Arsenal FC – Our record against Man U in the FA Cup

Amazingly, out of the 14 times we’ve been drawn against Man U in the FA Cup (it’ll be 15 with Friday’s game), the record stands at 7 wins each. You’ll never guess how the goals for and against stand either – yep, 19 a-piece.

Of course our record is far superior because we’ve won 2 Finals (the less said about semi-finals, the better).

So in the FA Cup (and before Friday’s 4th Round tie) we’ve played the red mancs:

  •   at neutral venues in 2 Finals and 3 Semi-Finals (1 of those going to a replay);
  •   in 2 home games;
  •   and in 7 where we were drawn away.

Maybe just documenting the wins would seem a sensible option 🙂 – so here goes.


10th March 1906 – Man U 2 Woolwich Arsenal  3 – Quarter Final

Venue – Bank Street, Clayton – attendance 26,500

Our first FA cup game against Manchester United was an away quarter-final fixture on March 10, 1906.

The attendance at the game was reported as just shy of 30,000 by The Manchester Courier. Gate receipts totalled £951- and admission was only three-and-a-half pence.

Arsenal team: J Ashcroft; A Cross, J Sharp; J Bigden, P Sands, R McEachrane; B Templeton, B Garbutt, B Freeman; T Coleman, T Fitchie

Hosts United, were third in the Second Division at the time, while Arsenal were in the midst of a relegation battle in the top tier.

Charlie Sager opened the scoring for the hosts within one minute of referee J.B. Brodie’s first whistle. But the United supporters had barely captured their breath before the Gunners were on equal terms. From the re-start, Arsenal advanced and Billy Garbutt forced United keeper Harry Moger to parry into the path of the prolific Bert Freeman, who tucked away the rebound. Around the half-hour mark, Peddie restored United’s lead with a neat, high finish but the visitors went into the break level after Tim Coleman netted from close range.

The second half was all about one man: Arsenal’s first England international, goalkeeper Jimmy Ashcroft. United looked threatening throughout the second half but the brilliance of Ashcroft proved to be decisive. United’s Charlie Roberts was man-marking Tom Fitchie but that gave speedy Freeman space to run and the forward tucked in his second after a splendid dribble, handing Arsenal the lead for the first time in the match.

Despite United’s best efforts to force a replay there was no way past Ashcroft and, at the final whistle, the 28-year-old was carried off the field on the shoulders of his jubilant peers.


30th January 1937 – Arsenal 5 Man U 0 – 4th Round

Venue – Highbury – attendance 45,637

Arsenal were cruising through the Thirties, Cliff Bastin, Ted Drake and Alex James regularly trampling over other teams. We were the FA Cup holders, they were second in Division One, and the following season the Gunners would win our fifth title of the decade.

United, on the other hand, had been bouncing between the bottom of the First Division and top of the second since the end of the first World War. Promoted in 1936, they were bottom of the table when 1937 was ushered in.

A cup shock might have been on the cards but the home team went three goals up in seven minutes.

This result still stands as Arsenal’s largest home victory over United. Bastin opened the scoring from distance before Jimmy Brown put the ball into his own net under pressure from Ted Drake. The third went to Alf Kirchen, and before half-time the rampant home team added a fourth when Robert Trimming Davidson (Con) sent a cross-shot past Thomas Breen.

With regard to the spirit of the competition, United attempted to attack in the second half, but were unable to dig out anything remotely resembling a goal. Drake nodded home a deserved fifth, and the Times had this to say:

The ground was an unpleasant mixture of melting snow and mud, and its surface was very treacherous. The accuracy and speed with which Arsenal carried out their movements was therefore all the more remarkable.

As for United? A journalistic ‘well played’.

Manchester United were outplayed from the start of the game, but they must be given every credit for the way in which they stuck to a hopeless task, and for the spectators and players alike the game was made all the more enjoyable by the fact that never once did the Manchester players attempt to stoop to the employment of questionable tactics. (This was to change in the Ferguson era….ed)


12th May 1979 – Arsenal 3 Man U 2 – FINAL

Venue – Wembley – attendance 100,000

Between the two of them, United and Arsenal have played in 34 of the 133 FA Cup finals. But have only run into each other twice.  For 85 minutes of the 1979 final, Arsenal strolled around, Liam Brady purring like a majestic, ball-playing panther. Brian Talbot scored the first goal after 12 minutes, Frank Stapleton added the second just before half time, and as the clock ticked around to five o’clock, the contest looked done.

Then everything went mammaries up. In the 86th minute Steve Coppell slung a free-kick across the Arsenal penalty area, Joe Jordan sent it back into the middle, and Gordon McQueen poked the ball home. And just two minutes later, Sammy McIlroy danced past two stumbling defenders and slipped the ball underneath Pat Jennings.

Supporters heads went down. From the restart, Brady (who later claimed that he was just trying to get the ball out of the Arsenal half and away from his shell-shocked defenders) bustled his way to the edge of the United penalty area, then poked the ball wide to Graham Rix. He chipped the ball to the far post; United’s keeper Gary Bailey, perhaps anticipating a low cross, flapped and arriving at the far post, Alan Sunderland tucked the ball home before running off screaming and clenching his fists.


20th February 1988 – Arsenal 2 Man U 1 – 5th Round

Venue – Highbury – attendance 54,161

The following is the match report from an SBNation article on memorable Arsenal v Man U FA Cup matches

There is, on the face of it, no logical reason why Brian McClair shouldn’t have taken this penalty. He was a decent footballer, he wasn’t likely to lose his bottle or his legs in the course of his run up and, by the time he stepped up in the last minute of this fifth round tie, he’d already scored four from the spot that season.

It was 2-1 to Arsenal when he did. United came into the game in good spirits; they’d beaten Arsenal at Highbury a couple of weeks previously, and were in good away form generally. Arsenal, for their part, were slumping a touch in the league: apart from two cup games against lower-league opposition, they’d won just twice since the beginning of December.

So naturally, Arsenal started like a proper football team and United started like a rabble. The first goal is remarkable for the defensive chaos in the visitor’s ranks: each desperate hack clear only created a greater hole, and by the time Nigel Winterburn clipped a cross onto Alan Smith’s head, there were more attacking players in the six-yard box than there were defenders. This was followed by a perfect corner routine: Mike Duxbury rose and flicked the ball on, then his teammate Gordon Strachan crashed the ball into the roof of the net. His own net.

We can, perhaps, assume that the half-time break brought an early deployment of the Alex Ferguson hairdryer, for United steamed into their opponents after the break. McClair nicked one back with a sweet left-footed volley, and a couple of other efforts were hacked from the line. Then, with three minutes left, Norman Whiteside was tripped in the area by Michael Thomas, and up stepped McClair.

“This defeat amounted to a kind of funeral for Manchester United’s season,” wrote Hugh McIlvanney in the Observer, “and Brian McClair will be remembered as the undertaker.” But as United’s season died, something else was born: in the aftermath of the missed penalty, Winterburn took the opportunity to share some feelings with his dejected opponent. Winterburn has claimed not to remember what  he said precisely, though The Sledger’s Handbook by Liam McCann records that he delivered the positively Wildean dismissal: “You’re shit, you are”.

Whatever was said, it stung. Two years later, up at Old Trafford, Winterburn dived into a tackle, McClair dived into Winterburn, and one of English football’s most notable 21-man brawls unfolded. (Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman was the conscientious objector.) Both teams were docked points, and a glorious rivalry was born — one that would rumble through much of the 1990s and 2000s, taking in Martin Keown and Ruud van Nistelrooy, Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira, before reaching a farcical nadir (or zenith, if you’re that way inclined) when Cesc Fabregas allegedly lobbed a slice of pizza at Alex Ferguson.


15th February 2003 – Man U 0 Arsenal 2 – 5th Round

Venue – Old Trafford – attendance 67,209

Being able to rest Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp and still stroll to a comfortable 2-0 victory was the curious tale of this fifth round tie.

Goals from Edu Gaspar and Sylvain Wiltord either side of half time sealed the victory but not before Bryan Giggs had missed an open goal after rounding Spunky. This game will be remembered for a fiery start and fairly typical of what became Ferguson’s gruesome attempts to kick Arsenal off the pitch. Jeff Winter had to call the captains together to calm the situation. It’s a shame that other referees since haven’t had the necessary cojones to stamp on Fergie’s bully boy tactics in a similar manner.


21st May 2005 – Man U 0 Arsenal 0  (5-4 on penalties to the good guys) – FINAL

Venue – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff – attendance 71,876

We beat United 0-0. Or rather they should have romped the match but somehow it finished goalless. 9 penalties out of 10 were scored including the decisive last one which turned out to be Patrick Vieira’s final kick in an Arsenal shirt. Paul (Mr Charisma) Scholes succumbed to the baying of the Arsenal fans to miss the only spotkick of the ten taken.


9th March 2015 – Man U 1 Arsenal 2 –  6th Round

Venue – Old Trafford – attendance 74,285

A game largely remembered for the winner scored by Danny Welbeck returning to his home town. 8,000 plus Gooners took over a corner of Old Trafford and had a wonderful evening. Nacho Monreal opened the scoring but his goal was cancelled out by Rooney’s header minutes later.

Danny’s goal was vigorously celebrated by him, the attending Arsenal faithful and millions of Gooners worldwide. Angel Di Maria was aggrieved to be cautioned for diving and was promptly sent off for petulantly grabbing at Michael Oliver’s shirt. (Michael Oliver has been getting his own back on us ever since).

We went on to smash Villa in the 2015 Final and win the Cup for the second year in succession.

Danny, Mesut and Santi, March 2015

This will be only our 3rd home game against United in the FA Cup and we won the first two – I have positive feelings about making it three in a row.

GunnerN5 plus some chas additions


26 Responses to Arsenal FC – Our record against Man U in the FA Cup

  1. Big Raddy says:

    Terrific read. Thank you.

    I was in the North Bank , right behind the goal for the McClair penalty miss. A glorious memory.

    20 years since the DB10 penalty miss at Villa Park 😱

  2. chas says:

    Too soon, BR, too soon.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    GN5/Chas, fantastic in-depth post about our FA heroics v the Mancs. So the two teams that won the FA Cup most only played each other ten times? Especially in January it seems key to play at home, so we should be pleased the game is at the home at football rather than at old toilet (and only for the third time in history from your stats!).

    Cannot wait till Friday and its great the game is on the BBC so the whole nation can watch it. COYRRGs!

  4. chas says:

    Fourteen times, TA.
    (Fifteen if you count replays)

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Okay yes Chas, I can see it now; it’s in the opening sentence. Made the typical ‘business manager’ mistake of going straight for the table!! 😳

  6. RC78 says:

    We cant win the league so we hav to throw our strengths in the Cups – my priority is UEFA Cup but the FA Cup is always nice to win as well 🙂 So I say that we go ahead and play a strong team especially against United.

    We just need to rest Koscielny, Ramsey and Aubameyang so here is the line-up:

    Leno – Lichten, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal – AMN, Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi, KOLA – Lacazette

  7. Big Raddy says:

    RC. Why rest any players? This is an important game for us, so we should play our strongest available 11.

  8. LBG says:

    Great post GN5 and Chas
    Lets hope for Manure again having to stick “to a hopeless task”…..That of defeating the mighty Gunners!
    “Rest players”!!!!?……and give Rashford and Martial free licence by playing Litch and Mustafi……..please don’t do it Dick!

  9. Rasp says:

    Amazing research GN5 and a great read, thank you. I see manu as the ultimate foe over the years, this time I fancy us to bring OGS’s winning streak to an end.The players must be excited after the performance in the last game.

  10. chas says:

  11. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all,

    Fine additions to the post Chas, thank you – as always.

    I have a positive feeling that we will beat them on Friday.

    Craig Pawson is in charge and his record refereeing us is –

    Home W2, D0, L0,
    Away W5, D2, L3.

    Hopefully he will have a good game and make the right decisions (in our favour).

  12. fred1266 says:

    Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has joined Reading on loan until the end of the season.

    The 26-year-old has made just one appearance for the Gunners in 2018-19, keeping a clean sheet in the 1-0 Europa League win over Qarabag at Emirates Stadium in December.

    Martinez, who spent last term with Getafe in LaLiga, will now spend the rest of this season at Madejski Stadium.

    “I am delighted we have been able to attract a goalkeeper of Emi’s undoubted ability to Reading,” manager Jose Gomes told the club’s website after Martinez completed his medical on Wednesday.

    “He will provide excellent competition for the goalkeeper’s position and adds quality to our group. I look forward to working with him on the training ground for the first time later today.”

    Martinez joined Arsenal from Independiente in 2010 but has managed only 14 competitive appearances.

    Reading are 22nd in the Championship table after 28 matches and two points from safety.

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    8:10 AM – Jan 23, 2019
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  13. fred1266 says:

    Mustafi and Lichtsteiner, thought u wanted us to win

    I say play same side against Chelsea and rest Koscielny and whoever in the league

    Surely we can beat cardiff with a weak side right

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Fred. I agree.

  15. chas says:

    Fred was lolling at LBG’s 10:49.
    if anyone was wondering!

  16. LBG says:

    I agree, Fred. ( What are we agreeing about?)

  17. fred1266 says:

    Yea he was saying we should play mustafi, thought it was a joke

  18. fred1266 says:

    That we should play the same side we played Chelsea

  19. fred1266 says:

    Unai Emery spoke of his admiration for former colleague Monchi amid suggestions Arsenal could look to appoint him as their sporting director.

    Earlier this week it was confirmed the Gunners’ head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will vacate his post next month after a little over a year in the role.

    According to reports, Arsenal have identified Roma’s sporting director Monchi as someone they would like to add to their technical staff.

    Monchi enjoyed great success working alongside Emery at Sevilla, who won the Europa League three times in succession from 2013-14, while Roma made it all the way through to last season’s Champions League semi-finals a year after the former was brought on board.

    Speaking about Monchi at his news conference, Emery said: “I can only say to you that he’s working in Roma.

    “I worked very well with him in Sevilla for three and a half years, and very well too.

    View image on Twitter

    Unai Emery

    Yesterday we started the week in a different way… Great #teambuilding… We are the @Arsenal !

    11:23 AM – Jan 22, 2019
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    “My relationship with him is good but this work is for the club and the issue is the club’s responsibility.

    “I can say to you only that he is a good person and a good professional.”

    Emery encouraged the club to take their time over any appointment but added he would back the hiring of a sporting director.

    “Maybe if you do this recruitment very quickly, maybe you can make a mistake,” he added.

    “I think it’s better to do without that, being calm and also finding the best possible person to do this job like we want. I think the club is working on that.

    “It’s not my issue. I can say the same: if the club decided to sign one sporting director, then I will agree with them.”

    Mislintat’s impending departure comes at a time when Emery is keen to strengthen while the transfer window is open, with Hector Bellerin having joined Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck in suffering long-term injuries.

    The Gunners, who are fifth in the table, three points behind Chelsea, lost Bellerin for the remainder of the season when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament at the weekend.

    “I am working with our players and I think we need – and we can – sign some players to help after our injuries like Rob Holding, like Welbeck, like Hector Bellerin,” Emery said.

    “But we can play with the players we have now, and the same message is to you and every supporter – we only want to sign one or two players who can really help us with good performances.

    “The club is working. They know our intentions, our possibilities for signing players that can help us, but they work and also with communication to us.”

  20. fred1266 says:

  21. RC78 says:

    A Forward/Winger – who can it be with our little budget?

  22. RC78 says:

    – Ismail Sarr, Nicolas Pepe, Ayorzabal, Gelson Martins are targeted

  23. fred1266 says:

    Hope those are loan deals not permanent

    Gelson martins will be Gervinho all over again

    Speaking of Gervinho he is having a great season at parma

  24. chas says:


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