On This Day in Football History – May 12: Watford’s Playoff Drama, Trent Alexander-Arnold Makes History & Move

12 May has a special place in history. Not only have several Premier League and FA Cup campaigns been decided on this day in the past, but there was also the most dramatic and enthralling five minutes in the history of the entire planet.

There’s also retirements, records and birthdays to celebrate, so 12 May has plenty to offer us while we’re still waiting for football to bless our lives once more.

Here’s what went down on this day in history.

1979 – The 5-Minute FA Cup Final

The 1978/79 FA Cup final went from one of the worst to one of the best in the blink of an eye. Arsenal were 2-0 up against Manchester United in the 86th minute, but then things went crazy.

Two late goals from Gordon McQueen and Sammy McIlroy somehow saw United draw level, but just as the two sides were preparing for extra time, Alan Sunderland famously bagged an 89th minute winner to save the day for Arsenal.

1988 – Marcelo’s Birthday

The first of two birthdays on this list belongs to Real Madrid left-back Marcelo, who was born in Rio de Janeiro on this day in 1988.

He needed just one year in Fluminense’s senior side to earn a move to the Santiago Bernabéu in 2007, and he has since helped Real win four La Liga and four Champions League titles.

1990 – Ian Wright Saves Crystal Palace

Manchester United held a 2-1 lead over Crystal Palace in the 70th minute of the 1990 FA Cup final, prompting Palace boss Steve Coppell to bring Ian Wright (who had just recovered from a fractured shin) off the bench to try and save the day.

Wright needed just two minutes to net an outstanding equaliser and he put the Eagles 3-2 up early in extra time, only for Mark Hughes to fire back and force a replay. Unfortunately for Palace, United came out on top in that one, so Wright’s efforts were all for nothing.

1997 – Frenkie de Jong’s Birthday

Birthday number two belongs to Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who was born on this day in 1997.

Three excellent years with Ajax saw the Dutchman emerge as perhaps the most exciting midfielder around, prompting Barcelona to fight off competition from plenty of European giants and lure De Jong to Camp Nou for around €75m.

2001 – Michael Owen Wins the FA Cup for Liverpool

Freddie Ljungberg’s second-half strike put Arsenal within minutes of lifting the 2000/01 FA Cup at Liverpool’s expense, but Michael Owen had something to say about that.

The Englishman put his team on his back and volleyed home with seven minutes to go to tie the score up, and he added a second five minutes later to win the cup for Liverpool.

2010 – Fulham Fall to Atlético in Europa League Final

Fulham’s run to the 2009/10 Europa League final still doesn’t feel real. The Cottagers, featuring the likes of Damien Duff, Bobby Zamora and Danny Murphy, saw off Juventus, Wolfsburg and Hamburg en route to the final, where they met Atlético Madrid.

The game went to extra time after a 1-1 draw, and it was Atlético who came out on top thanks to a goal from Diego Forlán, who flicked home a Sergio Agüero cross to take the trophy to Madrid.

2012 – Borussia Dortmund 5-2 Bayern Munich


Jürgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund sealed the league and cup double in 2012 when they thumped rivals Bayern Munich 5-2 in the DfB-Pokal final.

Robert Lewandowski stole the show by bagging a hat-trick, adding to earlier goals from Shinji Kagawa and Mats Hummels.


Was this the single greatest five-minute period in football history?

The second leg of the 2012/13 Championship playoff semi-final between Leicester City and Watford went down in history for its outstanding last-minute drama. Leicester were awarded a controversial penalty in the 97th minute, and all Anthony Knockaert needed to do was score to send Leicester to the final.

But Manuel Almunia saved it.

Watford ran down the other end and volleyed home their own winner through Troy Deeney, in a moment which still gives us goosebumps to this day. You can’t write it.

2013 – Sir Alex Ferguson Says Goodbye to Old Trafford

Having announced his retirement a few days earlier, Sir Alex Ferguson led Manchester United out at Old Trafford for the final time on this day in 2013.

The Red Devils picked up a 2-1 win over Swansea City thanks to a late goal from Rio Ferdinand, ensuring the legendary boss (and midfielder Paul Scholes) left Old Trafford on a high.

2015 – Barcelona Survive Bayern Munich Scare

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich picked up a 3-2 win over Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final, but it wasn’t enough to stop La Blaugrana from advancing to the final on aggregate.

Medhi Benatia, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller were all on the score sheet, and Bayern could have had another had it not been for an outstanding save by Marc-André ter Stegen to keep Barcelona alive.

2017 – Michy Batshuayi Wins Premier League Title for Chelsea

Chelsea sealed the Premier League title with two games to spare in the 2016/17 season as Antonio Conte’s side picked up a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.

Michy Batshuayi bagged the game’s only goal late on, beginning his reputation as a player who only scores in big moments and sparking wild celebrations from the Chelsea dugout.

2017 – Celtic Hit 100 Points

Celtic reached 100 points in the Scottish Premiership season thanks to a 3-1 win over Aberdeen – the second time the team had ever managed such a feat, having done so in 2001/02.

Their previous record tally stood at 103 points, but Brendan Rodgers’ side managed an incredible 106 and finished the season unbeaten, having won 34 of their 38 games.

2019 – Diego Godín Says Goodbye to Atlético Madrid

After nine years and 389 appearances at the heart of the Atlético defence, Diego Godín said goodbye to Los Rojiblancos in their final home game of the 2018/19 season.

He passed the captain’s arm band over to Koke for the next game – a trip to Levante – before heading to Inter that summer.

2019 – Man City Win Premier League on Final Day

Having been pushed to the limit by Liverpool, Manchester City held on and won the Premier League title with a 4-1 win over Brighton.

Guardiola’s side actually fell 1-0 down and were on track to lost the title, only to bag an equaliser less than a minute later. Never in doubt.

2019 – Manchester United 0-2 Cardiff City

Despite having already been relegated, Cardiff City stunned Manchester United and former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in 2019 as they picked up a 2-0 win at Old Trafford.

It was the lowest moment of the dismal end to the 2018/19 season for United, which also included a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town and a 4-0 loss to Everton.

2019 – Trent Alexander-Arnold Hits 12 Assists

Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold set a new assist record on this day as he took his tally to 12 in a stunning 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Teammate Andy Robertson finished the campaign with 11 assists, making it the first time that two defenders both made it past ten in a single campaign.

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