Arsenal are the joint most successful club in FA Cup history – and hope to regain the outright record for the highest number of victories in 2016-17.
The previous three seasons have exemplified why the Gunners and Manchester United are way out clear at the top of the list of most frequent FA Cup winners because they have dominated the competition between them since 2014.
Arsenal triumphed in 2014 and 2015 to overhaul United’s total of successes by raising their own tally to 12, but in 2016 they were denied the chance to become only the third ever club to complete a successive FA Cup hat-trick – and the first for 130 years – when they lost their quarter-final at home to Watford.
Instead, it was United who went on to draw level again at the top of the chart when, in manager Louis van Gaal’s last match in charge before being replaced by Jose Mourinho, they triumphed 2-1 after extra time in the final against Crystal Palace at Wembley thanks to a Jesse Lingard goal.
But Arsenal can edge back in front again if they beat Chelsea in the 2016-17 final on Saturday May 27.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger holds the FA Cup trophy (Getty Images)
The 2016-17 edition of the world’s oldest recognised football competition is the 136th in its illustrious history and began with the Extra Preliminary Round on August 6. One significant difference for this season was that quarter-final replays were scrapped to reduce fixture congestion, but extra time and penalties were not required as all four ties were settled in 90 minutes with each winner keeping a clean sheet.
The winners of the 2016-17 FA Cup stand to collect £1.8million in prizemoney, with the runners-up receiving exactly half of that amount and the two losing semi-finalists a quarter, i.e. £450,000 each.
Holders Manchester United lost their grip on the trophy in the quarter-finals as they were beaten 1-0 away to Premier League leaders Chelsea, who won 4-2 against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the last four.
The biggest story of this season's FA Cup was the progress of the non-League clubs but Arsenal saw the last two of them off, following up their 2-0 victory away to Sutton United with a 5-0 home triumph against Lincoln City who became the first team from outside the top four divisions since 1914 to reach the quarter-finals when they won 1-0 away to Premier League club Burnley.
The Gunners then triumphed 2-1 in extra time against Manchester City in what was an extremely strong semi-final line-up consisting entirely of teams in the Premier League's top five when the draw was made.