The Football Association Challenge Cup, or as the fans all around the globe call it, the FA Cup is the oldest national football competition in the world. The first edition of this tournament took place during the 1871/72 season, with 15 clubs participating. Its founder was Charles W. Alcock, the Secretary of The FA, and the person responsible for establishing the foundations of English organized football. Ever since, it has become one of the most attractive and respected club competitions worldwide.
In England, the FA Cup has a similar, if not a more significant value for some clubs than the Premier League itself. It is considered to be the last link with the original football and something which defies the standards and norms imposed by modern times. After all, this is the only place in the world, where you can see a billion-dollar team visiting the countryside, and taking on the local amateur club in one competitive match.
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Format of the Competition
Every member of the English Football Association can compete in the FA Cup. From Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, and other Premiership powerhouses, all the way to the last-placed team in the 10th division. In the 2011/12 season, 763 clubs participated, which is the record, and this number can give you a clear picture of the size of the tournament.
There are 12 rounds before the semifinals and finals which take place at Wembley. Teams from the higher divisions are joining the competition a bit later, but the important thing is that the FA Cup doesn’t support the seeding system and that there are no restrictions during the draw. For example, the Premiership clubs don’t have any benefits during the draw, and they can go one against another, for example, Liverpool can meet Tottenham in the early stage of the tournament. Also, it opens up the possibility of seeing those clubs against a lower league team away from home, which is a spectacle of its kind.
The opening six rounds are reserved for the clubs from the bottom tiers, and 32 of them will progress to the Competition Proper, where professional teams jump in. At first, from League One and Two, and after the second round, Championship and Premier League clubs enter the competition.
The winner of the first of 12 rounds gets £2,250, while the eliminated side receives £750. Now to fast forward. The FA Cup winners are awarded £3.6 million just for winning the final match, while the runners-up get twice as less. In total, the winners can generate around £7 million.
FA Cup Betting
For many bettors, the FA Cup is the most beautiful competition for gambling. The games are entertaining, often with some unexpected results, and there is always that one surprise from the lower leagues, which emerges and eliminates a couple of big names.
Outright bets are the most popular here. And two of them attract the immediate attention of a regular punter.
1) Winner of the trophy
2) Teams to reach the finals
However, there are also options for making other outright bets. We will mention just some of them:
– Specific team to reach a specific stage (for example, Leeds to enter quarterfinals)
– Which side from the non-professional leagues goes furthest
– Top goalscorer, etc.
As usual, you can bet on each game individually, and all the standard betting options and markets you utilize every day are available.
Tips and Tricks for Betting on FA Cup
There is one interesting rule here, and it is essential for you to know it. Although it is a one-game knockout system, there are no extra times and penalties if the game ends with a draw.
Instead, there is a second fixture, played on the venue guests in the first match. If there is the same situation in that other event, only then the rivals proceed to extra times, and if needed, the penalty shootout. It is mandatory for all games until the Fifth Round Proper (Round of 16).
This info might be of help to you, especially for in-play betting.
The Football Association decided to implement this practice due to often replay games, which would later interrupt the schedules of the teams. We had Fulham in 1975 who played 12 games over six rounds, and back then, the replays would take place until one team wins during the regular 90 minutes.
Also, you need to be aware that sometimes when a Premiership, or more often a Championship club plays away from home against some lower-division side, you won’t see many goals, although it is reasonable to expect otherwise. There are two factors for that. The first one is a poor quality of the pitch, where it is much tougher to control the ball than let’s say on the hybrid surface at Etihad Stadium.
The second is the desire of the managers to keep their best players on the bench, and avoid any risks for picking up an injury or a suspension. So before each game, do check out the lineups and try finding something about the venue of the contest.
One more information. As previously said, each year, there is one team that eclipses all the expectations and delivers several surprises. Last year it was Watford who reached the finals. The year before that, Wigan, who was in League One, eliminated Machester City, the Premiership champion at the time. It would be wise to search for that one side because the profits, in that case, are enormous.
- The most successful club in this competition is Arsenal with 13 trophies won. The Gunners take a lot of pride in this fact.
- Their legendary manager Arsene Wenger has the most trophies – 7 all with the Gunners.
- Blackburn Rovers, Wanderers, Tottenham, and Arsenal are the only teams to win the trophy three times in a row.
- The FA Cup was once won by a team outside England – Cardiff City back in 1927. They would win the Welsh Cup during the same season.
- Tottenham won the FA Cup in 1901 while competing in the Southern League, and they are the only non-League winners.
- Manchester United and Everton have the most lost finals – 8
- The biggest surprise ever in the FA Cup, was Arsenal’s elimination against Wrexham in 1992. The Gunners were the champions, while Wrexham happened to be in the last tier of English professional football.
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