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Full history, total wins and top goalscorers


The FA Cup is the grandest tournament in English and world football. It is watched by millions around the globe each season and winning it means an incredible amount.

One of the most dominant teams in the competition’s long and storied history is Manchester United. As the second-most successful side in the history of English football, the Red Devils are synonymous with the FA Cup and many wonderful players have scored important goals for them in this tournament.

Here’s the full history of Man Utd in the FA Cup, including trophy wins, low points, top scorers and more.

Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata

Man Utd last won the FA Cup in 2016 / Paul Gilham/GettyImages

Manchester United are currently the second most successful team in FA Cup history, behind only Arsenal.

The Red Devils have won the tournament on 12 occasions, leaving them two behind Arsenal. Their first FA Cup win came in 1909 by beating Bristol City 1-0, though the second triumph didn’t arrive until 1948.

The most recent victory came back in 2016 under the guidance of Louis van Gaal. The Dutch coach left his role soon after, but goals from Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard late in the day saw Man Utd claim a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.

United are also the only club to appear in a final in every decade since the Second World War.

Year

Opponent

Scoreline

Venue

1909

Bristol City

1-0

Crystal Palace

1948

Blackpool

4-2

Wembley

1963

Leicester City

3-1

Wembley

1977

Liverpool

2-1

Wembley

1983

Brighton

2-2, 4-0 in the replay

Wembley

1985

Everton

1-0

Wembley

1990

Crystal Palace

3-3, 1-0 in the replay

Wembley

1994

Chelsea

4-0

Wembley

1996

Liverpool

1-0

Wembley

1999

Newcastle

2-0

Wembley

2004

Millwall

3-0

Millennium Stadium

2016

Crystal Palace

2-1

Wembley

Alejandro Garnacho, Harry Maguire

Man Utd lost in 2023’s final / Will Palmer/Allstar/GettyImages

Manchester United have reached the FA Cup final on 21 occasions, the joint-highest with Arsenal.

Unfortunately for the Red Devils, their conversion rate leaves a little bit to be desired. Nine of those finals have ended in defeat, leaving fans wondering what might have been on many occasions.

Year

Opponent

Scoreline

Venue

1957

Aston Villa

2-1

Wembley

1958

Bolton Wanderers

2-0

Wembley

1976

Southampton

1-0

Wembley

1979

Arsenal

3-2

Wembley

1995

Everton

1-0

Wembley

2005

Arsenal

0-0 (lost on pens)

Millennium Stadium

2007

Chelsea

1-0

Wembley

2018

Chelsea

1-0

Wembley

2023

Man City

2-1

Wembley

Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard was the hero / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Even though Man Utd have won the FA Cup 12 times, younger fans may not associate their club with the tournament that heavily. The most recent victory was back in 2016 and the preceding one came in 2004.

That last victory came against Crystal Palace, but it very nearly went down as another FA Cup final mishap. The game was far from a classic before Jason Puncheon put Palace ahead with only 12 minutes to go.

While not a particularly special Man Utd team, Van Gaal managed to rally his troops and Juan Mata scored just three minutes later to take the game to extra-time.

Things swung back in Palace’s favour when Chris Smalling was sent off for two yellow cards but Jesse Lingard soon took his moment, hitting an excellent shot on the bounce from the edge of the area into the top corner in the 110th minute, handing Man Utd their 12th FA Cup.

With Man Utd’s FA Cup success being spread across such a vast period of time, there’s an incredible mix of players who make up their top scorers in the tournament. The overall honour belongs to Denis Law, who scored an incredible 34 FA Cup goals for the Red Devils between 1962 and 1973.

There is something of a drop to second-placed Jack Rowley, who netted 26 times, while Wayne Rooney is sat in third with 22, one more than fellow club legend George Best.

The likes of Ryan Giggs, Sir Bobby Charlton and Paul Scholes all feature in the top ten FA Cup goalscorers for Man Utd.

Player

Years active

Appearances

Goals

Denis Law

1962-1973

46

34

Jack Rowley

1937-1955

42

26

Wayne Rooney

2004-2017

40

22

George Best

1963-1974

46

21

Sir Bobby Charlton

1956-1973

78

19

Mark Hughes

1983-1986 and 1988-1995

46

17

Paul Scholes

1994-2011 and 2012-2013

49

13

Ryan Giggs

1991-2014

74

12

Joe Spence

1919-1933

29

10

Dennis Viollet

1952-1962

18

5

Jermaine Beckford

Jermaine Beckford was the hero of the day / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Man Utd have reached 21 different FA Cup finals and though they didn’t win every one, the games at Wembley they did lose are hardly tainted with shame. While Man Utd’s loss to Manchester City in 2023 that helped their rivals on their way to matching the treble was disappointing, it didn’t represent a true nadir.

Instead, when their lowest moments come to mind – at least in modern history – the 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford against Leeds United in 2010 springs straight to the forefront. The two fan bases hate each other and Leeds had dropped down the football ladder over the last decade, leaving 42 places between the two teams.

The League One side arrived at Old Trafford having gone unbeaten in their last 15 games, but they weren’t realistically expected to upset Man Utd. In the end, Jermaine Beckford’s 19th-minute strike was all that Leeds needed to win.

United had never previously lost in the third round of the FA Cup or been knocked by a lower-division side during Sir Alex Ferguson’s first 23 years in charge as manager. It really, really stung for Man Utd fans and lives long in the memory, just as it does for Leeds supporters.

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