Almost upon us once again is the end of season clash.
Since the end of the war there have been 66 finals and many of them unique in one way or the other.
There have been many changes to the format over the years. Long gone are the replays. Obviously to make way for European Competitions. Even the semi-finals no longer go to more than one game. Also the semi-finals are now played at Wembley.
Some famous semi-final tussles went beyond a single game. Three games were not unusual but who can forget the FOUR games ARSENAL v LIVERPOOL in 1980? Are these changes for the better or not. I think the football enthusiast will go for a NOT vote.
I’ve been looking at the past results, (from 1946 onwards), to see if there are any outstanding pointers to the potential winner.
The first FINAL after the war was between Derby County and Charlton Athletic. A the final whistle Bert Turner the Athletic’s Left Half has scored for both sides. Still the only occasion this has happened. Three extra time goals won the trophy for Derby. This set the scene for some epic battles to the end of the forties. The four finals to end that era produced SIXTEEN goals. Unfortunateley defences have tightened up since then.
In the 66 games played, I have ignored the initial games which required a replay and used the score from the replayed match.
Where extra-time was played I have used the final score for the stats.
There have been two games which went to penalties.
There hasn’t been a goalfest since the “Matthews Final” in 1953 when there were 7 goals in all.
Most games are well contested and goals are generally at a premium. In 46 games there have been no more than 3 goals between the sides.
A full break-down of scores is as follows+
1 - 0 21 games. 2 - 0 11 " 2 - 1 11 " 3 - 0 3 " 3 - 1 6 " 3 - 2 7 " 4 - 0 2 " 4 - 1 1 " 4 - 2 1 " 4 - 3 1 "
The two games missing from this list are the matches which went to penalties, in 2005 and 2006.
Four of the last five finals have ended 1 – 0.
Few sides suffer back to back defeats. Man.Utd (’57 + ’58), Everton (’85 + ’86) and Newcastle (’98 + ’99).
Back to back wins are just as rare. It has happened on three occasions by two London clubs.
‘Spurs, twice (’61 + ’62, and ’81 + ’82) and Arsenal, (’79 + ’80).
Similarly The League Champions designate for each season rarely have a say in the destination of the Cup. However between 1994 and 1999 there were a total of four Premiership/ F.A. Cup doubles. From a total of Nine in the sixty-six Post War years.
In my article on January 3rd 2012, “The Next Steps”, you’ll find near the end, “The F.A. Cup Again”. Anyone who took my advice will be holding tickets for BOTH of this years finalists.
As is well known, I am an advocate of keeping to the middle two quarters of the league tables. Leaving the top and bottom quarters to the more adventurous forecasters. Over the past 6 or so weeks there have been at least eight results which ruined many coupons. They all invovled teams in the top and/or bottom quarters of the table. Leave the “certs” to others. Keep to the middle of the road. And miss out on those “coupon-busters”.