2003 FA Cup Final

The 2003 FA Cup Final was the 122nd final of the FA Cup, the world's oldest domestic football cup competition.[2] The final took place on Saturday 17 May 2003 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, in front of a crowd of 73,726. It was the third consecutive year the final was played at the stadium, due to the ongoing reconstruction of Wembley Stadium, the final's usual venue. The 2003 final was the first to be played indoors; the roof was closed because of bad weather. The clubs contesting the final were Arsenal, the holders of the competition and Southampton. This was Arsenal's sixteenth appearance in a final to Southampton's fourth.

As Premier League clubs, Arsenal and Southampton entered the FA Cup in the third round, which meant each club needed to progress through five rounds to reach the final. Arsenal made a convincing start, they won their opening three rounds, but needed a sixth-round replay against Chelsea. By contrast, Southampton played one replay in the fourth round against Millwall. Arsenal entered the match as favourites and had beaten Southampton 6–1 nine days earlier in the league. Goalkeeper David Seaman captained Arsenal in the absence of the injured Patrick Vieira; it was to be Seaman's last appearance for the club. In defence for Southampton, Chris Baird made only his second competitive start. Chris Marsden captained the club in the absence of the injured club captain, Jason Dodd.

Arsenal began the match more effectively of the two and scored what proved to be the winning goal in the latter minutes of the first half – Freddie Ljungberg's rebounded goal effort was converted by Robert Pires. Midway through the second half, Southampton goalkeeper Antti Niemi was substituted, as he strained his calf muscle; he was replaced by Paul Jones. In stoppage time, striker James Beattie had his header cleared off the line by Ashley Cole, in what was the final chance for Southampton.

Arsenal's win marked the first time a team had retained the trophy since Tottenham Hotspur in 1982. They later played against league champions Manchester United in the 2003 FA Community Shield. Given Arsenal had already qualified for Europe via their league position, their UEFA Cup spot was awarded to runners-up Southampton.

2003 FA Cup Final
2003 FA Cup Final programme
The match programme cover
Event2002–03 FA Cup
Arsenal Southampton
1 0
Date17 May 2003
VenueMillennium Stadium, Cardiff
Man of the MatchThierry Henry (Arsenal)
RefereeGraham Barber (Hertfordshire)
Attendance73,726
WeatherRainy
13 °C (55 °F)[1]

Route to the final

Arsenal

Round Opposition Score
3rd Oxford United (h) 2–0
4th Farnborough Town (a) 5–1
5th Manchester United (a) 2–0
6th Chelsea (h) 2–2
Chelsea (a) 3–1
Semi-final Sheffield United (n) 1–0
Key: (h) = Home venue; (a) = Away venue; (n) = Neutral venue.

Arsenal entered the competition in the third round, receiving a bye as a Premier League club. Their opening match was a 2–0 home win against Oxford United on 4 January 2003.[3] Striker Dennis Bergkamp scored his 100th goal for the club and an own goal by defender Scott McNiven ensured progression to the next round.[4] Arsenal faced non-league side Farnborough Town; the match switched from Farnborough's ground at Cherrywood Road to Highbury due to concerns over safety.[5] Farnborough began the match as the home team and conceded the first goal, scored by Arsenal defender Sol Campbell in the 19th minute. They went down to ten men after Christian Lee was sent off for a professional foul. Francis Jeffers scored twice before Rocky Baptiste added a consolation, beating Pascal Cygan for pace and despite having his first shot saved by goalkeeper Stuart Taylor, he managed to lift the ball over him and into the net. Lauren and Bergkamp each scored in the final 15 minutes to give Arsenal a 5–1 victory.[6]

Arsenal's fifth round match was away to league rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on 16 February 2003. After Ryan Giggs missed the chance to score past an open goal, midfielder Edu gave Arsenal the lead through a free kick which took a deflection off David Beckham's shoulder. Striker Sylvain Wiltord scored the second goal of the match in the 52nd minute, running onto a pass from Edu and side-footing the ball past goalkeeper Fabien Barthez.[7] Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira said of the performance: "We knew when we lost here in the league that we had lost the battle in midfield. We had to put that right, and we did."[8] In the sixth round, Arsenal was drawn at home to Chelsea in a repeat of the previous season's final.[9] Chelsea defender John Terry put Chelsea ahead with a header from a set piece before Arsenal responded through Jeffers and Thierry Henry. Frank Lampard scored a late equaliser for the visiting team meaning the match was replayed at Stamford Bridge.[10] An own goal by Terry and a strike by Wiltord in the space of seven minutes during the replay gave Arsenal an early lead against Chelsea. Despite going down to ten men after Cygan was sent off and Terry scoring from a header, the away team scored a third goal through Lauren to ensure progression into the semi-finals.[11] In the semi-final against Sheffield United on 13 April 2003 at Old Trafford, Freddie Ljungberg scored the winning goal to help Arsenal reach their third successive FA Cup final appearance.[12] The match was best remembered for David Seaman's late save, which prevented Sheffield United from equalising.[13]

Southampton

Round Opposition Score
3rd Tottenham Hotspur (h) 4–0
4th Millwall (h) 1–1
Millwall (a) 2–1
5th Norwich City (h) 2–0
6th Wolverhampton Wanderers (h) 2–0
Semi-final Watford (n) 2–1
Key: (h) = Home venue; (a) = Away venue; (n) = Neutral venue.

Like Arsenal, as a Premier League club, Southampton received a bye into the third round. Their opening match was a 4–0 win against fellow league club Tottenham Hotspur. A goal by defender Michael Svensson and three from Jo Tessem, Anders Svensson and James Beattie in the second half was the second straight victory against Tottenham, having beaten them on New Year's Day in the league.[14] In the fourth round, Southampton was drawn at home to First Division club Millwall on 25 January 2003. The visitors took the lead through striker Steve Claridge but were denied victory 90 seconds from the end of the match as Southampton striker Kevin Davies scored from a rebounded shot.[15] In the replay, midfielder Matthew Oakley scored twice for Southampton (one in both halves) either side of a Steven Reid equaliser for Millwall.[16]

Southampton's fifth round match was against Norwich City at home on 5 February 2003. Two goals in the space of three minutes, scored by Svensson and Tessem was enough to take the team into the quarter-finals.[17] Southampton defender Claus Lundekvam was pleased with the win and said following the match: "When you get to this stage in the competition you have to believe you can win it."[18] The club then faced Wolverhampton Wanderers at home in the following round. Former Wolves player Chris Marsden gave Southampton the lead in the 56th minute and with nine minutes remaining of normal time, the team added a second goal when Tessem's shot took a deflection off Paul Butler's legs to go inside the goal net.[19] The victory meant Southampton reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the first time in 17 years.[20] At Villa Park, Southampton played First Division team Watford on 13 April 2003. Brett Ormerod opened the scoring two minutes before half time and set up the second goal which saw the ball being taken over the line by Watford defender Paul Robinson. Despite Marcus Gayle scoring a late header to half the scoreline Southampton won the match.[21]

Pre-match

Bobby Robson Cropped
Sir Bobby Robson was the chief guest for the final, and presented the trophy to the winners

Arsenal was appearing in the final of the FA Cup for the sixteenth time. They had won the cup eight times previously (in 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1979, 1993, 1998 and 2002) and had been beaten in the final seven times, the most recent in 2001. By comparison, Southampton made their fourth appearance in a FA Cup final. Their previous best was winning the cup in 1976, by beating opponents Manchester United.[22]

Both clubs received an allocation of approximately 25,000 tickets, with the remaining 25,000 being sent out to other clubs.[23] 17,500 of those tickets were available to Southampton season ticket holders.[24] Seat prices for the final exceeded £80, with the cheapest tickets available at £25.[24] Southampton was given the South Stand, which was the larger end of the stadium, whereas Arsenal was situated at the opposite end.[24] Although Southampton supporters were disappointed at the allocation share, chairman Rupert Lowe refused to criticise the FA's decision, by saying: "The reality is that too many people want to go and there are never enough tickets."[25] In the lead up to the final, the South Wales Echo reported that many tickets were being sold on the black market, for "20 times" the face-value price.[23]

Nine days before the final, the two clubs faced each other in a league match at Highbury. With Arsenal unable to retain the title, having lost to Leeds United, manager Arsène Wenger rested several players, as did Southampton manager Gordon Strachan, whose team started without six of their first-choice eleven.[26] Winger Jermaine Pennant on his league debut scored a hat-trick, as did Pires, in a 6–1 win.[26] Strachan believed the result had little bearing on their chances of winning the cup, noting: "There is little pressure on Southampton to lift the trophy. We were not expected to reach the final and have already clinched a place in the UEFA Cup."[27] Wenger accepted his team were "favourites" but expected "...Southampton to be at their best against us because it will be a different team than the one we faced in the championship recently."[28]

The traditional Cup Final hymn, "Abide with Me" was sung by Tony Henry, an opera singer from South London.[29] Sir Bobby Robson was invited as the FA's chief guest for the final and performed several duties ordinarily reserved for royalty, such as presenting the trophy to the winning captain.[30] Heavy rain on Friday night and forecasted showers in Cardiff meant the final would be the first to be played indoors; the stadium closed its retractable roof and floodlights were used to light up the ground.[31]

Match

Team selection

Vieira was ruled out of the match because of a knee injury, so Seaman was named as Arsenal captain, in a match widely anticipated as his final for the club.[32] With Campbell suspended and Cygan absent due to a thigh strain,[33] Daily Mail journalists Steve Curry and Ian Gibb revealed the night before the final that midfielder Kolo Touré was pencilled in as an "emergency centre back".[34] Wenger however picked Oleg Luzhny to pair up with Martin Keown, who was rested the previous Sunday away to Sunderland. For Southampton, the major absentee was striker Marian Pahars, who underwent a third operation to overcome a troubling knee injury.[35] Defender Chris Baird made his second competitive start for the club and Chris Marsden captained Southampton, given Jason Dodd's absence with an injury. Although both teams set up in a 4–4–2 formation, Bergkamp was positioned as a deep-lying forward behind Henry.[36]

Report

Robert Pires1
Robert Pires scored the only goal of the final

Arsenal created their first chance inside 24 seconds, when Ljungberg put Henry clear down the right-hand side.[37] The striker used his pace to get the better of Lundekvam, only to have his shot blocked by goalkeeper Antti Niemi.[37] Bergkamp's goal effort in the eighth minute was cleared off the line by full back Chris Baird, after Niemi fumbled Henry's initial shot.[37] Southampton fashioned their first opportunity in the 15th minute through a high cross; in spite of unsettling the Arsenal defence, the unmarked Svensson volleyed over the bar.[37] Baird moments after won the ball in midfield and curled a shot that left Seaman "scrambling across his goal to save". Seven minutes before the break, Arsenal went into the lead. Henry, receiving the ball from Parlour, slipped it into Bergkamp down the right. He in turn fed the ball to Ljungberg, whose shot was blocked. The ball rebounded in the direction of Pires, who needed one touch to set himself and another to fire into the goal at the near post, despite Niemi getting a hand to the ball.[37] Arsenal missed further chances to extend their lead when a cross from the right by Henry was shot over the bar by Pires and from the same area, Bergkamp's "cross-cum-shot" was missed by Ljungberg.[38]

After the break, Southampton applied pressure and a poor clearance by Seaman invited a chance for Paul Telfer to shoot from "35 yards out"; his pass found Ormerod, but was eventually intercepted by Luzhny.[39] Minutes after, Beattie failed to take advantage from Oakley's cross, as the ball drifted wide.[39] Arsenal regained possession and in the 52nd minute went close to doubling their lead.[40] In Southampton's penalty box, Bergkamp turned and beat Ormerod before curling a shot which Niemi palmed off; it fell to the feet of Ljungberg, who shot the ball into the side-netting.[40] Telfer misguided his header from a Southampton corner, before Niemi denied Henry again. In the 65th minute, Niemi injured himself, in an attempt to clear the ball and was replaced by substitute Paul Jones.[40] Both clubs made substitutions in the final third of the game, with Wiltord coming on for Bergkamp and Tessem replacing Svensson.[40] Ormerod's goal-bound effort was saved by Seaman with 10 minutes remaining of the match. In the fourth minute of injury time, Southampton earned themselves a corner.[40] Beattie's on-target header was cleared off the line by Ashley Cole and out for another corner, which Pires kicked out in the final action of the game.[40]

Details

Arsenal1–0Southampton
Pires Goal 38' Report
Arsenal
Southampton
GK 1 England David Seaman (c)
RB 12 Cameroon Lauren
CB 5 England Martin Keown Yellow card 30'
CB 22 Ukraine Oleg Luzhny
LB 3 England Ashley Cole
RM 7 France Robert Pires
CM 15 England Ray Parlour
CM 19 Brazil Gilberto Silva
LM 8 Sweden Freddie Ljungberg
SS 10 Netherlands Dennis Bergkamp Substituted off 77'
CF 14 France Thierry Henry Yellow card 66'
Substitutes:
GK 13 England Stuart Taylor
DF 28 Ivory Coast Kolo Touré
MF 16 Netherlands Giovanni van Bronckhorst
FW 11 France Sylvain Wiltord Substituted in 77'
FW 25 Nigeria Nwankwo Kanu
Manager:
France Arsène Wenger
Arsenal vs Southampton 2003-05-17
GK 14 Finland Antti Niemi Substituted off 66'
RB 32 Northern Ireland Chris Baird Substituted off 86'
CB 5 Norway Claus Lundekvam
CB 11 Sweden Michael Svensson Yellow card 90'
LB 3 England Wayne Bridge
RM 33 Scotland Paul Telfer Yellow card 60'
CM 8 England Matthew Oakley
CM 12 Sweden Anders Svensson Substituted off 75'
LM 4 England Chris Marsden (c) Yellow card 77'
CF 36 England Brett Ormerod
CF 9 England James Beattie Yellow card 31'
Substitutes:
GK 1 Wales Paul Jones Substituted in 66'
DF 6 England Paul Williams
DF 19 Gibraltar Danny Higginbotham
MF 29 France Fabrice Fernandes Substituted in 86'
FW 21 Norway Jo Tessem Substituted in 75'
Manager:
Scotland Gordon Strachan

Man of the match

Match officials

Match rules

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

Statistics

Statistic[42] Arsenal Southampton
Goals scored 1 0
Possession 59% 41%
Shots on target 7 4
Shots off target 5 10
Corner kicks 4 8
Fouls 10 18
Offsides 3 3
Yellow cards 2 4
Red cards 0 0

Post-match

In retaining the cup, Arsenal became the first team to do so since Tottenham Hotspur in 1982. Wenger commented after the game that his team "got the trophy we wanted" while Strachan was in admiration of Southampton's performance: "I'm very proud of the way they competed. I couldn't have asked for any more."[43] Keown said the FA Cup win was "the best ever" and Seaman felt the disappointment of losing out to Manchester United in the league spurred the team on.[43] Football pundits Alan Hansen, Peter Schmeichel and Mark Hughes unanimously agreed that Arsenal deserved to win the match.[44]

Arsenal's victory set up a Community Shield match against Manchester United, winners of the 2002–03 Premier League. The FA Cup winners are awarded qualification into the UEFA Cup, but because Arsenal qualified for the UEFA Champions League via their league position, the UEFA Cup place was passed to Southampton, the runners-up.[45]

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 1 being the pay-TV alternative.[46] BBC One held the majority of the viewership, with a peak audience of 9.6 million viewers (55.7% viewing share) watching at 16:50pm and the match averaged at 8.3 million (55%) – the highest audience for a FA Cup final in four years.[47] Coverage of the final began on the channel at 12:10pm and averaged 5.3 million (44.4%).[47] The Match of the Day coverage concluded at different times dependent on station, with the broadcast in Scotland ending 10 minutes before the main broadcast finished.

See also

References

  1. ^ "History for Cardiff-Wales, United Kingdom". Weather Underground. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  2. ^ "History of The FA Cup". TheFA.com. The Football Association. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Arsenal end Oxford dream". BBC Sport. 4 January 2003. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  4. ^ Burnton, Simon (6 January 2003). "Bergkamp worthy of ton of respect". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  5. ^ Bradley, Mark (9 January 2003). "Farnborough to switch cup tie". theguardian.com. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  6. ^ "Arsenal cruise through". BBC Sport. 25 January 2003. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  7. ^ "Arsenal cruise past Man Utd". BBC Sport. 16 February 2003. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  8. ^ Wilson, Paul (16 February 2003). "Arsenal triumph as Giggs goes missing". The Observer. London. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  9. ^ "London giants collide". BBC Sport. 27 February 2003. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  10. ^ "Chelsea hold Arsenal". BBC Sport. 8 March 2003. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  11. ^ "Arsenal brush aside Chelsea". BBC Sport. 25 March 2003. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Arsenal sink brave Blades". BBC Sport. 13 April 2003. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  13. ^ McCarra, Kevin (14 April 2003). "Super Seaman defies time and gravity to end Blades odyssey". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  14. ^ "Saints thrash Spurs". BBC Sport. 4 January 2003. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  15. ^ "Last-gasp Saints deny Lions". BBC Sport. 25 January 2003. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  16. ^ "Saints tame Lions". BBC Sport. 13 February 2003. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  17. ^ "Saints see off Norwich". BBC Sport. 5 February 2003. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  18. ^ "Lundekvam eyes FA Cup glory". BBC Sport. 16 February 2003. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  19. ^ Brodkin, Jon (10 March 2003). "Super Wolves softened up by old boy Marsden". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  20. ^ "Saints tame Wolves". BBC Sport. 9 March 2003. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  21. ^ Davies, Christopher (14 April 2003). "Ormerod destroys Watford dream". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  22. ^ Hayward, Paul (17 May 2003). "Saints marching on the giants". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  23. ^ a b "Touts selling tickets at 10 times value". South Wales Echo. Cardiff. 7 May 2003. p. 7.
  24. ^ a b c Leitch, Adam (26 April 2003). "25,000 tickets for Saints' Cardiff army". Daily Echo. Southampton.
  25. ^ Pratt, Harry (7 May 2003). "Lowe blasts ticket fiasco". Daily Star. London. p. 71.
  26. ^ a b Brodkin, Jon (8 May 2003). "Arsenal star in Cup dress rehearsal". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  27. ^ Strachan, Gordan (11 May 2003). "Price of victory may be lack of spectacle". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  28. ^ Barlow, Matt (17 May 2003). "Beattie may not be a Henry, but he could shatter Arsenal illusions". Daily Mail. London. p. 94.
  29. ^ "Opera singer to kick off the FA Cup Final". South Wales Echo. Cardiff. 15 May 2003. p. 26.
  30. ^ Melling, Joe (27 April 2003). "Regal Sir Bobby will dish out the honours". Mail on Sunday. London. p. 115.
  31. ^ Wiechula, Frank (18 May 2003). "FA Cup final: Day roof fell in on the Saints". The People. London. p. 6.
  32. ^ Brodkin, Jon (16 May 2003). "Able Seaman is captain for final". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  33. ^ Stammers, Steve (13 May 2003). "Wenger left with defence worries". Evening Standard. London. p. 63.
  34. ^ Curry, Steve; Gibb, Ian (16 May 2003). "Final hurrah; Seaman captain for Cardiff as Toure stands in". Daily Mail. London. p. 96.
  35. ^ West, Lee (16 May 2003). "FA Cup countdown: Arsenal v Southampton". Daily Mirror. London. p. 68.
  36. ^ Winter, Henry (19 May 2003). "Arsenal counter friendly fire". The Daily Telegraph. London. p. B2.
  37. ^ a b c d e "Arsenal leads Southampton 1–0 at half time of FA Cup final". AP Worldstream. Cardiff: Associated Press. 17 May 2003. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2013. (subscription required)
  38. ^ Wilson, Paul (18 May 2003). "Pires aim is true for muted Gunners". The Observer. London. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  39. ^ a b "Arsenal 1, Southampton 0". Evening Gazette. Middlesbrough. 17 May 2003. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  40. ^ a b c d e f MacLeary, John (17 May 2003). "Arsenal v Southampton: minute-by-minute". theguardian.com. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  41. ^ May, John (18 May 2003). "Henry's debt to Bergkamp". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 April 2009.
  42. ^ Lipton, Martin (19 May 2003). "1–0 to the Arsenal ... At last ; Arsenal 1 Soton 0". Daily Mirror. London. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  43. ^ a b "Keown hails 'best ever' win". BBC Sport. 17 May 2003. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  44. ^ "Arsenal were worthy winners". BBC Sport. 17 May 2003. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  45. ^ "Who qualifies to play in Europe?". Premier League. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  46. ^ "FA Cup final: Arsenal v Southampton". The Guardian. London. 17 May 2003. p. B3.
  47. ^ a b "Ratings – FA Cup's big gunners shoot to win on BBC1". Broadcast. London. 23 May 2003. Retrieved 4 January 2013.

External links

2002–03 Hong Kong FA Cup

2002–03 Hong Kong FA Cup was the 29th staging of the Hong Kong FA Cup.

The competition started on 6 April 2003 with 8 Hong Kong First Division clubs. The cup competition was a single-elimination tournament. All matches were held at the Mongkok Stadium

2003 FA Community Shield

The 2003 FA Community Shield (also known as The FA Community Shield in partnership with McDonald's for sponsorship reasons) was the 81st staging of the FA Community Shield, an annual football match contested by the reigning champions of the Premier League and the holders of the FA Cup. It was held at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 10 August 2003. The match pitted Manchester United, champions of the 2002–03 Premier League against Arsenal, who beat Southampton 1–0 in the 2003 FA Cup Final. Manchester United won the Shield 4–3 on penalties, as neither side could be separated after a 1–1 draw in 90 minutes.

This was Manchester United's 22nd Community Shield appearance and Arsenal's 17th. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson assessed before the match that his midfield was stronger than before, despite selling first-team players David Beckham and Juan Sebastián Verón. Arsène Wenger was optimistic of Arsenal's prospects in the upcoming season despite having only made minor changes to his squad, and Chelsea's emergence as a competitor following Roman Abramovich's takeover. Having been linked with a transfer away in the summer, Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira revealed before the game his intention to stay at the club.

Goalkeepers Tim Howard and Jens Lehmann made their competitive debuts for their respective clubs in the match. Ole Gunnar Solskjær started in midfield for Manchester United and Paul Scholes played behind the main striker, Ruud van Nistelrooy. For Arsenal, Kolo Touré partnered Sol Campbell in central defence as Martin Keown was absent. Mikaël Silvestre gave Manchester United the lead in the 15th minute from a corner, but Thierry Henry equalised for Arsenal five minutes later from a free-kick. In the second half, substitute Francis Jeffers was sent off for kicking out at Phil Neville. Neither team was able to score in the remaining time, so the match was decided by a penalty shoot-out. Howard saved the decisive spot-kick taken by Robert Pires.

Both managers were pleased with their teams' performances, in particular Ferguson, who felt his players coped well in the heat. The 2003 Community Shield brought its lowest crowd since 1995; Wenger reasoned there was "less and less appetite" for the event.

2017 EFL Cup Final

The 2017 EFL Cup Final was the final association football match of the 2016–17 EFL Cup that took place on 26 February 2017 between Manchester United and Southampton at Wembley Stadium in London, England. The final was the first League Cup final contested under the "EFL Cup" name following the renaming of The Football League to the English Football League (EFL). As winners, Manchester United initially qualified for the third qualifying round of the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League, but entered the group stage of the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League instead by virtue of their 2016–17 UEFA Europa League victory, passing the League Cup berth to the highest-placed Premier League team who had not already qualified for Europe, seventh-placed Everton.The match was Manchester United's ninth final in the League Cup, having won in their last three appearances and four overall, and Southampton's second, having lost their only other League Cup final in 1979. It was the second cup final played between the two sides, following the 1976 FA Cup Final, when Southampton – then of the Second Division – beat First Division Manchester United 1–0.

Anders Svensson (footballer, born 1976)

Anders Gunnar Svensson (Swedish pronunciation: [²anːdɛʂ ˈsvɛnːsɔn]; born 17 July 1976) is a Swedish former footballer. He was a playmaker and a central midfielder, known for his passing, free kicks, and set piece abilities. He was capped 148 times for the Swedish national football team, many times as a captain, before he retired from international football in 2013. He is the most capped male player for Sweden, beating Thomas Ravelli's previous record of 143 caps.

As well as being named captain of Sweden on several occasions, Svensson also captained Southampton and Elfsborg. He played important roles in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, in which he proved his leadership skills, resulting in him being named captain of Sweden in 2009.He is the sixth most capped player in Europe after Iker Casillas, Lothar Matthäus, Vitālijs Astafjevs, Martin Reim, and Gianluigi Buffon. Svensson also represented the Swedish national football team for three consecutive European Championships in 2004, 2008, and 2012.

Antti Niemi (footballer)

Antti Mikko Niemi (born 31 May 1972) is a retired Finnish footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He also worked as a goalkeeping coach at Brighton & Hove Albion during the 2014–15 season. Niemi spent much of his playing career in the Scottish Premier League (with Rangers, Heart of Midlothian) and the Premier League (with Southampton and Fulham), and in 2008 announced his retirement due to injury. However, in 2009 he returned to sign for Premier League club Portsmouth, although he did not make any appearances before leaving in 2010.

Chris Marsden

Christopher Marsden (born 3 January 1969) is an English former footballer who played in the Football League and Premier League for Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town, Coventry City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Notts County, Stockport County, Birmingham City, Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday, and in the Korean K-League for Busan I'Park. He led Southampton to the 2003 FA Cup Final, which they lost 1–0 to Arsenal.

Claus Lundekvam

Claus Lundekvam (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈklæʉs ²lʉnːəkvɑm]; born 22 February 1973) is a former Norwegian footballer, who spent most of his career at English side Southampton. He played for Southampton in the 2003 FA Cup Final against Arsenal. Lundekvam was capped 40 times playing for Norway.

Danny Higginbotham

Daniel John Higginbotham (born 29 December 1978) is a former professional footballer who played as a defender.

Born in Manchester, Higginbotham started his career at his local club Manchester United. He made seven appearances at Old Trafford, winning the Intercontinental Cup, as well as having a loan spell with Belgian side Royal Antwerp before joining Derby County in order to play more matches. He spent three years at Derby but handed in a transfer request when the club was relegated from the Premier League. Southampton signed Higginbotham for a £1.5 million fee in February 2003, and he helped them reach the 2003 FA Cup Final. When Southampton were relegated in 2005, Higginbotham rejected a new contract and was placed on the transfer list.

He joined fellow Championship side Stoke City for a £225,000 fee in August 2006. He was made captain when Michael Duberry left in January 2007 and Stoke went on to narrowly miss out on a play-off place. With Stoke not being promoted Higginbotham again decided to hand in a transfer request to help force through a move to Sunderland. He spent one season at the Stadium of Light before returning to Stoke in 2008. He became a vital member of Tony Pulis' squad as Stoke established themselves in the Premier League. He scored the winning goal in the FA Cup quarter-final against West Ham United but missed out on both the semi-final and the final due to a knee injury. After his recovery he struggled to force his way back into the side and spent time out on loan to Nottingham Forest and Ipswich Town before joining Sheffield United on a free transfer in January 2013. After eight months at Bramall Lane, he left to join Conference Premier side Chester before ending his career with a short spell at Altrincham.

Higginbotham made his international debut for the Gibraltar national team in a friendly against Slovakia in November 2013 at the age of 34, qualifying through his maternal grandmother. In January 2014, Higginbotham retired from club football after a 14-year career, but made two more international appearances for Gibraltar until his international retirement in March.

Gordon Strachan

Gordon David Strachan ( or ; born 9 February 1957) is a Scottish football manager and former player, who was the manager of the Scotland national team.

Strachan played for Dundee, Aberdeen, Manchester United, Leeds United and Coventry City, as well as the Scotland national team. He has managed Coventry City, Southampton, Celtic and Middlesbrough. In club football, he played 635 league games, scoring a total of 138 goals, playing 21 of 25 career seasons in either the English or Scottish top-flight. In international football Strachan earned 50 caps, scoring five goals and playing in two FIFA World Cup final tournaments, Spain 82 and Mexico 86. Strachan retired from playing in 1997 at age 40, setting a Premier League record for an outfield player.

A right-sided midfielder, Strachan made his senior debut in 1974 with Dundee before moving on within Scotland, to spend seven seasons at Aberdeen. He first played for the Scotland national team in 1980. While at Aberdeen Strachan won multiple domestic league and cup honours in the early 1980s, as well as the 1982–83 European Cup Winners' Cup and 1983 European Super Cup. Moving to England, Strachan won the 1985 FA Cup Final in five seasons with Manchester United, before spending the next seven seasons as club captain at Leeds, winning the 1989–90 Second Division and 1991–92 First Division league titles. He played his last game for Scotland in 1992 while still at Leeds, and then moved to Coventry in 1995 for a final three seasons, as a player-coach.

Strachan became full-time manager of Coventry when the incumbent Ron Atkinson was appointed as director of football. After five years in the role, he was sacked in 2001 when Coventry were relegated from the top-flight for the first time in 34 years. However, he immediately returned to the Premier League with Southampton and guided the "Saints" to the 2003 FA Cup Final, where they lost 1–0 to Arsenal. Strachan resigned from Southampton in 2004 and took a 16-month break from management before returning to Scotland to become manager of Celtic in the Scottish Premier League. With Celtic, he achieved three successive league titles and other domestic cup wins, before resigning in May 2009 after failing to win a fourth title. Five months later, he became manager of Middlesbrough in the English Championship, but left the club after an unsuccessful 12 months in the job.

Strachan was named as FWA Footballer of the Year for the 1990–91 season while at Leeds. He was also named Manager of the Year in Scotland several times by writers and players while at Celtic. In 2007, Strachan was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame. He is the father of Craig Strachan and Gavin Strachan, also footballers.

Graham Barber

Graham P. Barber (born 5 June 1958) is an English former football referee. He was based in Tring in Hertfordshire during his career, but now lives in Spain.

Keith Stroud

Keith Paul Stroud (born 12 August 1969) is a professional English football referee who officiates in the Football League and Premier League.

List of Southampton F.C. seasons

Southampton Football Club, an English association football club based in Southampton, Hampshire, was founded in 1885 as St. Mary's Y.M.A. For almost six years the club took no part in any official competitions at national level, playing only friendlies and local tournaments, including the Hampshire Senior Cup. St Mary's first entered the FA Cup in the 1891–92 season, and in 1894 under the name Southampton St Mary's joined the newly founded Southern Football League.

The club changed its name to simply Southampton at the start of the 1896–97 season, and quickly established themselves as the primary force in football in the South of England, winning the Southern League three times in a row. The club also reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1898, losing the replay 2–0 to Nottingham Forest after a 1–1 draw. The Saints continued to dominate the league into the 20th century, claiming the championship again in 1901, 1903 and 1904, before joining the Football League Third Division as a founding member in 1920, following the absorption of the Southern League. Southampton were almost instantly promoted to the Second Division, completing the feat as champions in the 1921–22 season.

Southampton found life in the second flight of English football difficult, as they remained a mid-bottom table side throughout the seasons played before and immediately after the Second World War, before they were ultimately relegated back to the Third Division in 1953. Promoted as champions again in 1960, Southampton performed well in the following ten years, reaching the quarter-final stage in the newly created League Cup in 1961 and earning promotion to Division One in 1966 as division runners-up. The club received its first taste of continental football in the 1969–70 season when they competed in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, although were knocked out in the first round. Despite suffering relegation back to Division Two in 1974, Southampton achieved a surprise victory in the 1976 FA Cup Final against Manchester United to win the trophy for the first and only time in the club's history. This success was topped off two seasons later when the club regained its First Division place.

The 1983–84 season was Southampton's most successful in terms of league position, when the club finished second in the top flight to Liverpool, missing out on the championship by just three points. In the 1990s, the club largely struggled to get out of the bottom third of the table, although they reached the advanced stages of the FA Cup and League Cup on a number of occasions and also played in the Full Members Cup final in 1992. The club became founder members of the Premier League in 1992 but continued their disappointing performances, despite reaching the 2003 FA Cup Final against Arsenal and losing to a single goal. Southampton were relegated to the Championship in the 2004–05 season, and were quickly relegated again following off-the-pitch problems in 2009. In their first season in League One, Southampton won the League Trophy with an emphatic 4–1 win against Carlisle United. The following season, Southampton were promoted to the Championship as runners-up in League One.

As of the end of the 2016–17 season, the club have spent 40 seasons in the top division of English football, 39 in the second, and 11 in the third.

The table details their achievements in all national and international first team competitions, and records their manager, the top goalscorer, the player with the most league appearances and the average home league attendance, for each completed season since their first appearance in the FA Cup in 1891–92.

Matt Oakley

Matthew Oakley (born 17 August 1977) is an English retired professional footballer who played as a midfielder, most recently for Exeter City. Oakley is currently the assistant manager of League Two club Milton Keynes Dons alongside manager Paul Tisdale.

His previous club was then Championship side Leicester City where he was the team captain from 2008 to 2011. He had previously played for Southampton and Derby County.

Oakley played for Southampton for over a decade, including their defeat to Arsenal in the 2003 FA Cup Final. However, a proneness to injury cost him nearly two years of football, and he left the club after being offered only a one-year contract. At Derby County, he captained the club to promotion via the Championship play-offs in 2007. After one-and-a-half years at Pride Park, Oakley signed for Leicester City, but could not prevent their relegation to League One. He enjoyed an injury-free season when he captained the team to promotion as league winners at the first attempt.

Michael Svensson

Michael Lennart Svensson (born 25 November 1975 in Värnamo, Sweden) is a Swedish former professional footballer who played as a centre back. He last played for Halmstads BK in Superettan. He is best known at club level for his playing career with Southampton. He played in the 2003 FA Cup Final against Arsenal, where Southampton lost 1–0 to a Robert Pires strike.

Svensson played 25 times for the Sweden national football team and was a member of the squad for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Paul Jones (footballer, born 1967)

Paul Steven Jones (born 18 April 1967) is a retired Welsh international football goalkeeper. During his playing career, he played for several clubs, including Wolverhampton Wanderers, Stockport County and Southampton.

Paul Telfer (footballer)

Paul Norman Telfer (born 21 October 1971) is a Scottish former professional footballer.

Telfer made over 300 league appearances in the Premier League for Coventry City and Southampton between 1995 and 2005, whilst with Coventry he was capped once by Scotland and had also previously played over 150 times for Luton Town. In 2005, he signed for Scottish Premier League side Celtic where he made 57 appearances in two seasons in his native country. He has since gone on to feature for Bournemouth and Leeds United before finishing his career with non-league side Slough Town in 2009.

In 2011, he joined the coaching staff at Sutton United and also agreed to make a return to the playing side of the game.

Tony Henry (singer)

Antony Garfield "Tony" Henry is an English opera singer from St Albans, Hertfordshire, England.

Tring

Tring is a small market town and civil parish in the Borough of Dacorum, Hertfordshire, England. It is situated in a gap passing through the Chiltern Hills, classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 30 miles (48 km) north-west of London, and linked to London by the old Roman road of Akeman Street, by the modern A41, by the Grand Union Canal and by the West Coast Main Line to London Euston. As of 2013 Tring has a population of 11,730.Settlements in Tring date back to prehistoric times and it was mentioned in the Domesday Book. Tring received its market town charter in 1315. Tring is now largely a commuter town within the London commuter belt, residents drive or cycle to the nearby Tring railway station.

Seasons
Qualifying rounds
Finals
FA competitions
Premier League and
Football League
Football Conference
Lower leagues
European competitions
Related to national team
Arsenal F.C. matches
FA Cup Finals
Football League War Cup Finals
League Cup Finals
FA Community Shields
UEFA Champions League Final
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Finals
UEFA Europa League Finals
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Final
European Super Cup
Other matches
FA Cup Finals
League Cup Finals
FA Charity Shield
Full Members' Cup Final
Football League Trophy Final

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