Wednesday, May 25

The best FA Cup final goals of all-time – ranked

The FA Cup.

It may have been devalued a little in recent years thanks to the cold, hard cash on offer in other competitions, but it remains one of the top honours a footballer in England can ever hope to win, and it continues to make dreams come true.

Just ask Leicester City, who won the competition for the first time ever in 2021, and did so thanks to one of the best goals you are ever likely to see from Youri Tielemans.

It takes some bottle to rocket one in from 25 yards in one of the biggest games of your life, but the Belgian is by no means the first to grace an FA Cup final with a stunner.

Oh no, the competition’s 149-year history has seen some absolute screamers, and we’re here to celebrate the very best of them.

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The 17-year career of midfielder Michael Thomas is best remembered for two moments.

One is the injury time goal that won the league for Arsenal ahead of Liverpool in 1988.

The other redeemed him in the eyes of the Reds as he struck home a wonderful half-volley to get them on their way to winning the FA Cup in 1992.

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The most 1990s English football goal you’ll ever see.

Free-kick from the edge of the box. No fuss, no dip, no swerve, no nonsense. Right into the top corner.

Have it.

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116 minutes were on the clock before we got the opening goal in the 2007 FA Cup final, but my word was it worth the wait.

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You’ll have to skip to 4.30 in the video above to see it, but Drogba’s deft one-two with Lampard, before running onto the ball and lifting it beyond Edwin van der Sar is just *chef’s kiss*.

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Speaking of *chef’s kiss*, how about a stoppage time winner from Michael Owen to clinch the 2002 FA Cup for Liverpool?

It was as route one as you’ll get, but the pace and composure on show from a baby-faced Owen to race past Tony Adams and Lee Dixon and fire the ball across David Seaman into the far corner was out of this world.

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This one makes the cut just for the sheer out-of-nowhere-ness of it.

The ball comes in from the right, it’s half cleared by Damien Delaney, and then Jesse Lingard absolutely wallops it into the top corner on the volley.

The strike came 20 minutes into extra-time and eventually won the final for Manchester United.

This is the reason we’re all here.

It was one of the first games in the UK with a substantial amount of fans in attendance in more than a year, and they were all treated to an absolute scorcher.

Why none of the Chelsea midfielders elected to close him down is anyone’s guess but take nothing away from the strike as Tielemans arrowed one across Kepa Arrizabalaga right into the top corner.

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The precision and height of the ball made for one of the most aesthetically pleasing strikes you’re ever likely to see.

If Pearce’s strike for Forrest was the quintessential 90s free-kick, then Cazorla’s here is the textbook modern day effort.

Absurd technique, and bonus points for showboating by going across the keeper rather than over the wall.

Questions over Allan McGregor’s positioning, granted, but he could have been stood under the ball and he still wouldn’t have gotten near it.

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The build-up to this one was Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal at their very best. On the counter, Patrice Vieira took responsibility, weaving through a couple of challenges before freeing Parlour to have a run at goal.

The ‘Romford Pele’ wasn’t exactly known for his goalscoring prowess, but he let rip here with an effort that was brilliant in equal parts for his quick feet to get away from William Gallas and the precise, curling finish that left Carlo Cudicini helpless.

What a bloody finish.

No words needed indeed.

Liverpool had battled back from 3-1 down to give themselves half a chance of taking the 2006 FA Cup final to extra-time, and as the ball was cleared out from the West Ham penalty area on the brink of the full-time whistle, Liverpool were just praying it would fall to Gerrard.

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And it did. All of 35 yards out.

The rest? Well, it hasn’t been branded ‘The Gerrard Final’ for nothing.

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There could only really be one, couldn’t there?

With just 42 seconds on the clock, Di Matteo’s spectacular strike against Middlesbrough was the fastest goal in FA Cup final history and remained such for 12 years until Louis Saha came along.

More importantly, though, it was a thunderbastard of a strike.

The diminutive Italian brought the ball forward from inside his own half and unloaded his strike from such a ludicrous distance that you can’t even blame any of the Boro defenders for failing to close him down.

It nearly shattered the crossbar on its way in.

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