The FA Cup is the oldest national soccer competition in the world. Launched in 1871, it has been held on an annual basis ever since, save for enforced pauses during the two World Wars.
The FA Cup is a straight knockout tournament with an unseeded draw throughout. Clubs down to level 10 of the English soccer pyramid are able to enter, which means several hundred non-league teams take part in the same competition as the Premier League elite.
Much of the magic of the tournament comes from its ‘giant-killings’, the term used to refer to a big team being upset by a relative minnow. This is aided by an unseeded draw throughout the competition.
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|FA Cup Winner 2022/23||Odds|
|West Ham United||+1800
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As you may have noticed, the odds for the FA Cup winner 2022/23 are similar to those for the Premier League title. That is because a top-flight team will almost certainly lift the FA Cup trophy next year, and it stands to reason that the strongest sides in the division have the best chance of victory in this tournament too.
Manchester City are therefore the favorite with sportsbooks. Yet for all their success under Pep Guardiola, it is notable that they have only won this tournament once. Liverpool, too, have not been as dominant in the FA Cup as one might expect – more on that below.
With the odds available, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur look like good value. The trio will probably not have the consistency to keep pace with Manchester City and Liverpool over the course of a 38-game Premier League season, but they have the quality to win a knockout tournament.
If you are minded to pick out an outsider, consider West Ham United. The Hammers have been consistently good under David Moyes for two years now and will be desperate to win a piece of silverware after going close in the Europa Conference League in 2021/22.
To learn more about how to bet on soccer, have a read of our guide – you might pick up some new tips to take with you.
Liverpool were the FA Cup winners last year, their first triumph in the competition since 2006. The Reds drew 0-0 with Chelsea in the final after extra time, before getting the better of the Blues on penalties.
Liverpool reached the Wembley showpiece by knocking out Shrewsbury Town, Cardiff City, Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, and Manchester City in previous rounds.
|Club||Number of Victories|
|West Bromwich Albion||5|
The FA Cup is third on the list of priorities for major English sides, behind the Premier League and the Champions League. It is the equivalent of the Copa del Rey in Spain and the DFB-Pokal in Germany.The FA Cup is more important than the EFL Cup, largely due to its longer history and all-round prestige. However, the FA Cup used to be more significant in decades gone by than it is today.
Throughout the tournament, FA Cup games are one leg. Before the fifth round, any matches that are drawn are replayed once. From the quarter-finals onwards, a tied match goes to extra time and, if necessary, penalties.
‘FA’ stands for Football Association, which is the name of the governing body of English soccer. The full name of the competition is the Football Association Challenge Cup.
Before the competition proper begins, a qualifying competition determines the teams that will join those from the bottom two divisions of the Football League in round one.The first round of the FA Cup usually starts in November and contains 24 teams from League One, 24 from League Two, and those who successfully progressed from the qualifying competition.The 44 sides that make up the Premier League and Championship enter in the third round, which comprises 32 matches. Up until the semi-finals, FA Cup games are held at the stadium of the team that is drawn at home The semi-finals and the final both take place at Wembley in north London.
The FA Cup final can end in a draw after 90 minutes. If the scores are level at that point, an additional period of 30 minutes – known as ‘extra time’ – is played. If there is still nothing separating the teams, a penalty shoot-out decides the winner.
The winner of the FA Cup receives the FA Cup trophy, although they must return it by March 1 of the following year. The club will also be awarded 40 medals to be distributed to players and staff, and £2 million for triumphing in the final.The FA Cup final will also qualify for the group stage of the next edition of the Europa League, unless they have already done so via their league position.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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