Owen wins Cup against Arsenal

12 May 2001

If the 1953 FA Cup final will forever be remembered as the 'Stanley Matthews final', then 2001 must surely go down as Michael Owen's day.

The diminutive striker left it late to net a sensational brace to secure our sixth FA Cup and keep us on course for an historic treble.

If truth be told, Arsenal were the better team throughout much of the first final in the competition's history to be held outside of England.

Liverpool offered little threat to David Seaman's goal in the sweltering heat of Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, where the final would be held until Wembley's refurbishment was complete.

It was the Gunners who looked the sharpest, with the front two of Thierry Henry and Silvan Wiltord particularly dangerous. 
  
The first warning sign came on 17 minutes when Henry raced through on goal, rounded Sander Westerveld and seemed certain to score. Luckily, Stephane Henchoz had tracked back to narrow the angle and the French World Cup winner shot into the side netting.
 
Henry again went close with an acrobatic overhead kick and Gils Grimandi shot straight at Westerveld as the first half petered out. 
  
Arsenal launched a sustained period of pressure after the break, with Henry and Robert Pires combining on the edge of the box to force Westerveld into a brilliant save. The danger wasn't over, though, and Sami Hyypia soon had to clear off the line to deny Ashley Cole. 
  
Liverpudlians breathed a huge sigh of relief but their nerves continued to be put through the shredder as Henry's pace terrorised the Reds back-line. 
  
Another major scare came on 67 minutes when Hyypia again cleared off the line to thwart Freddie Ljungberg.

Five minutes later Arsenal finally broke the deadlock when Pires played a killer pass before Ljungberg rounded Westerveld to finish. 
  
Sensing the Cup was slipping from his grasp, Gerard Houllier made a double substitution, with Patrik Berger and Robbie Fowler coming off the bench.

Within minutes it paid dividends. It was Gary McAllister who delivered a teasing free-kick into the danger zone before Markus Babbel nodded towards Owen, who made no mistake with a rasping right-foot volley past a helpless Seaman.

Six minutes later, with the game seemingly heading for extra time, Liverpool snatched it.

There was still much to do when substitute Berger sent a searching pass up field to Owen, but the boy wonder made easy work of a stretched Gunners backline before tucking a sweet left-foot shot in off the post. 

Wild celebrations ensued when, just minutes later, referee Steve Dunn blew his final whistle. Club captain Jamie Redknapp and vice skipper Fowler jointly received the trophy to the delight of the ecstatic Liverpool fans. 
  
Having already won the Worthington Cup at the same venue in February, Houllier's men now had four days to prepare for the UEFA Cup final and the possibility of completing a unique treble.