Arsenal versus Liverpool in the 2001 FA Cup Final
Arsenal dominated the opening exchanges, with the Merseysiders sitting back and allowing them possession. It was a brave tactic to employ given Arsenal’s brilliant passing of the ball. It was nearly the undoing of Liverpool after 15 minutes as they allowed Ljungberg too much time in the middle of the park.
He threaded a perfectly weighted ball into Henry who beat the offside trap. The Frenchman rounded Sander Westerveld far too easily and lifted his head to face goal.
Henchoz was desperately getting back onto the line as Henry shot towards the near post. The ball struck Henchoz on the arm and bounced wide of the goal.
Amazingly the referee pointed to the corner flag, seemingly unaware of Henchoz’s impression of a goalkeeper. The assistant referee gave no indication that it had been handball and so the game remained at 0-0.
It was a big decision in the game given that Henchoz would have had to have been sent off, as well as Arsenal being given a penalty.
Liverpool kept Arsenal at bay for the most part in the remainder of the first half without showing any real attacking threat themselves, Gerrard and Owen wasting their best chances to score.
Arsenal pile on the pressure
Liverpool had a rare sight of the Arsenal goal early into the second half after a Danny Murphy free kick was played into a dangerous area. Emile Heskey managed to get to the ball ahead of his marker but could only head the ball straight at David Seaman.
From then on it was all Arsenal and their superiority was starting to show. Wave after wave of attacks came and the Liverpool defence was becoming more and more stretched. They were struggling to contend with the passing and movement of the Arsenal midfield and forwards.
Sami Hyypia had to clear the ball off the line from Ashley Cole’s effort after good work from Henry and Pires.
Again Hyypia was the last line of an increasingly overworked defence when he headed Ljungberg’s lob off the line.
Ljungberg breaks the deadlock
It was only a matter of time before Arsenal scored and that moment came on 72 when Pires played a ball to Ljungberg to put him in on goal. He went round the stranded Westerveld and put the ball into the empty net.
Just a minute later Henry should have put the game beyond Liverpool but Westerveld saved well before Hyypia again blocked the rebound on the line.
Liverpool level game late on
Liverpool managed to get an unlikely equaliser late into the game.
With less than ten minutes to go, they were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position. Gary McAllister lifted the ball into the penalty area and Arsenal failed to clear properly.
The ball was loose for just a second before Michael Owen pounced and fired a shot low into the bottom corner. David Seaman had no chance against such a precise finish.
Owen snatches it at the death
Michael Owen hadn’t finished yet though, and with three minutes left on the clock he won the game in spectacular style.
Patrik Berger sent a ball over the Arsenal backline and Owen was too quick for Lee Dixon and Tony Adams.
He raced beyond the veteran defenders and placed a fantastic shot across David Seaman into the far corner. It was an exquisite finish from a striker full of confidence.
Liverpool held on and won the FA cup to go with the Worthington cup they had won earlier in the season.
They also beat Alaves in the UEFA cup final a few days later to complete a remarkable cup treble for the season.