The FA Cup has a reputation for producing giant killings and shocks and the romance of the Cup is a popular phrase. However, ultimately the cream rises to the top and one of the superpowers of English football end up running round Wembley with the Cup. Since the start of the Premiere League era before the 1992/93 season the average finishing league position of the winner is fourth, The losing finalists are typically a Premier League team and in the top 10 more often or not. Lower ranked teams do reach the last four but class then prevails.
Despite being the most famous domestic football competition in the world the English Football Association Cup is behind the Premier League and Champions League in the hierarchy of targets for the big clubs. Money talks in football and the richest British clubs still dominate the FA Cup. The top six teams in the Premier League are set in stone and it’s very difficult to break into that elite group. The winners of the FA Cup qualify for the Europa League and the winners of the Europa League qualify for the Champions League so there is a route into the most lucrative competition in football.
Manchester United and Chelsea contest the 2018 Cup Final on the 19th of May. The semi-finals are now played at Wembley which does devalue the final. In a bizarre clash of scheduling there is a Royal Wedding on Cup Final day in this year. Both global events will be staged at an iconic venue in the London area. There are two factions involved and lots of alcohol will be consumed and there could be a fight towards the end of the day. The 2018 final is a repeat of the 1994 final which United won 4-0. Both teams have scored in four of the last six finals.
West Ham were the last Cup winners from outside the top division and that was in 1980. A club from the top division has won the Cup in every year during the Premier League era. Millwall and Cardiff from the Championship reached the final in 2004 and 2008 but every other finalist was a Premier League club. In 2013 Wigan lifted the trophy at Wembley but were also relegated. Arsenal have won the FA Cup in three of the last four years. Chelsea have won the trophy four times since 2007 and Manchester United beat Crystal Palace in the 2016 final for their last win.
Arsenal are the winning most team with 13 wins in the FA Cup from 1930 to 2017. They have also lost seven finals so have made most appearances in the match. United are just one win away and they have also lost seven times in the biggest match in English football. Chelsea have won the trophy seven times but not since 2012 and they have lost five finals, most recently against Arsenal in 2017. Tottenham are third in the list of Cup winners but the last of their eight wins was in 1991.
There have been 18 finals since the start of the century and exactly half have produced more than two goals. The most popular score is 1-0 and the most common number of goals scored by one team is one. Two of the last four finals were decided after extra time but the last penalty shoot out was in 2006. That final saw six goals which makes it the highest scoring decider over the last 25 years. The trends of statistics suggest Manchester United will beat Chelsea 2-1 in the 2018 Cup Final.