Arsenal play Reading in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium. It’s the 28th time that the Gunners have reached the last four, and we’ve selected five of our favourite goals from previous matches at this stage of the competition. Which one do you think was best? Have your say by voting at the bottom of the page.
Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Sunday, April 8, 2001
For long periods, this semi-final looked destined for extra-time. In Glenn Hoddle’s first match in charge, Gary Doherty had given Tottenham an early lead before Patrick Vieira headed Arsenal level just after the half hour. With Sol Campbell forced off due to injury, Arsène Wenger’s men created chance after chance, but were repeatedly denied by Neil Sullivan, who saved well from Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord, Ray Parlour and Robert Pires. After 72 minutes, Arsenal finally found the breakthrough with a rapid counter-attack. Vieira was at the heart of it, striding forward from his own half after Lee Dixon and Wiltord had combined on the right. The Arsenal captain, now 30 yards from goal, slipped the ball to the overlapping Wiltord, whose low right-wing cross was steered home by an unmarked Pires at the back post. This was the Gunners at their incisive best - from Dixon heading the ball clear just outside his own penalty area, it had taken Arsenal a mere 13 seconds to score and ensure their place at Millennium Stadium in the process.
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
Monday, April 28, 1980
There seemed to be no way of separating Arsenal and Liverpool. This was the second replay of a tie that would eventually be decided after four matches and a total of 450 minutes. The teams had already drawn 0-0 after extra-time at Hillsborough and 1-1 in the rematch at Villa Park, a game in which Alan Sunderland equalised David Fairclough’s second-half opener. In the third match, also played in Birmingham, the striker was again on target, breaking both an Arsenal and FA Cup record in the process. It took Sunderland just 13 seconds to give the holders the lead - to this day still Arsenal’s fastest ever goal in the competition and at the time, the earliest ever scored in an FA Cup match. From kick-off, the ball was passed to Pat Rice in the right-back position. His lofted ball was flicked on by Frank Stapleton into the path of Sunderland. Receiving the ball 20 yards from goal, Sunderland took a touch, jinked his way past a challenge using his right foot and emphatically shot past Ray Clemence on his left. It was a superbly-taken goal, but Kenny Dalglish’s late equaliser ensured another replay, which was settled by Brian Talbot’s 11th-minute effort. Having played 10 times in the competition en route to the final, Arsenal were beaten 1-0 by West Ham United.
Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Sunday, April 4, 1993
It took Arsenal two years to exact revenge. George Graham’s team had been denied a chance of the Double in 1991 when they were beaten 3-1 by Tottenham in a Wembley FA Cup semi-final. The same venue hosted this fixture, which looked destined to finish goalless approaching the final 10 minutes. Step forward Tony Adams. Arsenal were awarded a free-kick just outside the box, on the right side of the penalty area. Paul Merson curled it to the back post where Adams, arriving late into the box, powered a header past Eric Thorstvedt. Arsenal would go on to beat Sheffield Wednesday after a replay in the final, with Andy Linighan scoring the winning goal deep into extra-time. Linighan’s header secured an unprecedented cup double - Arsenal had already beaten the same opponents in the final of the League Cup.
Arsenal 3-0 Orient
Saturday, April 8, 1978
Terry Neill’s side were already well on the way to a ninth FA Cup final appearance after Malcolm Macdonald scored twice in the space of four-first half minutes against Division Two team Leyton Orient. There may have been a touch of fortune about Arsenal’s first two goals, but Graham Rix’s third was pure class. With 20 minutes of the second half played, the midfielder received the ball just inside his own half and began to run at the Orient defence. Shifting the ball from side to side at pace, he glided past two defenders before reaching the penalty area. On the left side of the box and at a tight angle, Rix shot low, the pace of the ball beating goalkeeper John Jackson. Arsenal would go on to lose the final, against Ipswich Town at Wembley.
Wigan Athletic 1-1 Arsenal (Arsenal win 4-2 on pens)
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Per Mertesacker had not scored an FA Cup goal before this Wembley semi-final - he could scarcely have picked a more crucial time to get off the mark in the competition. Arsenal were trailing Championship side Wigan Athletic to Jordi Gomez’s 63rd-minute penalty, conceded when Mertesacker tripped Callum McManaman. His redemption came eight minutes from time. When Wigan failed to clear a set-piece, Yaya Sanogo touched the ball back to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain just outside the penalty area. The England midfielder’s first-time effort was hit into the ground and bounced over the Wigan defence, allowing Mertesacker to stoop low and head the ball beyond Scott Carson from inside the six-yard box. Arsenal went on to win the ensuing penalty shoot-out thanks in part to Lukasz Fabianski saving from Gary Caldwell and Jack Collison.
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