Ranking the greatest FA Cup final goals
What is the greatest goal ever scored in an FA Cup final? We've ranked eight of the best from previous years.
With the 2020 FA Cup final originally scheduled to take place on 23 May, we decided to rank the greatest goals scored in previous finals.
Each goal has been judged by three criteria.
Quality: How good was the goal?
Importance: How much impact did the goal have on the outcome of the game?
Memorability: How memorable was the goal? Is it still talked about?
Each goal has been ranked between 1-5 in each category, with 5 being the best score and 1 the worst. The scores were then added up to give us our final order.
Read our rankings below then head to our Twitter page and vote in a poll to decide which goal you think is the best in FA Cup final history.
8. Ben Watson | Wigan 1-0 Manchester City | 2013
A simple outswinging corner met by a glancing header at the near post – on the face of it, Watson’s winner shouldn’t really be on this list.
Great goals are, however, the sum of their parts, and few can beat this one for context.
Wigan, sitting 18th in the Premier League and looking nailed-on for relegation, were playing in their first FA Cup final. Watson, meanwhile, had missed most of the season with a broken leg and started on the bench before being introduced in the 81st minute.
Ten minutes later and the midfielder, leaping off the leg he had broken, planted his header into the net. Try telling Wigan fans that the FA Cup has lost its magic.
7. Keith Houchen | Coventry 3-2 Tottenham | 1987
There is no doubt that the quality of football in England has improved massively over the last 30 years, but the loss of diving headers to the modern game is a real tragedy.
Keith Houchen’s equaliser against Spurs in the 1987 final is a perfect example of the art.
After feeding Dave Bennett on the right, Houchen made a late run into the box before stooping to head home Coventry’s second and take the game to extra time.
The Sky Blues would go on to win the match 3-2, sealing Houchen’s place at no.7 on our list.
6. Michael Owen | Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal | 2001
The 2001 showpiece is better known as ‘The Michael Owen final,’ and rightly so.
Following his acrobatic 83rd-minute equaliser, Owen sealed Liverpool’s comeback with a goal that demonstrated exactly why he was one of the greatest strikers of his generation.
Racing onto Patrik Berger’s ball over the top, Owen outpaced Tony Adams and Lee Dixon before firing a left-footed shot into the far corner from a tight angle.
Not only did this goal help Liverpool secure an FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup treble, but it also propelled Owen to continental stardom as he won the Ballon D’Or seven months later.
5. Ray Parlour | Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea | 2002
“It’s alright, it’s only Ray Parlour” muttered Tim Lovejoy on FanZone comms as the Arsenal midfielder shaped to shoot from 25 yards.
A second later and the ball was in the net, with Parlour having netted one of the all-time great FA Cup final goals.
The Romford Pele scored just 22 times across his entire career, but even the greatest goalscorers would be proud of this one.
An honourable mention to teammate Freddie Ljungberg, though, as his brilliant second narrowly missed out on this list.
4. Norman Whiteside | Manchester United 1-0 Everton | 1985
This is probably the most underrated goal on this list, and one that many will have forgotten.
Picking up the ball on the right wing, Whiteside calmly made his way into the box, threw off the defender with a stepover before stroking the ball into the far corner.
Not only was it a goal of great quality, but it put 10-man United ahead with just 10 minutes remaining in extra time.
3. Roberto Di Matteo | Chelsea 2-0 Middlesbrough | 1997
Di Matteo’s famous goal in 1997 can be best described as a thunderbastard.
After bringing the ball from inside own half to 30 yards from goal, Di Matteo unleashed a stonking strike that clipped the bar before hitting the net.
His shot was so powerful that Boro goalkeeper Ben Roberts couldn’t get a hand on the ball despite being right in line with it.
The goal is made even more memorable by the fact it came after just 45 seconds, and put Chelsea on course for a comfortable 2-0 win.
2. Steven Gerrard | Liverpool 3-3 West Ham | 2006*
In a career full of iconic strikes, this was Gerrard’s very best.
With Liverpool 3-2 down and the tannoy blaring out to signal the start of injury time, Gerrard hammered home the volley to end all volleys.
It doesn’t really need any more description than that – everyone knows this goal so well.
Gerrard’s effort saw the match go to penalties, with Liverpool eventually winning their seventh FA Cup.
*This goal misses out on top spot despite scoring full marks due to the fact it was an equaliser, and not a winner.
1. Ricky Villa | Tottenham 3-2 Manchester City | 1981
Where Gerrard’s goal relied on power, Villa’s relied on pure class.
When he received the ball from Tony Galvin, Villa was 40 yards out with five defenders between him and the goal.
Undeterred, the fleet-footed Argentine took the ball past one, then another, and another before slotting past an onrushing Joe Corrigan.
The tie had already been taken to a replay, so it was fitting that it took a moment of such quality to settle things as Villa’s goal secured a 3-2 win for Spurs.
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