watford in the FA Cup Final.

Newly-crowned Premier League champions City are looking to win the competition for the sixth time and, perhaps more significantly, become the first team to complete the domestic treble in English football.

Watford will be hoping to spoil the party by causing a major upset at Wembley. The Hornets’ only other Cup final appearance was in 1984, when they lost 2-0 to Everton.

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By beating City, Watford will hope to create another memorable Cup final moment to add alongside many others in the long history of the competition.

1953 - The Matthews Final

Blackpool and Bolton are two names that are unlikely to be mentioned in connection with modern-day finals but the two Lancashire clubs served up an all-time classic in 1953.

A back-and-forth game ultimately went in favour of the Tangerines and, despite Stan Mortensen scoring a hat-trick for the winning side, Stanley Matthews’ brilliant performance earned him all the plaudits.

The great winger had never won the FA Cup, finishing on the losing side in the final in 1948 and 1951.

But 1953 was to be his year, and the match has since been known as ‘The Matthews Final’ in honour of his Man of the Match display.

Blackpool players including Stanley Matthews celebrate FA Cup win (Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images)
Blackpool players including Stanley Matthews celebrate FA Cup win (Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images)

1956 - Bert Trautmann’s broken neck

Few, if any, players will have a story as remarkable as that of former Manchester City keeper Bert Trautmann.

Having fought for Germany in World War II, Trautmann’s ability as a goalkeeper was discovered while he was a prisoner of war following his capture by British forces.

After controversially signing for City, the keeper went on to star at the club for the next 15 years.

During the 1956 FA Cup final against Birmingham, Trautmann suffered a head injury following a collision with an opposition forward.

The German continued to play and helped City to a 3-1 win before it was later discovered he had been playing with a broken neck.

Manchester City's goalkeeper Bert Trautmann unknowingly breaks his neck. (Allsport Hulton/Archive)
Manchester City's goalkeeper Bert Trautmann unknowingly breaks his neck. (Allsport Hulton/Archive)

1981 - Ricky Villa’s mazy run

This year’s Champions League quarter final was far from the only dramatic encounter between Tottenham Hotspur and City.

The two clubs met in an epic FA Cup final back in 1981 and couldn’t be separated following the first game, with a 1-1 draw after extra time at Wembley.

Five days later, the two sides met again in a replay. Argentina superstar Ricky Villa put Spurs in front before goals from Steve McKenzie and Kevin Reeves gave City the advantage.

Garth Crooks made it 2-2 but it was Villa who won the game for Spurs. An incredible solo effort saw him skip past numerous City players, leaving their grounded bodies in his wake before sliding the ball under Joe Corrigan.

The goal is often spoken of as one the best Cup final goals of all time.

Ricardo Villa scores Spurs' winning goal (Photo by H. Routledge/PA Images via Getty Images)
Ricardo Villa scores Spurs' winning goal (Photo by H. Routledge/PA Images via Getty Images)

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1988 - Crazy Gang shock Liverpool

Widely considered one of the biggest Cup final shocks of all time, and all the more poetic given Wimbledon no longer exist in the same form today.

The South London side had only been playing league football for 11 years and were coming to the end of only their second ever season in the top flight.

In contrast, Liverpool had just been crowned champions for the 10th time in 16 seasons and were looking to complete the double for the second time in three years.

However, Lawrie Sanchez’s header and Dave Beasant’s penalty save from John Aldridge gave Bobby Gould’s tiny Wimbledon a shock 1-0 win over their far more illustrious opponents.

Wimbledon celebrate shock FA Cup final win over Liverpool (Mandatory Credit: David Cannon /Allsport)
Wimbledon celebrate shock FA Cup final win over Liverpool (Mandatory Credit: David Cannon /Allsport)

1996 - Liverpool’s suits

Ahead of the 1996 Cup Final against bitter rivals Manchester United, Liverpool players arrived at Wembley in matching tailor made Giorgio Armani suits for the occasion.

Not exactly headline news until it was revealed that the suits were cream coloured!

At the time, a group of Reds players were nicknamed ‘The Spice Boys’ and the bizarre fashion choice seemed to justify that label.

Robbe Fowler and Jamie Redknapp in their suits before kick off. (Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images)
Robbe Fowler and Jamie Redknapp in their suits before kick off. (Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images)

Someone who clearly wasn’t impressed was the United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

"I said to [assistant] Brian Kidd '1-0'. Because of that," He told the BBC years later. "I think that's, what would you call it? Arrogance or over-confidence. It was ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.”

Eric Cantona’s volley settled an otherwise dull match 1-0 in favour of the Red Devils.

1997 - Roberto Di Matteo’s record-breaking strike

Crazy as it may be to believe today, ahead of the 1997 FA Cup final, Chelsea hadn’t won a major trophy for nearly 26 years.

Up against a Middlesbrough side back at Wembley having already lost that season’s League Cup final to Leicester, any nerves in the Blues camp were settled after just 42 seconds.

Despite Boro kicking off, Dennis Wise won the ball and found Roberto Di Matteo inside the Chelsea half before the Italian, suddenly with acres of space in front of him, set off on a run.

Approaching the Middlesbrough goal, few would have expected what was to follow as the midfielder hit a rocket of a shot, beating goalkeeper Ben Roberts and flying in off the underside of the crossbar.

Helping Ruud Gullit’s side to a 2-0 win, it was the fastest goal in cup final history, and remained so for twelve years until 2009 when, funnily enough, Chelsea were on the receiving end as Louis Saha scored after just 25 seconds for Everton.

Chelsea's Roberto di Matteo scores what was the fastest ever FA Cup Final goal (Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images)
Chelsea's Roberto di Matteo scores what was the fastest ever FA Cup Final goal (Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images)

2002 - It’s only Ray Parlour

London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea went head to head in the 2002 cup final and broadcaster Sky provided an option to hear commentary of the game from ‘celebrity’ fans of each club.

TV presenters Bradley Walsh and Tim Lovejoy representing the Gunners and the Blues respectively sat side-by-side in the commentary booth giving their views.

With 20 minutes left on the clock and the teams deadlocked at 0-0, Ray Parlour picked up the ball for Arsenal and made a charge for goal.

Lovejoy, confident that the former England midfielder posed no threat uttered the immortal line “it’s only Ray Parlour” seconds before the Arsenal man let fly with sensational long-range strike into the top corner.

Arsenal went on to win 2-0.

Arsenal's Ray Parlour scores for Arsenal (Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images)
Arsenal's Ray Parlour scores for Arsenal (Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images)

2006 - Steven Gerrard v West Ham

Twelve months on from leading the Reds to that astonishing Champions League success against AC Milan, Steven Gerrard put in another fantastic captain’s performance in Cardiff as Liverpool beat West Ham to lift the trophy.

An own goal from Jamie Carragher and an error from Pepe Riena saw Liverpool go 2-0 down to the Hammers, but Gerrard then produced a fantastic pass for Djibril Cissé to half the deficit before his brilliant strike made it 2-2.

West Ham scored again through Paul Kochesky and looked to have done enough to secure the win but once again, it was left to Gerrard to be the hero.

The Hammers thought they’d cleared a last minute Liverpool cross into the penalty area, but the ball came to the Reds’ skipper 35 yards from goal.

He unleashed a blistering half-volley which flew past Shaka Hislop to make the score 3-3.

Liverpool went on the win on penalties.

Gerrard scores Liverpool last-gasp equaliser (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Gerrard scores Liverpool last-gasp equaliser (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

2013 - Ben Watson’s header v City

With relegation just days from being confirmed, Wigan Athletic were about to end an eight-year spell in the top flight and few would have given them a prayer in their first-ever FA Cup final.

Having been deposed as Premier League champions that year, City were overwhelming favourites as they looked to salvage their season with some silverware at Wembley.

However, it didn’t quite go to plan for the soon-to-be departing Roberto Mancini as substitute Ben Watson’s stoppage time header gave Wigan a shock 1-0 win.

Roberto Martinez’s side became the first team to win the trophy and suffer relegation in the same season.

Match-winner Ben Watson celebrates with the FA Cup after Wigan beat Manchester City (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)
Match-winner Ben Watson celebrates with the FA Cup after Wigan beat Manchester City (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

2016 - Alan Pardew’s dance

Modern technology sees near enough everything and preserves it for what may well be all eternity.

When Jason Puncheon hammered home the opening goal for Crystal Palace against Manchester United in the 2016 final, the TV cameras cut to his manager Alan Pardew on the touchline.

The then-Eagles boss was captured celebrating before breaking out into a dance that just screams drunk uncle at a wedding.

A moment of infamy that spawned gifs and parodies across the internet.

The fact that Palace actually went on to eventually lose the match 2-1 just made the whole thing all more tragic.

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