Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United

FA Cup final, May 12, 1979

Arsenal were determined to get their hands on the trophy 12 months after suffering a shock 1-0 defeat to Ipswich in the final. Manchester United, meanwhile, were bidding for their second cup success in three years, having beaten Liverpool in the 1977 final.

Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United, 1979 FA Cup final, 12th May
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Arsenal
Brian Talbot (12)
Frank Stapleton (43)
Alan Sunderland (89)
3-2
Manchester United
Gordon McQueen (86)
Sammy McIlroy (88)

FA Cup final, May 12, 1979
Wembley, Referee: Ron Challis, Att: 100,000

Arsenal were two goals up thanks to Brian Talbot and Frank Stapleton and it all looked a formality for the Gunners. Then the match exploded with three goals in the last four minutes, as United clawed their way back, courtesy of Gordon McQueen and Sammy McIlroy, only to be denied by Alan Sunderland at the death.

Key Figures

Liam Brady

'Chippy' Brady teased and tormented United all afternoon, creating two goals and having a hand in the last-gasp winner. It was a midfield masterclass from the Irishman.

Alan Sunderland

The Yorkshireman thought he'd scored Arsenal's first goal, which was later credited to Brian Talbot, but he had his moment to savour as he rescued the Gunners' afternoon in those dramatic last few seconds.

Gary Bailey

Didn’t enjoy his best afternoon in a United shirt as he missed the cross for the third and decisive goal. United had conceded only four goals in eight FA Cup ties on the road to the final - including replays - but Bailey and co chose the big occasion to turn in their worst defensive display of the campaign.

Did You Know...?

Brian Talbot became the first player to win the FA Cup with different teams two seasons in a row, having been part of the Ipswich side that beat Arsenal the previous year.

Gordon McQueen’s nickname among his Manchester United team-mates was ‘Go-Go’ due to his love of discos.

The match was one of only three live televised matches that season. The other two were England v Scotland and Nottingham Forest’s European Cup final victory over Malmo.

What Happened Next

Arsenal reached a third successive FA Cup final the following season, but again lost to a Second Division side - this time West Ham. To complete a season of near misses, they also finished runners-up in the 1980 European Cup-Winners' Cup final, losing to Valencia in a penalty shoot-out after a 0-0 draw.

Manchester United had to wait until 1983 for their next FA Cup final appearance, when they beat Brighton after a replay. They also won the Cup again in 1985, against Everton, despite being down to 10 men after Kevin Moran became the first player ever to be sent off in an FA Cup final.

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From the back pages

Arsenal, This Is Your Year! Published: May 12, 1979

FA Cup final preview

Up And At 'Em United! Published: May 12, 1979

FA Cup final preview

Arsenal's Secret Fear! Published: May 14, 1979

Can they keep Irish heroes?

Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United Published: May 14, 1979

FA Cup final match report

London Belongs To Me Published: May 14, 1979

FA Cup final reaction front page

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