2001 FA Cup Final
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (January 2010)|
The match programme cover.
|Event||2000–01 FA Cup|
|Date||12 May 2001|
|Venue||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|Man of the Match||Michael Owen (Liverpool)|
|Referee||Steve Dunn (Gloucestershire)|
24 °C (75 °F)
Liverpool came from behind to win 2–1, thus winning the FA Cup for the sixth time. It was the second trophy of their treble-winning season of 2000–01: they had won the Football League Cup in late February and would win the UEFA Cup four days later.
As well as being the first FA Cup Final to be staged outside of England, it was also the first in which the managers of both teams were from outside the British Isles – Liverpool's Gérard Houllier and Arsenal's Arsène Wenger both coming from France.
Road to Cardiff
Third Round: Carlisle United 0–1 Arsenal
Fourth Round: Queens Park Rangers 0–6 Arsenal
Fifth Round: Arsenal 3–1 Chelsea
Sixth Round: Arsenal 3–0 Blackburn Rovers
Semi-final: Tottenham Hotspur 1–2 Arsenal
Third Round: Liverpool 3–0 Rotherham United
Fourth Round: Leeds United 0–2 Liverpool
Fifth Round: Liverpool 4–2 Manchester City
Sixth Round: Tranmere Rovers 2–4 Liverpool
Semi-final: Liverpool 2–1 Wycombe Wanderers
Liverpool were intent on adopting a counter-attacking approach, allowing Arsenal space and possession until they reached the danger area. Arsenal dominated the opening exchanges, but first half ended as a stalemate despite Arsenal's dominance. Liverpool's Emile Heskey was involved in the first contentious moment after six minutes, when he tumbled under a challenge from Gilles Grimandi, but referee Steve Dunn correctly waved away Liverpool's penalty appeals.
Ten minutes later, Arsenal had a much stronger claim for a penalty kick. Fredrik Ljungberg released Thierry Henry, who broke free of Liverpool's offside trap, skipped around goalkeeper Sander Westerveld and fired a shot which was blocked on the line by the arm of Liverpool defender Stéphane Henchoz. The officials failed to spot the offence, despite Henry's appeals.
Despite a couple of half-chances for Liverpool (a Michael Owen shot that was closed down by Martin Keown, and a Steven Gerrard effort from long range that went well wide) there were no other major goalmouth incidents of the first half.
Liverpool finally troubled Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman two minutes after the interval; Danny Murphy's free kick was met by Heskey's head, but he was only able to direct his effort straight at Seaman, who pushed it to safety with his left hand.
Arsenal had another serious scoring chance after 56 minutes. Thierry Henry juggled the ball and switched passes with compatriot Robert Pirès, but was denied by Westerveld; Ashley Cole got to the rebound first and fired goalwards, but Liverpool captain Sami Hyypiä cleared off the line. Hyypiä rescued Liverpool again after 67 minutes, when he headed a Ljungberg lob off the line.
With 19 minutes left, Arsenal finally scored. Arsenal latched onto a poor clearance by Westerveld, and Robert Pirès played Ljungberg clean through; the Swede rounded the Dutch goalkeeper and fired home to make it 1–0. Moments later Henry was given a chance to make it 2–0, but was denied by an excellent point-blank save by Westerveld.
Liverpool survived the Arsenal onslaught, and finally, having made some key attacking substitutions, these including their highest goalscorer Robbie Fowler, found a foothold in the game when Owen equalised with eight minutes left. Arsenal failed to clear substitute Gary McAllister's free kick, and Owen pounced with a right foot finish past Seaman from eight yards. Liverpool's comeback was completed five minutes later in the 88th minute with extra time looming; Owen was released down the left by a terrifically weighted long ball pass from substitute Patrik Berger, with the type of vision which had been earlier missing from their play, and he outpaced both Tony Adams and Lee Dixon before shooting low and accurately past Seaman, beating him at the far post. Liverpool held onto their lead for the few minutes remaining, and won the Cup.
12 May 2001
|Ljungberg 72'||Report||Owen 83', 88'|
Man of the match
|Shots on target||7||4|
|Shots off target||4||2|
Post-match and aftermath
Journalists and pundits reviewing the final praised Liverpool’s tenacity; radio commentator Alan Green wrote in his News Letter column of 14 May 2001: “Simply, they never give up and when you have a player like Michael Owen within your ranks you believe that any situation can be rescued, as it was in the magnificent Millennium Stadium.” The Guardian correspondent David Lacey declared “The Owen of France '98 was reborn in Cardiff,” while Hugh McIlvanney of The Sunday Times called Owen “the master executioner of English football.” McIlvanney felt over the 90 minutes the Arsenal team were “unlucky to lose,” lauding Vieira’s show in midfield. James Lawton’s match report in The Independent was not as empathetic; although in praise of Henry’s performance his indecision compared to Owen, demonstrated how “effect, not style, is everything” in football. Clive White of The Herald criticised Henry’s lack of end product, using the final and Arsenal’s European fixture against Valencia to demonstrate how he would never be considered a “natural goalscorer”. Ron Atkinson said Liverpool’s winning goal came about because of Arsenal’s eagerness to attack, which left gaps in defence.
- "History for Cardiff-Wales, United Kingdom". Weather Underground. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- Deans, Jason (14 May 2001). "Ant and Dec suffer from heat rash". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Owen shatters Arsenal in Cup final". BBC Sport. 12 May 2001. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
- Lacey, David (14 May 2001). "Five minutes that turned the world upside down". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 21 April 2010.
- Wilson, Paul (13 May 2001). "Owen spikes the Gunners". The Observer (London). Retrieved 21 April 2010.
- "Liverpool squad, officials". The Football Association. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- "Arsenal squad, rules". The Football Association. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- "How they rated". News of the World. 13 May 2001. p. S8.
- Driscoll, Matt (13 May 2001). "Football's Owen home". News of the World. p. S2.
- Green, Alan (14 May 2001). "'Old Empire' striking back". The News Letter. p. 60.
- Lacey, David (14 May 2001). "Five minutes that turned the world upside down". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
- McIlvanney, Hugh (13 May 2001). "Gunned down by smiling assassin". The Sunday Times. p. S3.
- Lawton, James (14 May 2001). "Clinical Owen takes Arsenal to finishing school". The Independent. p. S3.
- White, Clive (14 May 2001). "Owen shows how it's done; No hoorays for Henry as he fails to breach defence". The Herald. Retrieved 6 April 2015. (subscription required)
- Atkinson, Ron (14 May 2001). "How a moment's lapse lost the Cup for Arsenal". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2015.