2001 FA Cup Final

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2001 FA Cup Final
2001 FA Cup Final programme.png
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)
Attendance 72,500
Weather Clear
24 °C (75 °F)[1]

The 2001 FA Cup Final was the 120th final of the FA Cup. It took place on Saturday 12 May 2001 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, and was contested between Arsenal and Liverpool.

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.

The match had an attendance of 72,500, while live coverage on ITV was watched by an average of around five million viewers.[2]

Road to Cardiff[edit]


First half[edit]

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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

Second half[edit]

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.[3]

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.

Match details[edit]

12 May 2001
15:00 BST
Arsenal 1–2 Liverpool
Ljungberg Goal 72' Report Owen Goal 83'88'
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Attendance: 72,500
Referee: Steve Dunn (Gloucestershire)
GK 1 England David Seaman
RB 2 England Lee Dixon Substituted off 90'
CB 5 England Martin Keown
CB 6 England Tony Adams (c)
LB 29 England Ashley Cole
RM 8 Sweden Fredrik Ljungberg Booked 62' Substituted off 85'
CM 18 France Gilles Grimandi
CM 4 France Patrick Vieira
LM 7 France Robert Pirès
CF 11 France Sylvain Wiltord Substituted off 76'
CF 14 France Thierry Henry
GK 13 Austria Alex Manninger
DF 12 Cameroon Lauren
MF 15 England Ray Parlour Substituted in 76'
FW 10 Netherlands Dennis Bergkamp Substituted in 90'
FW 25 Nigeria Nwankwo Kanu Substituted in 85'
France Arsène Wenger
Arsenal vs Liverpool 2001-05-12.svg
GK 1 Netherlands Sander Westerveld
RB 6 Germany Markus Babbel
CB 12 Finland Sami Hyypiä (c)
CB 2 Switzerland Stéphane Henchoz
LB 23 England Jamie Carragher
RM 13 England Danny Murphy Substituted off 77'
CM 17 England Steven Gerrard
CM 16 Germany Dietmar Hamann Booked 57' Substituted off 60'
LM 7 Czech Republic Vladimír Šmicer Substituted off 77'
CF 8 England Emile Heskey
CF 10 England Michael Owen
GK 19 France Pegguy Arphexad
DF 27 France Grégory Vignal
MF 15 Czech Republic Patrik Berger Substituted in 77'
MF 21 Scotland Gary McAllister Substituted in 60'
FW 9 England Robbie Fowler Substituted in 77'
France Gérard Houllier

Match officials[6]

Man of the match

Match rules[7]

  • 90 minutes
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary.
  • Penalty shootout if scores still level.
  • Five named substitutes
  • Maximum of three substitutions


Statistic[8][9] Arsenal Liverpool
Goals scored 1 2
Possession 47% 53%
Shots on target 7 4
Shots off target 4 2
Corner kicks 4 5
Offsides 6 2
Fouls 18 17
Yellow cards 1 1
Red cards 0 0

Post-match and aftermath[edit]

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.”[10] The Guardian correspondent David Lacey declared “The Owen of France '98 was reborn in Cardiff,”[11] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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”.[14] Ron Atkinson said Liverpool’s winning goal came about because of Arsenal’s eagerness to attack, which left gaps in defence.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History for Cardiff-Wales, United Kingdom". Weather Underground. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Deans, Jason (14 May 2001). "Ant and Dec suffer from heat rash". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Owen shatters Arsenal in Cup final". BBC Sport. 12 May 2001. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  4. ^ Lacey, David (14 May 2001). "Five minutes that turned the world upside down". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 21 April 2010. 
  5. ^ Wilson, Paul (13 May 2001). "Owen spikes the Gunners". The Observer (London). Retrieved 21 April 2010. 
  6. ^ "Liverpool squad, officials". The Football Association. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Arsenal squad, rules". The Football Association. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "How they rated". News of the World. 13 May 2001. p. S8. 
  9. ^ Driscoll, Matt (13 May 2001). "Football's Owen home". News of the World. p. S2. 
  10. ^ Green, Alan (14 May 2001). "'Old Empire' striking back". The News Letter. p. 60. 
  11. ^ Lacey, David (14 May 2001). "Five minutes that turned the world upside down". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  12. ^ McIlvanney, Hugh (13 May 2001). "Gunned down by smiling assassin". The Sunday Times. p. S3. 
  13. ^ Lawton, James (14 May 2001). "Clinical Owen takes Arsenal to finishing school". The Independent. p. S3. 
  14. ^ 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)
  15. ^ Atkinson, Ron (14 May 2001). "How a moment's lapse lost the Cup for Arsenal". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 

External links[edit]