Is the Magic of the FA Cup Still Alive?

Posted by Jay Hodgson on

The FA Cup, known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup was first played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest national football competition in the world.

The FA Cup holds a special place in the hearts of all the English Football fans, this weekend sees the fourth round of fixtures taking place but is the magic of the FA Cup still alive?

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Qualifying

The competition is open to any eligible club down to Level 10 of the English football league system. The first six rounds are the Qualifying Competition, from which 32 teams progress to the first round of the Competition.

They meet the first of the 48 professional teams from Leagues One and Two. The last entrants are the Premier League and Championship clubs, they come into the draw for the Third Round.

In the modern era, only one non-league team has ever reached the quarter-finals (Lincoln City), and teams below league 2 have never reached the final.

Significant focus is given to "minnows" (smaller teams) who progress furthest, especially if they achieve an unlikely "giant-killing" victory.

Winners receive the trophy, a place in the Europa League and a game against the league winners in the FA Community Shield at the start of the new season.

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History

Arsenal are the most successful club in FA Cup history with a record 13 wins, they are closely followed by Manchester United who have lifted the cup 12 times.

Not surprisingly former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger is the most successful manager in the competition having won seven finals.

The current holders are Chelsea who beat Manchester United in the final 1-0 in the 2018 final.

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Famous Upsets

2013

Manchester City 0-1 Wigan

The new Wembley hasn’t seen many classic FA Cup matches since staging its first in 2007 but it did deliver a huge upset back in 2013.

Roberto Mancini was expected to deliver a consolation prize in the Cup having seen his Manchester City team stumble behind Manchester United in the race for the Premier League title.

Wigan had other ideas as Ben Watson pounced to score a stoppage-time header and win the Latics their first ever major piece of silverware.

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2015

Chelsea 2-4 Bradford City

League One side Bradford City produced an amazing comeback from 2-0 down to beat Premier League leaders Chelsea in a thrilling FA Cup fourth-round tie.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had said it "would be a disgrace" if they lost the game and despite making nine changes to his starting line-up, still fielded a strong side.

They had won all 10 of their Premier League matches at Stamford Bridge this season and had been pushing for an unprecedented quadruple in English football - the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup.

However, their defeat added to an incredible fourth round of the FA Cup that had also seen Manchester United draw 0-0 at League Two side Cambridge United and Manchester City lose 2-0 at home to Championship club Middlesbrough.

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The Magic?

Sure big clubs consider the Premier League and Champions League to be more important, but it's not all about the big teams all the time.

For fans of smaller clubs the FA Cup is the chance to visit grounds like Old Trafford and Anfield for the very first time. And its here at these games you get to see your players mix it up with the likes of Eden Hazard and David Silva.

In that regard it's as special for the players as it is the fans, both of whom dream of doing the unthinkable - making it to Wembley.

So here’s to the minnows and the hope of seeing some giant killings, If that prospect alone isn't magical, then what is?

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