6 Arsenal cup kings to inspire Emirates FA Cup Semi-Finalists
Gunners looking for third triumph in four seasons
Arsenal head into Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup Semi-Final against Manchester City as clear underdogs, having struggled for form since the start of 2017. But nobody has had more success in this competition than the Gunners. They’ve lifted the trophy a joint-record 12 times, including twice in the past three seasons. So, Ladbrokes News have taken a trip down memory lane to pick out six FA Cup heroes to inspire the current crop this weekend…
Jack Lambert (1926-33)
One of the first men to make it into the 100 goal club at Arsenal, the hulking hitman spent seven successful seasons with the Gunners. But it was his feats in the 1929-30 FA Cup run which landed the club’s first ever major trophy which ensured his legacy. The Yorkshire-born striker netted in the 2-0 Fifth Round defeat of Middlesbrough, before grabbing a brace in the 3-0 Sixth Round rout of West Ham at a packed Upton Park.
Cometh the Final, cometh the man. Herbert Chapman’s Gunners faced their gaffer’s former club – Huddersfield Town – at Wembley. And after Alex James’ opener for the North London club, Lambert secured cup glory by making it 2-0 in the closing minutes. We doff our flat cap to him…
Reg Lewis (1935-1953)
The very definition of a ‘club servant’, Lewis made his senior debut for Arsenal as an 18-year-old, and after a stint in the British Army, fighting on the Rhine in World War II, he returned to his previous occupation of goalscoring. So it was hugely fitting that he was the man to secure the Gunners first trophy in 14 years, with victory over Liverpool in the 1950 FA Cup Final. Having registered against Burnley in the Fifth Round, he then grabbed the only goal of the game the next tie, away at second-tier Leeds United.
However, the Final proved a much tougher prospect – against First Division heavyweights Liverpool. But Lewis proved the difference, scoring twice in a 2-0 victory at Wembley, with his second a thundering finish. Outstanding stuff.
Charlie George (1968-75)
A boyhood Arsenal fan from Islington who starred on the big occasion, the long-haired maestro almost single-handedly guided Bertie Mee’s side to Wembley glory back in 1971 – as the capital club secured a league and FA Cup double. After a nervy Fourth Round draw with Portsmouth at Fratton Park, George opened the scoring in a 3-0 Replay victory, and duly went on to score four more times in the tournament.
The local lad then netted a brace against Manchester City, before scoring the only goal in the Sixth Round replay against Leicester City, and – of course – that unforgettable extra-time screamer against Liverpool to win the Final. And all that at the tender age of 20!
Ray Parlour (1992-2004)
It just wasn’t an FA Cup triumph without Ray Parlour being involved, during this period. The ‘Romford Pele’ played in five finals, with Arsenal winning the trophy on four occasions – in 1993, 1998, 2002 and 2003. While his excellent display in the ’03 victory over Southampton is unfairly overlooked, there’s little doubt that the previous year’s 2-0 triumph against Chelsea at the Millenium Stadium remains his cup pinnacle.
“It’s only Ray Parlour”, claimed Tim Lovejoy, as the popular midfielder picked up the ball with the scores level at 0-0, and duly smashed the ball past Carlo Cudicini. Touché.
David Seaman (1990-2003)
It was a toss-up between 2004’s penalty shoot-out hero Jens Lehmann and his predecessor for this spot, but the Rotherham-born stopper just about edges it, having lifted the trophy four times as an Arsenal player – keeping three clean sheets in those Finals.
However, his most memorable contribution in this competition came against Sheffield United in the 2003 Semi-Final. With Arsenal 1-0 up in the dying minutes, Seaman produced perhaps the save of his career, keeping out Blades’ forward Paul Peschisolido with an unbelievable one-handed save. Truly unforgettable.
Laurent Koscielny (2010-present)
2-0 down within eight minutes gone in the 2014 FA Cup final, even the most optimistic Arsenal fan may have struggled to see a way back against a Hull City side playing out of their skin. However, Santi Cazorla grabbed a goal back in the 17th minute. But with the Tigers still 2-1 up heading into the final 20 minutes, Gunners fans will have been worrying once again.
Step forward Laurent Koscielny. The French centre-back deftly nutmegged Allan McGregor to level the scores – and the rest is history. And while the 31-year-old didn’t manage to find the net in the following season’s 4-0 demolition of Aston Villa at Wembley, he produced another composed defensive display to secure back-to-back titles in this competition.
The question is – can he boost that legacy on Sunday?