Classic Match: 2001 FA Cup Final – Arsenal 1-2 Liverpool

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Two English giants lined up in a FA Cup final for their first encounter in a final since 1971 which Arsenal won 2-1 after extra time.

It was the first Cup final to be held outside of England, at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. These two team were only separated by one point in the final League table, Arsenal finishing second with seventy points and Liverpool finishing third with sixty-nine points.

Arsenal had a very successful run leading to the finals. Beating the likes of Blackburn and Chelsea. They had to come back from behind to beat their city rivals Tottenham to secure their place in the finals. Liverpool probably had it easier than Arsenal facing simpler teams like Rotherham Utd & Man City although they faced the ever impressive Leeds beating them 2-0 at Elland Road. They played Wycombe where a Heskey & Fowler strikers were just enough to send them off to their first final since their disappointing lost to Man Utd in 1996.

The Match

The Millennium Stadium was packed to capacity with both sets of fans coming out in their numbers to cheer on their heroes. Arsenal were dressed in their traditional red and white kit which forced Liverpool in their gold and blue away kit.

The Managers had a to sort their best team which saw Dennis Bergkamp and Robbie Fowler reduced to the bench. Which means Michael Owen and Emile Heskey pairing up and Henry and Sylvain Wiltord in the Arsenal attack.

The first major highlight saw Heskey going to ground after a tackle from Grimandi however all penalty appeals were declined by referee Steve Dunn. Arsenal soon had their own penalty appeal turned away when Henry beat the Liverpool goalkeeper only to be denied by Henchoz at the goal line, replay clearly showed that the officials were wrong and that Henchoz made contact with the ball with his arm.

Arsenal had a great deal of possession in the first half due to Liverpool applying the counter-attack tactics. Altough Arsenal had possession they were on able to score and left the teams deadlock at half time.

After the break Liverpool had the first real chance when Heskey made a great effort to head the ball but it was saved by the legendary David Seaman. Henry made good use of the ball when he made his was past the Liverpool defense and again beating the Westerveld with shooting the ball at goal only to be saved by the Liverpool centre-back Sami Hyypia on the goal-line.

The Liverpool captain was again to the rescue when he made another goal-line saved when his head met the ball of a Ljungberg lob. There was no Hyypia this time when Pires played the ball to teammate Ljungberg beating Westerveld and scoring leaving Liverpool one nil down with 20 minutes left on the clock. Arsenal should have won the match when Henry was denied by a magnificent save by Westerveld leaving Liverpool with a chance to sneak in a late equaliser.

Arsenal conceded a free-kick which changed the match when Michael Owen ambush the Arsenal goal leveling the match with eight minutes left on the clock. Then a moment of magic which left Arsenal fans heartbroken when Berger sent Owen on a run beating the Arsenal defenders and putting the ball in the back of the net.

Arsenal were left ruing missed chances and Liverpool celebrating a famous FA Cup finals and en route to a cup treble…

Teams

Liverpool: Westerveld, Babbel, Henchoz, Hyypia, Carragher, Murphy (77), Gerrard, Hamann (60) , Smicer (77), Heskey, Owen. Subs: Fowler (77), Berger (77), Arphexad, McAllister (60), Vignal

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon (90), Keown, Adams, Cole, Pires, Grimandi, Vieira, Ljungberg (85), Wiltord (76), Henry. Subs: Bergkamp (90), Lauren, Manninger, Parlour (76), Kanu (85)

RMP

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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