The first edition of the England FA Cup was played in the 1871-72 season, making it the oldest soccer tournament in the world. Wanderers won the first, while Manchester City won the latest after defeating Manchester United 2-1 in the final at Wembley.
Overall, no other team has won more England FA Cup titles than Arsenal with 14. The Gunners are followed by Manchester United with 12. Those are the only teams that have won it more than 10 times.
Winning the England FA Cup isn’t easy. Only four teams have been able to win consecutive titles: Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Tottenham and Arsenal. Precisely, the Gunners were the last after winning it in 2014 and 2015.
As expected, the English Premier League squads tend to dominate the competition. In fact, the Grand Finale has never been played by teams from outside the top division. However, there have been eight champions who weren’t in the EPL. West Ham United was the last one in 1980.
Cardiff City also deserves a special mention because the Bluebirds are the only non-English team that has won the tournament. They did it in 1927.
Individually, a lot of superstars took advantage of the England FA Cup to boost their careers, including Frank Lampard, Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane. Nevertheless, none took more advantage of it than Ian Rush, who’s the tournament’s all-time top scorer with 41 goals.
How the Championship Works
First, it’s important to understand that the England FA Cup is a knockout tournament with no seeding. That means that each round is determined by a random draw. Speaking of rounds, the tournament consists of 12 rounds, the semifinals and the Grand Finale.
The most interesting thing about the FA Cup is that it’s open to all eligible clubs down to level nine of the English Football system. The EPL is level 1. While the tournament consists of 12 rounds, the EPL teams start playing in the third round. That means that a team from the EPL needs to win six games to be crowned.
We’re talking about a knockout tournament, meaning that losing one game is enough to be eliminated. Beginning in the fourth round, if a match finish with a draw, those teams must collide again at the venue of the away team. If the second match also ends with a draw, extra time and penalties come into play. There’s also the fact that the semifinals and the final are played at Wembley.
Finally, keep in mind that the England FA Cup begins in August with the preliminary rounds, while the Grand Finale is scheduled for May. Only two teams have managed to win the FA Cup while also winning the domestic league and the continental tournament they play: Manchester United in 1999 and Manchester City in 2023.
Yes, the EPL powerhouses are usually in control of the England FA Cup odds. For example, there’s no doubt that Manchester City will come in as the favorite to win the 2023-24 edition. The Citizens will play with much less pressure and pretty much the entire squad will return, including Erling Haaland, arguably the best striker in the world.
In addition to being the team that won the most England FA cup titles, Arsenal is thirsty for revenge after failing to win a trophy in 2023-23. The Gunners led the EPL for 248 days but ended up losing the race to the Citizens.
We also must include Manchester United, last season’s runner-up. The Red Devils reached the final for the first time since the 2017-18 season. They also won the EFL Cup, which allowed them to regain a lot of confidence. Finally, rumor has it that they’ll try to sign Kylian Mbappe, who already informed PSG that he won’t extend his contract.
If you’re interested in dark horses, make sure to keep an eye on Newcastle, Brighton and Aston Villa. The Magpies finished fourth in the EPL, while the Seagulls finished sixth and the Villagers finished seventh. There’s also Leicester City. The Foxes were relegated to the Championship, but the talent is there, and they’ll go all-in right from the start in all fronts to get back into the elite.