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Cup Upsets Involving Arsenal (Part Two)

The second part in the series which looks at some of the biggest Cup upsets invokving Arsenal over the years and matches their supporters would prefer to forget.

For Part One, please click here.

West Ham United, FA Cup Final 1980

In 1980, Arsenal reached their third FA Cup final in three years. In 1978 they had suffered a surprise defeat to Ipswich Town but had made amends the following year by defeating Manchester United in a dramatic match that became known as the five minute final because of the flurry of late goals.

A year later they were back at Wembley, chasing a Cup double – they had also reached the final of the European Cup Winners Cup when they were due to play Valencia.

It was an all London final because their opponents were West Ham United, who were a second division side at that stage.

 The Gunners began the match as heavy favourites, but they were second-best for much of the match, and fell behind in the 13th minute when  shot was flicked home by Trevor Brookings head as he was almost on the floor. It was virtually the only goal he scored with his head in the entire match.

One of the big talking points of the game occurred in the second half when 17-year old Paul Allen burst through the Arsenal rear-guard and was clean through on goal only to be hauled down by Willie Young in a professional foul.

Amazingly, Young only received a yellow card and stayed on the pitch, but Allen and the rest of his team-mats had the last laugh as they lifted the Cup.

To run salt in Arsenal wounds, they lost the Cup Winners Cup final a few days later after a penalty shoot-out.

Wrexham FA Cup 1992

Under George Graham, Arsenal had won the league for the second time in three years in 1991.

It was, therefore, as reigning league champions that they travelled to face Wrexham of the then Fourth Division in the third round of the FA Cup inn January 1992.

Graham decided to send a strong side to Wales for the match, and the starting line-up for them at the Racecourse Ground included England internationals like Tony Adams, David Seaman, and Paul Merson.

All appeared to be going to plan for the Gunners when Merson found Alan Smith who fired them ahead, but they could not add to their lead and were made to pay in the 82nd minute when former Manchester United player Mickey Tomas equalised with a fiercely struck free-kick.

The home fans were still celebrating two minutes later when Steve Watkins poked home what proved to be the winner.

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