2002 FA Cup Final

The 2002 FA Cup Final was a football match between Arsenal and Chelsea on 4 May 2002 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. It was the final match of the 2001–02 FA Cup, the 120th season of the world's oldest football knockout competition, the FA Cup. Arsenal were appearing in their fifteenth final to Chelsea's seventh.

As both teams were in the highest tier of English football, the Premier League, they entered the competition in the third round. Matches up to the semi-final were contested on a one-off basis, with a replay taking place if the match ended in a draw. Arsenal's progress was relatively comfortable; they knocked out the holders Liverpool in the fourth round, but needed a replay to beat Newcastle United. After overcoming replays in the first two rounds and a difficult tie against Preston North End, Chelsea recorded an impressive win against Tottenham Hotspur. Both teams won their semi-final match by a single goal.

Graeme Le Saux and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink were passed fit for Chelsea, but John Terry was omitted from the starting lineup, having woken up ill on the morning of the final. For Arsenal, goalkeeper David Seaman came in place of Richard Wright, who deputised for him in the earlier rounds of the competition. Chelsea were led onto the field by Roberto Di Matteo, who had been forced to retire from football earlier in the season due to a serious injury. After an uneventful first half, Chelsea settled much the quicker of the two and created several chances to score. Arsenal withstood the pressure and took the lead in the 70th minute, when Ray Parlour scored from 25 yards. They made sure of victory after Freddie Ljungberg scored from a similar distance.

The final took place with one week remaining in the Premier League calendar. Arsenal beat Manchester United a few days later to regain the league title and complete their second league and cup double under manager Arsène Wenger.

2002 FA Cup Final
2002 FA Cup Final programme
The match programme cover
Event2001–02 FA Cup
Arsenal Chelsea
2 0
Date4 May 2002
VenueMillennium Stadium, Cardiff
Man of the MatchFreddie Ljungberg (Arsenal)[1]
RefereeMike Riley (West Yorkshire)
Attendance73,963
WeatherPartly cloudy
12 °C (54 °F)[2]

Route to the final

The FA Cup is English football's primary cup competition. Clubs in the Premier League enter the FA Cup in the third round and are drawn randomly out of a hat with the remaining clubs. If a match is drawn, a replay comes into force, ordinarily at the ground of the team who were away for the first game. As with league fixtures, FA Cup matches are subject to change in the event of games being selected for television coverage and this often can be influenced by clashes with other competitions.[3]

Arsenal

Round Opposition Score
3rd Watford (a) 4–2
4th Liverpool (h) 1–0
5th Gillingham (h) 5–2
6th Newcastle (a) 1–1
Newcastle (h) 3–0
Semi-final Middlesbrough (n) 1–0
Key: (h) = Home venue; (a) = Away venue; (n) = Neutral venue.

Arsenal entered the competition in the third round and was drawn to play Watford of the First Division. They took the lead in the eighth minute, where good play by Nwankwo Kanu allowed Thierry Henry to round goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain and tap the ball into the empty goal.[4] The lead was doubled two minutes later: Kanu again found Henry, who "unselfishly squared the ball to midfielder Freddie Ljungberg for another tap-in."[4] Gifton Noel-Williams moments later halved the scoreline, heading the ball in from a Gary Fisken cross.[4] After squandering numerous chances to increase their lead, Arsenal added a late third and fourth goal from Kanu and Dennis Bergkamp, before Marcus Gayle scored what was a mere consolation for Watford in stoppage time.[4]

Arsenal faced cup holders Liverpool at home in the following round. A solitary goal scored by Bergkamp in the 27th minute saw the home side progress in a match layered with controversy: Martin Keown, Bergkamp and Liverpool's Jamie Carragher were all sent off in the space of ten minutes, the latter for hurling back a coin at the crowd.[5] Against Gillingham in the fifth round, Arsenal twice had their lead cancelled out, before Tony Adams scored the winning goal of the match.[6]

Arsenal played Newcastle United in the sixth round on 9 March 2002. It was the second meeting between both teams in a week, and in spite of Arsenal winning the first fixture and scoring the opener in the cup tie, Newcastle held them to a 1–1 draw.[7] A replay was scheduled two weeks later at noon. Arsenal won by three goals to nil, but during the match lost Robert Pires to injury; he was ruled out for the remainder of the season with medial knee ligament damage.[8] An own goal by Middlesbrough's Gianluca Festa, from an Henry free-kick, was enough for Arsenal to win the semi-final.[9]

Chelsea

Round Opposition Score
3rd Norwich City (a) 0–0
Norwich City (h) 4–0
4th West Ham (h) 1–1
West Ham (a) 3–2
5th Preston North End (h) 3–1
6th Tottenham (a) 4–0
Semi-final Fulham (n) 1–0
Key: (h) = Home venue; (a) = Away venue; (n) = Neutral venue.

Chelsea's route to the final began in the third round, with a trip to Carrow Road to face Norwich City. An uneventful tie, with Carlo Cudicini making a series of saves to deny Norwich finished goalless and was replayed at Stamford Bridge.[10] Goals from Mario Stanić and Frank Lampard put Chelsea in a commanding lead and Gianfranco Zola scored the team's third with a unique piece of skill. From a corner, the Italian made a near-post run and flicked the ball airborne.[11] Chelsea finished the match 4–0 winners and were drawn to face West Ham United in the next round.[11] Frédéric Kanouté's late goal cancelled out Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's opener for Chelsea and the tie was replayed at Upton Park the following Wednesday night.[12] West Ham went a goal up when Jermain Defoe scored for West Ham, but their lead was short-lived as Hasselbaink directly from a free-kick. Defoe restored the home side's advantage in the 50th minute, though substitute Mikael Forssell came on to equalise for Chelsea and in stoppage time John Terry headed-in goalwards from a corner to complete the visitors comeback.[13]

In the fifth round Chelsea played Preston North End at home.[14] The visitors started well and took the lead in the sixth minute through Richard Cresswell. Cudicini's timely save denied Jon Macken from extending Preston's lead soon after and Chelsea responded to the setback with an equaliser, scored by Eiður Guðjohnsen.[14] Chelsea led after 26 minutes, but came close to conceding late on when Macken was denied once again by Cudicini. Forssell then scored Chelsea's third to settle the home side's nerves.[14]

Chelsea travelled to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham Hotspur in the sixth round. The team finished the tie as comfortable 4–0 winners, never looking as though they would crumble once William Gallas scored inside 12 minutes.[15] The one negative from their performance was the dismissal of Graeme Le Saux for a second bookable offence in the second half.[15] Local rivals Fulham were Chelsea's semi-final opponents. A scrappy match, which saw Fulham dominate much of the play but creating little, was settled in Chelsea's favour. Terry scored just before half time, heading the ball through the legs of Louis Saha standing in Fulham's goal.[16]

Pre-match

Arsenal were appearing in the final of the FA Cup for the fifteenth time, and for the second consecutive year. They had won the cup seven times previously (in 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1979, 1993 and 1998) and were beaten in the final seven times, the most recent in last season's showpiece event. By comparison, Chelsea were making their seventh appearance in a FA Cup final. The club won the cup three times (1970, 1997 and 2000) and lost the same number of finals (1915, 1967 and 1994). Arsenal and Chelsea had previously met fourteen times in the FA Cup, including four replays. Arsenal had a slender advantage in those meetings, winning five times to Chelsea's four, and defeated their London rivals a season ago in the fifth round of the competition.[17]

The most recent meeting between the two teams was in the Premier League on Boxing Day, when Arsenal came from behind to beat Chelsea.[18] Arsenal were unbeaten domestically since December 2001 and on course to complete their first league and cup double in four years.[19] Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger was buoyant his team would complete the task on hand: "We have been facing cup games in the league every week for a long time and this is just another. Chelsea will be a difficult team to beat if they are at their best on Saturday, but such is the confidence in this squad, we just feel we can win every game."[20] When asked what he made of Sir Alex Ferguson's comments that Manchester United played the best football in England, Wenger retorted: "What do you want me to say? Everybody thinks he has the prettiest wife."[20] The Arsenal manager was undecided whether to drop Richard Wright who started in every round of the FA Cup for David Seaman and to recall Sol Campbell who recovered from a hamstring injury.[19]

Millennium Stadium North
The final was staged at the Millennium Stadium for the second consecutive year.

Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri felt his team's participation in the cup final showed "... we are building something. It gives the young players confidence."[21] He noted their defence conceded fewer goals than the previous season, and targeted an improvement to their away record for the next campaign. Ranieri described the match against Arsenal as evenly balanced, adding: "Winning the FA Cup would make up for missing out on the Champions League. If the team can win, they will believe in themselves, but if they don't, it won't be the worst setback to the building process."[21] Le Saux resumed training having been absent with a calf injury, but Hasselbaink was a doubt for the final with a similar problem.[22]

The semi-finals at Villa Park and Old Trafford presented traffic problems and lengthy delays for supporters going to and from the grounds. The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone had written to the FA, expressing his concern about the possible travel chaos and urging to be kept briefed on the arrangements.[23] Train tickets were sold out since the semi-final round, despite the addition of services to accommodate 7,000 extra passengers.[24] Both clubs laid on six planes to take its supporters directly to Cardiff at £135 each.[24] Although the M4 was busy on the day of the final, there was little traffic with no major delays. A spokesman for South Wales Police reported: "The motorways are clear, despite the predictions. People seem to have taken our advice and left early."[25]

As with last season's event, the final was scheduled before the end of the domestic season. This was partly because the Premier League chose to end its campaign a week later, but with the World Cup starting on 31 May, the FA wanted to give players considerable time to prepare for the finals.[26] This season's staging of the competition offered a greater financial incentive to clubs, given the BBC and Sky Sports signed a joint-deal with the FA, worth £400 million to broadcast matches.[27] Finalists stood to receive £1 million in prize money; the winners would pocket an extra million with additional TV revenues.[27] The BBC spent a million promoting the FA Cup,[28] and as part of their pre-match coverage included a sketch featuring Ricky Gervais.[29] Seat prices for the final exceeded £70, with some ticket touts charging as much as £600 outside the stadium.[30]

For their pre-match walkabout, the Arsenal players wore Hugo Boss suits, whereas the Chelsea players were suited in Armani.[31] Chelsea were allocated the south dressing room after a coin-toss; it was considered a "jinx" given the last nine football teams to use it had failed to win.[32] The teams emerged from the tunnel once the traditional pre-match anthem "Abide with Me" was performed and Chelsea were led by midfielder Roberto Di Matteo, who retired earlier in the season through injury.[33] As the national anthem was sung by sextet Tenors and Divas, the Arsenal players and Wenger shuffled together and linked arms in a show of unity.[30][34]

Match

Team selection

On the day of the final Terry woke up with a virus which affected his balance.[35] Although he passed a fitness test in the morning, Ranieri decided to start him on the bench, to which the defender later reflected: "It was a tough decision but he did what he felt was right. It seems like somebody up there doesn't like me."[36] The teamsheets showed Gallas partnering Marcel Desailly in central defence, and Hasselbaink starting up front for Chelsea.[37] Wright was named on the bench for Arsenal and Ray Parlour was positioned alongside Vieira in central midfield.[37] Both teams lined up in a 4–4–2 formation: a four-man defence (comprising two centre-backs and left and right full-backs), four midfielders (two in the centre, and one on each wing) and two centre-forwards.[38]

Summary

Within a minute of Chelsea kicking off the match, Le Saux was booked for a challenge on Lauren.[39] Arsenal were awarded the first corner of the game in the eight minutes later, but nothing came out of it as Adams fouled Mario Melchiot in the penalty box.[39] The opening half-hour was mostly event-free, with neither side dominating and few goalscoring opportunities fashioned. Chelsea adopted a tactic of narrowing the pitch and using little width, which sedated Arsenal's typically fluent football. Guðjohnsen tested the Arsenal defence by making dangerous runs, but one in the 12th minute was ruled as a foul.[39] Arsenal's first chance came a minute later when Henry used his pace to run towards the Chelsea goal. He set up Sylvain Wiltord, whose shot was blocked by Desailly.[39] Vieira struggled to match the energetic performance of his opponent Frank Lampard and in the 17th minute Vieira's careless pass was intercepted by the England midfielder. Lampard decided to take a shot, forcing a save from Seaman.[39] Four minutes later Vieira started a move which almost gave Arsenal the lead. A ball over the top found Bergkamp in the Chelsea area, but he guided his header just wide.[39] In the 26th minute Vieira was awarded the final's first yellow card for a foul on Guðjohnsen.[39] A confrontation between Melchiot and Freddie Ljungberg occurred in the 33rd minute, but referee Mike Riley decided not to brandish a card, instead choosing to have a few words with the players.[39] Campbell's failed clearance a minute later presented Guðjohnsen with goal-scoring opportunity, but he hit his shot directly at Seaman. As the match drew nearer to half-time, Arsenal started to find their rhythm and played their usual passing game.[40] They created the best chance of the first half, when a cross from Wiltord found Lauren, who headed the ball just over the crossbar.[37] Hasselbaink, largely ineffective as he was blighted with injury, combined with Guðjohnsen to split open the Arsenal defence, but the move was halted as Riley called offside.[39]

Celestine Babayaro, who had been struggling with an injury, played no further part in the final and was substituted before the second half commenced.[41] Terry came on in his place to partner Desailly, which meant Gallas moved to left-back.[41] Arsenal resumed play and a shot by Henry was kept out by Cudicini.[40] The scare brought Chelsea to life and resulted in the team enjoying their best spell of the match. Guðjohnsen's effort in the 57th minute forced a save from Seaman, who tipped the ball over the bar.[40] Jesper Grønkjær then roamed forward and played the ball to Le Saux, but the defender's shot went well over.[39] Chelsea continued to pile pressure on Arsenal; Grønkjær's pass intended for Hasselbaink in the 61st minute was intercepted just in time by Adams and Melchiot's header unsettled Seaman in goal.[39] Wiltord then collected the ball from midfield and played a one-two with Henry, but directed his shot wide from the left flank.[42] Chelsea made their second change in the 67th minute, bringing on Zola for Hasselbaink.[42] The substitution did not have the desired effect as Arsenal went a goal ahead. Adams cleared the Chelsea danger and Wiltord's reverse pass found Parlour with acres of space to manoeuvre. The midfielder advanced as the Chelsea defence backed off and looked up before curling the ball from 25 yards.[42] His effort went over a diving Cudicini, into the top right-hand corner of the Chelsea goal.[40]

Wenger made a defensive-minded change almost immediately, taking Bergkamp off for Edu.[39] A clash between Henry and Terry in the 75th minute resulted in both players receiving a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.[40] Winger Boudewijn Zenden replaced Melchiot a minute later; the attacking change altered Chelsea's positioning. With 10 minutes of normal time remaining Arsenal extended their lead, when Ljungberg scored. A similarly executed goal to Parlour's, the Swede ran forward, evaded the challenge of Terry before curling the ball past Cudicini from the edge of the penalty area.[37] Ljungberg was serenaded by the Arsenal crowd, who chanted "We love you Freddie, 'cos you've got red hair."[43] Chelsea struggled to find a response; Guðjohnsen's foul on Parlour late on highlighted the team's frustrations.[44] Riley blew for full-time after normal and stoppage time and the on-pitch interviews commenced. Once Arsenal received their medals, Adams was given the cup and he shared the honour of lifting it with Vieira, his stand-in captain.[45]

Details

Arsenal2–0Chelsea
Parlour Goal 70'
Ljungberg Goal 80'
Report
Arsenal
Chelsea
GK 1 England David Seaman
RB 12 Cameroon Lauren
CB 23 England Sol Campbell
CB 6 England Tony Adams (c)
LB 3 England Ashley Cole
RM 11 France Sylvain Wiltord Substituted off 89'
CM 15 England Ray Parlour
CM 4 France Patrick Vieira Yellow card 26'
LM 8 Sweden Freddie Ljungberg
SS 10 Netherlands Dennis Bergkamp Substituted off 72'
CF 14 France Thierry Henry Yellow card 75' Substituted off 81'
Substitutes:
GK 24 England Richard Wright
DF 2 England Lee Dixon
DF 5 England Martin Keown Substituted in 89'
MF 17 Brazil Edu Substituted in 72'
FW 25 Nigeria Nwankwo Kanu Substituted in 81'
Manager:
France Arsène Wenger
Arsenal vs Chelsea 2002-05-04
GK 23 Italy Carlo Cudicini
RB 15 Netherlands Mario Melchiot Substituted off 76'
CB 13 France William Gallas
CB 6 France Marcel Desailly (c)
LB 3 Nigeria Celestine Babayaro Substituted off 45'
RM 30 Denmark Jesper Grønkjær
CM 8 England Frank Lampard
CM 17 France Emmanuel Petit
LM 14 England Graeme Le Saux Yellow card 2'
CF 22 Iceland Eiður Guðjohnsen Yellow card 90+1'
CF 9 Netherlands Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Substituted off 68'
Substitutes:
GK 1 Netherlands Ed de Goey
DF 26 England John Terry Yellow card 75' Substituted in 45'
MF 10 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slaviša Jokanović
MF 11 Netherlands Boudewijn Zenden Substituted in 76'
FW 25 Italy Gianfranco Zola Substituted in 68'
Manager:
Italy Claudio Ranieri

Man of the match

Match officials

Match rules

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

Statistics

Statistic Arsenal Chelsea
Goals scored 2 0
Possession 56% 44%
Shots on target 4 5
Shots off target 6 3
Blocked shots 2 1
Corner kicks 5 4
Fouls 15 14
Offsides 5 2
Yellow cards 2 3
Red cards 0 0
Source:[46]

Post-match

Wenger praised his team's character and told reporters: "We were very frustrated last year. We have shown a lot of strength to come back here – beating Liverpool and Newcastle on the way."[47] He was adamant Arsenal would win the league the following Wednesday: "This team knows how to win. I said three or four months ago that we will win the championship and the FA Cup. They really want to do it. And we will do it."[43] The goalscorers Parlour and Ljungberg both agreed winning at any cost was most important on the day, after the misery of the 2001 final.[47] Ranieri described the first half as tactical, but admitted once Arsenal had scored, Chelsea struggled to make a comeback. He justified his decision to include Hasselbaink, saying "He is a great striker and a danger to the opposition."[48] Lampard credited Arsenal's mental strength: "They can win when they are not playing particularly well. We need to find that consistency and if we can do that, I believe we will be up there with them soon."[49] He was pleased with his own performance against Vieira and hoped he did enough to be included in England's World Cup squad.[50]

Journalists and pundits reviewing the final unanimously agreed with the outcome of the match. Matt Dickinson wrote in The Times of 6 May 2002: "The force is with Arsenal, but it is not some ethereal presence, rather a brutish will to win derived from both triumphs and disappointments."[51] The Daily Telegraph football correspondent Henry Winter was strongly critical of Ranieri's selection-making and suggested Chelsea's failure was partly down to Hasselbaink's lack of fitness, as there was no attacking threat. In contrast he commended Wenger's tactics – "The decision by Arsenal's intelligent manager to deploy Parlour through the middle was a spectacular success", and praised their players' mental strength and resilience.[44] The Guardian's David Lacey also lauded Parlour's show in midfield, ranking his goal as one of the best in Cup final history. Although he agreed with the media consensus that the final was a drab affair and Arsenal's performance was not to their standard, he picked out several high-quality moments that the losing finalists failed to match, one in particular a timed-ball from Vieira.[52] Glenn Moore of The Independent observed how Wenger turned his team of also-rans into winners, noting the manager's decision to play Adams "bore fruit" as the defence dealt with Chelsea's increasing second-half pressure.[45] Football pundit Alan Hansen called Arsenal his team of the season and believed their win was built on the experience of Adams and Seaman; of the former he wrote: "Adams was also able to operate with the confidence that his goalkeeper was never going to make any mistakes."[53]

The match was broadcast live in the United Kingdom by both the BBC and Sky Sports, with BBC One providing the free-to-air coverage and Sky Sports 2 being the pay-TV alternative.[54] BBC One held the majority of the viewership, with an overnight peak audience of 7.4 million viewers – it received a final rating of 8.3 million.[55][56] The match itself was watched by 6.3 million viewers (52% viewing share) and coverage of the final averaged at 4.1 million (44.4%). By comparison ITV's coverage of the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final averaged 6.8 million viewers, though with a lower viewing share (33.3%).[57] The cup final ratings, a record low, were defended by the FA spokesman Paul Newman: "We are very pleased because the final peaked at 7.4m which is pretty good for a hot Saturday in the middle of a bank holiday weekend."[58] A list compiled by the London Evening Standard showed the 2002 final came bottom in the season's top 10 viewed football matches.[58]

Four days later Arsenal defeated Manchester United to complete their third double in the club's history.[59] Arsenal paraded both trophies on an open-top bus once the season drew to a close; Dixon at Islington Town Hall addressed the crowd and personally thanked his staff, teammates and the club supporters.[60] Chelsea's season ended with defeat to Aston Villa in the league.[61] They moved down a place to sixth as a result of Leeds United's win against Middlesbrough.[62]

See also

References

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  55. ^ Cozens, Claire (7 May 2002). "Is snooker the new football?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
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  61. ^ Thomas, Russell (13 May 2002). "Taylor's task made tougher as Boateng makes waves". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  62. ^ Green, Donald (11 May 2002). "Smith delivers for Leeds". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 September 2015.

Further reading

2001–02 Arsenal F.C. season

The 2001–02 season was the 104th season of competitive football played by Arsenal. Having ended the previous season as FA Cup finalists and league runners-up to Manchester United, the club went one better in this campaign, by completing the domestic double – their second in four years and third overall. Arsenal won the Premier League by a seven-point margin, were unbeaten away from home and managed the unique feat of scoring in every league game. They lost only three times in the division, all of which at home. At the Millennium Stadium, Arsenal beat Chelsea 2–0 to win the 2002 FA Cup Final. In Europe however, they fared poorly as they were eliminated in the second group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

In the transfer window, Arsenal sold several fringe players, notably Nelson Vivas to Internazionale and Sylvinho to Celta Vigo; goalkeeper John Lukic was released following his decision to retire. Goalkeeper Richard Wright was signed as an earmarked understudy to David Seaman, while midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst and striker Francis Jeffers were purchased in big money moves from Rangers and Everton respectively. Perhaps the marked signing for Arsenal was the acquisition of defender Sol Campbell, who moved from local rivals Tottenham Hotspur on a free transfer.

Manager Arsène Wenger was named Barclaycard Manager of the Year and midfielder Freddie Ljungberg received the player equivalent – the Barclaycard Player of the Year, in recognition of the team's achievement. Winger Robert Pires was given the accolade of being the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year, while Thierry Henry ended the campaign as club and the league's top goalscorer, the latter for which he was awarded the Premier League Golden Boot. At the end of the season, club captain Tony Adams announced his retirement from football; he was followed by fellow defender Lee Dixon and club goalkeeping coach Bob Wilson.

2002 FA Community Shield

The 2002 FA Community Shield (also known as The FA Community Shield in partnership with McDonald's for sponsorship reasons) 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. It was the first edition since the competition's rename from 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 was 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 after 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 was the first team to win the Shield outright 11 times, while it marked Liverpool's first defeat at the Millennium Stadium.

2002–03 Arsenal F.C. season

The 2002–03 season was the 105th season of competitive football played by Arsenal. The club retained the FA Cup, a feat last achieved by Tottenham Hotspur in 1982, but finished runners-up to Manchester United in the Premier League. In the UEFA Champions League, defeat to Valencia in the second group stage meant Arsenal exited the competition at the same round for the second successive year.

Arsenal began the new campaign as league and cup double winners, and manager Arsène Wenger sought improvement in the Champions League, a competition the club failed in. The retirement of defender Tony Adams meant French midfielder Patrick Vieira was appointed as captain; Pascal Cygan was signed as a replacement in defence. Other recruitments included defensive midfielders Gilberto Silva and Kolo Touré, while goalkeepers Alex Manninger and Richard Wright departed to join Espanyol and Everton respectively.

In the league, a 4–1 win against Leeds United in September meant the club broke the record for scoring in consecutive games (47), and away league games without defeat (22). The club began 2003 in first position, but subsequently floundered; a draw to Aston Villa in April allowed Manchester United to move joint top. A further draw at Bolton Wanderers meant the league championship was, mathematically, out of Arsenal's hands and defeat to Leeds a week after ended their chances of retaining the league. Consolation came in retaining the FA Cup; a solitary goal scored by midfielder Robert Pires was enough to beat Southampton in the 2003 final.

30 different players represented the club in five competitions and there were 17 different goalscorers. Arsenal's top goalscorer was Thierry Henry, who scored 32 goals in 55 appearances.

2017 FA Cup Final

The 2017 FA Cup Final was the 136th final of the FA Cup, the world's oldest football cup competition. It took place on 27 May 2017 at Wembley Stadium in London, England and was contested between London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea. Arsenal won the game 2–1 to secure a record 13th title, while manager Arsène Wenger became the most successful manager in the tournament's history with seven wins.

The winners would enter the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League group stage, had they not already qualified for the UEFA Champions League via other competitions.This was a rematch of the 2002 FA Cup Final and the first final since 2003 in which both sides split the league games against each other during the course of the season, with a 3–0 victory by Arsenal in September 2016, and a 3–1 win by Chelsea in February 2017. The game was broadcast live in the United Kingdom by both BBC and BT Sport. BBC One provided the free-to-air coverage and BT Sport 2 was the pay-TV alternative. In North America, this was the first FA Cup Final to be televised by CTV in Canada and by FOX in the United States.

Due to the circumstances surrounding his appearance, and performance on the day, Arsenal fans and former players have dubbed the game The Mertesacker Final.

Arsenal F.C.–Chelsea F.C. rivalry

The Arsenal F.C.–Chelsea F.C. rivalry is a rivalry between London-based professional association football clubs Arsenal and Chelsea. Arsenal play their home games at the Emirates Stadium, while Chelsea play their home games at Stamford Bridge.

Overall, Arsenal have won more games in the rivalry's history, having won 76 times to Chelsea's 64, with 58 draws (as of 29 May 2019). Arsenal's record win was a 5–1 victory in a First Division match at Stamford Bridge on 29 November 1930. Chelsea's record win was a 6–0 victory at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on 22 March 2014. Didier Drogba holds the mark for the most derby goals with 13 in all competitions.The clubs have contested four major finals: the 2002 FA Cup Final, which Arsenal won 2–0, the 2007 League Cup Final, which Chelsea won 2–1, the 2017 FA Cup Final, which Arsenal won 2–1, and the 2019 UEFA Europa League Final which Chelsea won 4–1.

Arsène Wenger

Arsène Charles Ernest Wenger (French pronunciation: ​[aʁsɛn vɛŋɡɛʁ]; born 22 October 1949) is a French football manager and former player. He was the manager of Arsenal from 1996 to 2018, where he was the longest-serving and most successful in the club's history. His contribution to English football through changes to scouting, players' training and diet regimens revitalised Arsenal and aided the globalisation of the sport in the 21st century.

Born in Strasbourg and raised in Duttlenheim to an entrepreneurial family, Wenger was introduced to football by his father, the manager of the local village team. After a modest playing career, in which he made appearances for several amateur clubs, Wenger obtained a manager's diploma in 1981. Following an unsuccessful period at Nancy which culminated in his dismissal in 1987, Wenger joined AS Monaco; the club won the league championship in 1988. In 1991, Wenger guided Monaco to victory in the Coupe de France, but their failure to regain the league title in later seasons led to his departure from the club by mutual consent in 1994. He briefly coached J.League side Nagoya Grampus Eight and won the Emperor's Cup and Japanese Super Cup during his stay in Japan.

Wenger was named manager of Arsenal in 1996 and two years later led the club to a Premier League and FA Cup double. The club won another league and cup double in 2002 and retained the FA Cup a year later. In 2004, Wenger managed Arsenal to an undefeated league season, a feat last accomplished by Preston North End, 115 years previously. Arsenal later eclipsed Nottingham Forest's record of 42 league matches unbeaten and went seven more matches before losing in October 2004. The club made their first appearance in a Champions League final in 2006, though they lost to Barcelona. After a period of almost nine years without a trophy, which coincided with the club relocating to the Emirates Stadium, Wenger guided Arsenal to further FA Cup success in 2014, 2015 and 2017, before stepping down as manager a year later.

The nickname "Le Professeur" (French: usually translated as "The Teacher") is used by fans and the British media to reflect Wenger's studious demeanour. His approach to the game emphasises an attacking mentality, with the aim that football ought to be entertaining on the pitch. Wenger's Arsenal teams have been criticised for their indiscipline; his players received 100 red cards between September 1996 and February 2014, though the team has won awards for sporting fair play. At Monaco, Wenger earned a reputation for spotting young talent, and he has remained focused on developing a youth system.

Boudewijn Zenden

Boudewijn "Bolo" Zenden (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈbʌu̯dəˌʋɛi̯n ˈzɛndə(n)] (listen); born 15 August 1976) is a Dutch former footballer who played as a left winger or as an attacking midfielder.

Named the 1997 Dutch Football Talent of the Year, Zenden played for four teams in the English Premier League, totalling 180 games and 19 goals. He also played in the highest leagues in the Netherlands, Spain and France, for PSV, Barcelona and Marseille respectively. Internationally, Zenden earned 54 caps and scored seven goals for the Netherlands, whom he represented at two UEFA European Championships and the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Celestine Babayaro

Celestine Hycieth Babayaro (born 29 August 1978) is a Nigerian former footballer who played as a defender or as a midfielder.

Babayaro spent the majority of his career playing in the Premier League, mainly for Chelsea from 1997 to 2005, and then later for Newcastle United, from 2005 to 2008. He had a brief stint at MLS club LA Galaxy, but never officially played for the club, and was a free agent, before retiring in 2010.

Babayaro represented the Nigerian national football team from 1995 to 2014, and was part of two Olympic squads, two World Cup squads and three African Cup of Nations squads.

Chelsea F.C.

Chelsea Football Club are an English professional football club. Founded in 1905, they compete in the Premier League, the top division of English football. Chelsea are among England's most successful clubs, having won over thirty competitive honours. Their home ground is Stamford Bridge in Fulham, London.Chelsea won their first major honour, the League Championship, in 1955. They won the FA Cup for the first time in 1970 and their first European honour, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, in 1971. After a period of decline in the late 1970s and 1980s, the club enjoyed a revival in the 1990s and had more success in cup competitions. The past two decades have been the most successful in Chelsea's history, winning five of their six league titles and the UEFA Champions League. Chelsea are one of five clubs to have won all three of UEFA's main club competitions, and the only London club to have won the Champions League.

Chelsea's home kit colours are royal blue shirts and shorts with white socks. The club's crest features a ceremonial lion rampant regardant holding a staff. The club have rivalries with neighbouring teams Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, and a historic rivalry with Leeds United. Based on attendance figures, the club have the sixth-largest fanbase in England. In terms of club value, Chelsea are the seventh most valuable football club in the world, worth £1.54 billion ($2.06 billion), and are the eighth highest-earning football club in the world, with earnings of over €428 million in the 2017–18 season. Since 2003, Chelsea have been owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

Edu Gaspar

Eduardo César Daude Gaspar (born 15 May 1978), commonly known as Edu or Edu Gaspar, is a retired Brazilian footballer who played as a midfielder. He is currently the general coordinator of the Brazil National Football Team.

Emmanuel Petit

Emmanuel Laurent Petit (French pronunciation: ​[ɛmanɥɛl pəti]; born 22 September 1970) is a French former footballer who played at club level for Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea as a midfielder. He represented France at international level in two FIFA World Cups and two UEFA European Championships; he scored the third goal in France's 3–0 victory in the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final and was also a member of the French squad that won UEFA Euro 2000.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Jerrel "Jimmy" Floyd Hasselbaink (born 27 March 1972) is a Dutch former professional footballer and current manager.

A forward, he began his career with Telstar and AZ, before leaving the Netherlands for Portuguese club Campomaiorense in August 1995. He joined Boavista the following year, and won the Taça de Portugal with the club in 1997. Later that year he was signed by English side Leeds United for a £2 million fee, and went on to win the Premier League Golden Boot award in 1998–99. He was sold on to Spanish club Atlético Madrid for £10 million in 1999, and reached the final of the Copa del Rey with Atlético despite the club also suffering relegation from La Liga.

Hasselbaink returned to the Premier League with Chelsea for a club record £15 million fee in May 2000. He scored 23 league goals in his first season, which earned him a second Premier League Golden Boot. He also played in the 2002 FA Cup Final and made a career high second-place league finish in 2003–04. He moved to Middlesbrough on a free transfer in July 2004, and played in the final of the UEFA Cup in 2006. He signed with Charlton Athletic in July 2006, before joining Cardiff City in August 2007. He played on the losing side in the 2008 FA Cup Final before retiring. He also scored nine goals in 23 matches in a four-year international career for the Netherlands national team, and appeared at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

In May 2013 he was appointed manager of Royal Antwerp in the Belgian Second Division, where he stayed for one season. In November 2014, he was hired by Burton Albion, and in his first season he led them to their first ever promotion to League One as champions of League Two. In December 2015, he was appointed manager of Queens Park Rangers in the Championship, and lasted 11 months in the job until he was dismissed in November 2016. From September 2017 to April 2018 he managed League One club Northampton Town.

Mark Halsey

Mark R. Halsey (born 8 July 1961) is a retired English professional football referee who was born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, later based in Bolton, Greater Manchester. Halsey primarily refereed in the Premier League from 1999 to 2013 and was on the league's list of Select Group Referees from its creation in 2001 until his retirement.

His first Premier League appointment was a fixture between Wimbledon and Coventry City in August 1999 and over the course of his professional career he refereed a number of notable matches, including the FA Community Shield in 2007 and the 2008 final of the Football League Cup.

In 2009 Halsey underwent chemotherapy to treat a cancerous tumour in his throat. He returned to refereeing in the top-flight in 2010. He announced his retirement at the end of the 2012–13 season.

Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira (born 23 June 1976) is a French professional football head coach and former player. He is the manager of Nice.

Considered one of the best players of his generation, Vieira began his career at Cannes in 1994, where several standout performances in his debut season garnered him a move to Serie A club Milan a year later. His single season in Italy was marred due to limited playing time, and he featured mainly for the reserve team. This allowed him to relocate to England, in order to join countryman Arsène Wenger at Arsenal, for a fee of £3.5 million in 1996.

During his nine-year stint in the Premier League, Vieira established himself as a dominating box-to-box midfielder, noted for his aggressive and highly competitive style of play, an attitude that also helped him excel as captain of the club from 2002 until his departure in 2005. He helped Arsenal achieve a sustained period of success during his time at the club, where he lifted three FA Cups and three league titles, including one unbeaten. He then returned to Italy, playing for Juventus, but quickly departed after the club sustained relegation for their part in a match-fixing scandal. He then signed for Inter Milan, where he won three league titles, before featuring for Manchester City, where he won another FA Cup before retiring in 2011.Vieira featured at senior level for much of his international career, representing France over a period of 12 years, where he also spent some part as captain. He played in the final in his nation's victorious campaign at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, and featured heavily as the team also won Euro 2000. Despite also playing a key role in the side that finished runners-up in the 2006 World Cup, Vieira was used sparingly by France in the latter stages of his career, and he retired from international competition in 2010, after amassing 107 appearances for the side.

Following retirement, Vieira transitioned into coaching, where he took charge of the academy at Manchester City in 2013. He would depart two years later, after signing for sister club New York City. His arrival in Major League Soccer (MLS) saw the team adopt a free-flowing, attacking, press-based system, which gained him many plaudits, and garnered him a move back to his homeland to manage Ligue 1 club Nice in 2018, marking his first managerial role in Europe.

Ray Parlour

Raymond Parlour (born 7 March 1973) is an English former professional footballer who played as a midfielder from 1992 to 2007.

He spent his career playing for Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Hull City. During his Arsenal career he was nicknamed "The Romford Pelé"; although the nickname was given with an ironic sense of humour, on account of his solid performance but unglamorous image. He has been described as an "unsung hero" and praised as a "fans' favourite" for his high-energy performances. He is now a pundit on television, as well as on radio stations BBC Radio 5 Live and Talksport. In 2012 Parlour briefly came out of retirement to play for Wembley in the club's FA Cup fixtures.

Tony Adams

Tony Alexander Adams (born 10 October 1966) is an English football manager. As a player, Adams played for Arsenal and England, captaining both teams.

Adams spent his entire playing career of 22 years as a centre back at Arsenal. He is considered one of the greatest Arsenal players of all time by the club's own fans and was included in the Football League 100 Legends. With Arsenal, he won four top flight division titles, uniquely captaining a title-winning team in three different decades, three FA Cups, two Football League Cups, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and two FA Community Shields. A statue honouring Adams was unveiled at Emirates stadium on 9 December 2011, along with statues of Thierry Henry and Herbert Chapman. He won 66 caps for England between 1987 and 2000 and played at four major tournaments.

When his playing career finished Adams went into football management, spending periods in charge of Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth, Azerbaijani side Gabala and Spanish side Granada.

Adams will be appointed as the 29th President of the Rugby Football League over the summer of 2019. He will succeed Andy Burnham.

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