Arsenal v Southampton: minute-by-minute
So, here it is. The FA Cup final. The biggest domestic cup final in the world and you’re following it here. Shocking.
The romance of the FA Cup returned to the competition with verve this season – who can ever forget Everton’s exit at the hands of lowly Shrewsbury Town, or Team Bath being the first student team for over a hundred years competing?
Anyway, let’s concentrate on today’s game. Can the chancers from the south coast overcome the aristocrats of north London at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium as Arsenal appear in their third succesive FA Cup final?
The omens make worrying reading for Arsenal as they make a record 16th FA Cup final appearance.
The last time Arsenal had appeared in three consecutive finals they lost the first to Ipswich 1-0 in 1978, beat Manchester United 3-2 the following year and were then beaten by West Ham.
If Southampton manage to beat the favourites, then Arsene Wenger’s side would repeat the pattern having lost to Liverpool in 2001 and beating Chelsea last season with a wonder goal from Freddie Ljungberg.
Southampton supporters Authentic Prada Bags Uk will be encouraged with the news that Chris Marsden will captain the Saints, and perhaps surprised with the inclusion of 21-year old Chris Baird (defender) who makes only his second appearance for Southampton.
Arsenal’s Martin Keown has passed a fitness test to take his place his defence, Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Online Shop David Seaman will wear the captain’s armband in Patrick Vieira’s absence.
The roof at the Millennium Stadium has been closed due to heavy rain in Cardiff, making the match the first FA Cup final to be played indoors.
How they lined-up
Arsenal: Seaman, Lauren, Keown, Luzhny, Cole, Pires, Parlour, Silva, Ljungberg, Henry, Bergkamp. Subs: Wiltord, Taylor, Kanu, Toure, van Bronckhorst.
Southampton: Niemi, Baird, Lundekvam, Michael Svensson, Bridge, Telfer, Oakley, Anders Svensson, Marsden, Ormerod, Beattie. Subs: Jones, Williams, Higginbotham, Tessem, Fernandes.
Referee: G Barber (Hertfordshire)
So, here we go…
FA Cup final anthem Abide with Me is being sung…
Some people are on the pitch
The players are lined up on the pitch as the guest of honour, Sir Bobby Robson, is introduced the the teams.
Southampton are in their yellow and blue kits as Arsenal won the toss. Of course Southampton wore the same colured shirts back in 1976 when they last won the Cup.
Quiet at the back!
The national anthem is belted out by some bloke called Tony Henry. Marvellous.
And they’re off!
1 min: Southampton kick-off. Henry nearly scores after 30 seconds! Had his shirt tugged in the penalty area by Claus Lundekvam, but the ref played advantage. Well saved by Niemi.
3 min: After the early scare, the Saints appear unruffled.
5 min: Snarling Martin Zatko has emailed from China, asking “Does anybody know how many countries the FA Cup Final gets broadcast in?” Er, Authentic Prada Clothing no mate. Before adding: “I’m in China, the world’s most populous and fastest-growing economy, and they’re showing All Prada Nylon Bags the bloody German league!”
7 min: Arsenal threaten again with a probing run from Henry.
8 min: Michael Svensson heads goalwards, easily handled by the able Seaman.
9 min: Henry completes a hat-trick of chances after Bergkamp supplies him with a wonderful diagonal pass from the half way line. Comfortably saved by Niemi.
12 min: Southampton fans break into chants of “Shall we sing a song for you”.
16 min: Arsenal win their first corner. Easily cleared.
18 min: Southampton win a second corner. Oakley plays it short. Chris Baird, the Are Prada Handbags Cheaper In Italy young pup, whips in a shot. Just wide, but covered by Seaman. Er, you know what I mean.
20 min: James Beattie scores! Well offside though. Still 0-0.
22 min: Southampton enjoy a good spell. Marsden crosses only for Beattie to mistimed his header. Anders Svensson picks up the ball but takes too long and wastes a good opportunity.
25 min: Henry clearly through and onside, the referee’s assistant judges the nifty Frenchman offside.
27 min: Paul Telfer takes Gilberto Siva from behind. Ouch.
29 min: Martin Keown takes out Michael Svensson and wins a yellow card for his troubles.
30 min: Beattie lunges at Luzhny and gets a yellow. Getting tasty out there.
32 min: Simon Craddock sends an email titled ‘Thank God you’re there’. Ahh, bless. Simon tells me “they’re showing French league football here in Tokyo – no bloody good whatsoever.” The big question is, which game?
35 min: David Sullivan from the good ol’ US of A asks “Could someone explain to an ignorant American how you can get into Europe through the Fair Play Rule?” I could do, but it’s got nowt to do with the match today.
38 min: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL. Robert Pires puts Arsenal ahead.
39 min: Pires heads over. I can’t keep up with this. Oh, Lyon 1 Paris Saint Germain 0. What about Le Harve? “There’s only one Le Tallac, one Le Tallac.”
40 min: Martin Zatko answers his own question: “Okay, from the bastion of truth and wisdom that is the FA’s website, the final’s going out to 23 countries in Europe, 15 in the Middle East, 16 in Asia, a pathetic 4 in the Americas (shame on you, Suriname) and a triumphant 55 in Africa.” And he cheekily asks “Am I the only person reading you?” Some people, honestly.
42 min: Billy Marr seems interested in Henry’s groin. Fair enough. Apparently ESPN have reported that Henry was “feeling it,” indeed Billy, Henry took a knock earlier and Henry was spotted in a heavy rubbing session. He’s ok now though.
45 min: Two minutes added on.
Half-time: Pop the kettle on, nice About Prada Products cup of tea methinks.
Online rucks: Rolf from Sweden seems to want ‘an off’ with Martin Zatko and Simon Craddock. Threatening them that if they don’t stop whining they’ll be forcibly relocated to Sweden where they are showing a bearded man in a forest putting up bird houses in trees instead of said football event involving large silver trophy.”
David Sullivan fumes: “Aren’t you Brits supposed to be encouraging us ignorant apes in the States to love the Premiership? You’d be doing a public service by explaining the Fair Play rule, or whatever the hell they call it.” Er, no. This is the FA Cup ‘buddy’. Or maybe I just don’t know the answer…
Jacques Corbeau is not a happy bunny, complaining that it’s “$25 bloody dollars to watch this [FA Cup final] on pay per view in the USA, so I’m reading you and listening to the BBC on the internet. Alan Green is one enormous pain in the ass.” Indeed he is Jacques handbags, indeed he is.
46 min: Second-half kicks off. Bergkamp and Henry, Arsenal playing right to left.
47 min: Remo Gubler claims another website is quicker than us. Clearly you have a dodgy modem Remo.
49 min: The Saints apply pressure as chances fall to Michael Svensson and Beattie. A promising start.
50 min: Feargal O’Connell disagrees with Remo. And he’s at Leeds University, so he’s obviously a smart chappie. Feargal also asks “Do you know my sister.” Um, why, er, never met her in my life mate, honest, why? “Because she works at the Observer Magazine.” Phew, got me worried then. And the answers still a resounding ‘no’.
51 min: Lundekvam limps off with an injury, didn’t see what happened. Um, reading your emails ..
52 min: Bergkamp turns Ormerod in the box, whipping in lovely right footed curler, Niemi parries into Ljungberg’s path only for him to hit the side netting.
56 min: Niemi stretches to save a Henry shot. Ljungberg fires wide from outside the box as he attempts to score in three consecutive FA Cup finals.
57 min: Mike Johnson is enjoying the game at work and looking forward to a night on the ale as Authentic Prada Canvas Bag one of his shift colleagues has just picked up around nine grand on a first booking spread bet. You can always rely on Keown Mike.
60 min: Shane Wiltshire has just logged on from Shenyang in the north east of China and found out he’d missed the first half. Still, at least his partner has just got back from the shops with a bottle of Guinness, some cheddar cheese and a packet of crisps especially for the final (she had to go across town to buy it because it’s western food and not readily available in those parts don’t you know.)
65 min: Niemi injured himself taking a goal kick. Possibly a recurrence of a previous injury, who knows? Substitute goalkeeper, Paul Jones replaces him.
66 min: David Sullivan asks: “Which Arsenal player currently on the pitch is least likely to be with the team next year? Actually, let’s make that which three players since we know Keown and Seaman are on the outs.”
67 min: Thierry Henry, in his white boots, receives a yellow card for diving in the penalty box.
68 min: Southampton counter, to no avail.
69 min: Martin Zatko, he of China, tells me that ” there are 197 people quarantined in my local petrol station” as a result of the SARS virus. I wonder if they stock Ginsters?
70 min: Antti Niemi’s injury is a strained calf muscle.
73 min: Gordon Strachan prowls the by-line as Southampton replace Authentic Prada Handbags For Cheap Authentic Prada Handbags Usa Anders Svensson with Jo Tessem.
74 min: Tessem almost scores with his left foot with his first touch of the game. Shoots from left side of penalty area, blocked by Gilberto Silva.
75 min: Bergkamp is replaced by Sylvain Wiltord.
77 min: Kevin Mannerings asks Mr Zatko “how are VfB Stuttgart are getting on against Bayern Munich?” Um, Munich won I think.
82 min: David Seaman makes a great save from Brett Ormerod as Ormerod fires a powerful left footed shot from the left hand side of the six yard box. Goal bound, but a world class save keeps the Gunners in pole position.
85 min: Five minutes to go and Chris Baird is replaced by Fabrice Fernandes.
89 min: Henry frustrates the Saints as he holds the ball in the corner. Four minutes added on, Arsenal fans cheer each touch of the ball as the Gunners refuse to allow Southampton to touch the ball Authentic Prada Handbags Outlet Online for almost 90 seconds.
90 min: Shane Wiltshire updates me on his snack situation: “The cheddar cheese doesn’t taste like the real thing, the crisps aren’t Walkers and the Guinness was brewed in China…” Whatever next.
93 min: Pitch invader is carried off the pitch. And no he wasn’t wearing a Burberry cap.
94 min: Southampton have a corner in the final seconds. Beattie rises to head goalwards. Cleared off the line for another corner by Ashley Cole. Corner from right by-line taken left-footed by Brett Ormerod to centre, cleared by Robert Pires.
Full-time: Arsenal become the first club since Tottenham in 1982 to retain the FA Cup.
Email updates: Martin Zatko tells us that “VfB lost 2-0, I think. I can’t actually see the TV from my computer and the Chinese commentators never raise their voices when there’s a goal, only when there’s NEARLY a goal. VfB won 6-3 on nearly-goals, if you’re interested.”
Ian Wilde emailed from Oxford to let me know he’s doing some printing in the library and reading The Guardian. Good chap.