2002 FA Community Shield
The match programme cover.
|Date||11 August 2002|
|Venue||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|Man of the Match||Martin Keown (Arsenal)|
|Referee||Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)|
Light Rain Showers
16 °C (61 °F)
The 2002 FA Community Shield was the 80th FA Community Shield, an annual English football match played between the winners of the previous season's Premier League and FA Cup competitions. This was the first Community Shield to be contested following the renaming of the competition, from the FA Charity Shield. The match was contested by Arsenal, who won a league and FA Cup double the previous season, and Liverpool, who finished runners-up in the league. It was held at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, on 11 August 2002. Arsenal won the match by one goal to nil, watched by a crowd of 67,337.
This was Arsenal's 16th Shield appearance and Liverpool's 20th. Arsenal were without several of their first choice players in midfield, who were absent through injury; this prompted a shuffle in the team which saw striker Sylvain Wiltord positioned on the left wing. For Liverpool, defender Markus Babbel was named as a substitute ater a lengthy period out of the side through illness. New signing El Hadji Diouf started in a creative role, behind strikers Michael Owen and Emile Heskey to begin with.
The only goal of the match came in the second half; Arsenal substitute Gilberto Silva on his debut, collected a pass from Dennis Bergkamp and struck the ball through goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek's legs. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger praised the match-winner in his post-match interview, while opposing manager Gérard Houllier felt the result showed that his team needed more game time and attention to passing, in order to improve. The result meant Arsenal were the first team to win the shield outright 11 times, while it marked Liverpool's first defeat at the Millennium Stadium.
The FA Community Shield was founded in 1908, under its former name, the FA Charity Shield and was initially contested between the top professional and amateur teams of each season. In 1921, it was played between the Football League champions and FA Cup winners for the first time; the formation of a new top-tier division, the Premier League in 1992, meant it displaced the Football League spot. Wembley Stadium acted as the host of the Shield, but matches from 2001 were switched to the Millennium Stadium, whilst Wembley was being refurbished into a 90,000-capacity venue.
In February 2002, the trophy was renamed as the FA Community Shield. The then-FA marketing director Paul Barber noted this was in order to reward the work of those contributing to the game, who go unnoticed: "The most important thing is that the many good causes that have benefited from the shield in the past will continue to benefit from the Community Shield in the future." The FA also intended to prevent any interference made by the Charity Commission into where money raised by the game should go. In April 2002, McDonald's was announced as the main sponsor of the Community Shield, in a four-year, £28 million pound contract. The deal included the company making an "invest[ment] in 8,000 new community-based coaches for young players".
Arsenal qualified for the 2002 FA Community Shield as the holders of the FA Cup, beating Chelsea 2–0 in the 2002 FA Cup Final. The team later won the 2001–02 FA Premier League and completed the domestic double. The other Community Shield place went to league runners-up Liverpool, who secured second place on the final day of the season. The game marked Arsenal's 16th Charity Shield appearance and first since 1999, where they beat Manchester United by two goals to one. By contrast this was Liverpool's 20th, who incidentally played United and won by exactly the same scoreline to become holders of the trophy. The last meeting between the two teams was in the FA Cup; a goal by Dennis Bergkamp ensured Arsenal progressed into the fifth round of the competition.
In spite of the game traditionally being taken as like a friendly, Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier used his pre-match press conference to highlight how much he wanted to win the shield: "It is very important to me. This match is more than a friendly. It represents the start of the season. The Community Shield is like a final. There is a trophy at stake and we are the holders." Arsène Wenger wanted to use the match as "the final preparation game for the championship" and noted that Liverpool, amongst four other teams (Manchester United, Newcastle United, Chelsea and Leeds United) would challenge his team in the league.
Arsenal were without injured trio Robert Pirès, Freddie Ljungberg and Giovanni van Bronckhorst and lined up in their traditional 4–4–2 formation; striker Sylvain Wiltord was moved to the left wing, with Bergkamp playing off main striker Thierry Henry. After a lengthy illness, Liverpool defender Markus Babbel returned to the squad and was named as a substitute. Houllier deployed a 4–3–1–2 formation with Steven Gerrard, John Arne Riise and Dietmar Hamann as a midfield three and new signing, El Hadji Diouf positioned in a free role to begin with and as the game went on, moved to the right wing to stretch Arsenal's defence.
Arsenal won the toss and kicked-off. Within the first three minutes they fashioned their first opening: Wiltord found space outside the Liverpool box, yet failed to give the ball to Henry, as the through ball was cleared. Gerrard was booked for a tackle on Vieira in the sixth minute, which left the Frenchman seeking medical attention and moments after, he caught Henry late with a similar lunge; Gerrard was given the benefit of the doubt by the referee. Bergkamp volleyed the ball "from close range" which was blocked by defender Abel Xavier and two of his efforts were saved in quick succession by Jerzy Dudek after the 20 minute mark. Liverpool managed their first shot on target before the half hour: a out wide shot from Emile Heskey which hit goalkeeper David Seaman's chest. After a quiet period towards the end of the first half, Ray Parlour went close to giving Arsenal the lead, through a long-range shot that missed the post by fractions. A move from Arsenal soon after concluded with Wiltord firing the ball straight at Dudek, having been under pressure by Djimi Traoré.
Midfielder Gilberto Silva made his debut in the second half, coming on in place of fellow Brazilian Edu. In the 47th minute, Henry went close to scoring his first goal at the Millennium Stadium; he collected a pass from Bergkamp and used his pace to get past the Liverpool defence. His shot caught Dudek and rebounded back off the post. Henry created further chances in the 51st and 54th minute, forcing more saves from the Liverpool goalkeeper. Owen was unable to reach the ball from a corner and Liverpool continued to pressure Arsenal, with Gerrard regaining control of the midfield and making a substitution which saw Danny Murphy come on for Hamann. In spite of this, it was Arsenal who scored the opening goal, in the 68th minute. A move by Liverpool, which had broken down, allowed Gilberto to pass the ball out to Ashley Cole, who in turn fed Bergkamp. His cut-back met the Brazilian's left foot "with a shot that squeezed through Dudek's legs." Diouf went down in the penalty box four minutes after, which provoked a reaction by Vieira, who believed he had dived. Both managers made numerous changes in the final 15 minutes, which included Milan Baroš replacing Heskey and midfielder Kolo Touré on for Bergkamp. The final notable chance went to Liverpool a minute before additional time: Sol Campbell was caught out of position in Arsenal's half, but Diouf's shot went over the goal bar.
11 August 2002
|Shots on target||9||1|
|Shots off target||3||6|
The result marked the first time that Liverpool had lost at the Millennium Stadium. Wenger used his post-match news interview to praise goalscorer Gilberto Silva and asserted that the Brazilan would be a "very strong player" for the team, in the incoming future. He noted that Dudek had "kept [Liverpool] in the game for a long time" and was critical of Gerrard, who he felt was fortunate not to have been sent off for a "reckless and dangerous" challenge on Vieira. Wenger believed Arsenal's experience put the team in good stead for the upcoming season: "There are two attitudes to being champions. One is to get respect, another is to get kicked more and to face more aggression as people want to beat you more. We are quite used to that though as we have had some big fights in the past four or five years."
Houllier argued that his team paid Arsenal "too much respect" in the match and blamed his full-backs Xavier and Traoré for not providing width, adding: "We need to have more flow in our game, more safety in our passing construction". Gerrard was unrepentant for tackling Vieira and stated he was trying to "stamp [his] authority" on the match. He accepted defeat and was optimistic Liverpool had the means to win the Premier League: "We'd rather they beat us in this game and then we go on to pick up the title. That's what we're really looking at. Even though they got the better of us yesterday, it doesn't mean they'll do better than us over the whole season." Diouf insisted he should have earned a penalty in the second half, given he felt there was "definite contact" from a challenge in the penalty box: "It was a penalty, definitely, but the referee is the master on the pitch and he didn't give it. I know the Arsenal players think I dived, but I didn't."
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