On this day May 12, 2001 Liverpool blew past rivals Arsenal in the FA Cup final courtesy of brilliance by Michael Owen. It ended with the Kop lifting their sixth FA Cup title over a strong Gunners’ team.
Arsene Wenger’s boys started well with winger Freddie Ljungberg’s goal seeming enough to seal it but Owen grabbed a brace late in the game. He scored the first goal seven minutes from regular time and then the second by lifting the ball over Patrik Berger before going on to beat legendary goalkeeper David Seaman with his left footed effort. His goals sent the fans at Millenium Stadium, Cardiff into a frenzy.
In the build-up to the game, many had expected Arsenal to claim the title. As Premier League sides, they entered the tournament in the Third Round where they defeated Carlisle United by a lone goal. They saw off Queen Park Rangers in the next round, scoring six unreplied goals in the process. They hosted Chelsea next at home, beating the defending champs 3-1 to set up sixth round/quarter final clash with Blackburn Rovers.
Arsenal vs Blackburn ended 3-0, with Sylvain Wiltord continuing his fine run of form, scoring in each round. It was a North-London derby when they met with Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-final. Spurs took the lead before Frenchman Patrick Viera helped his side draw level. Arsenal kept pressing for the second goal but Spurs kept holding them off but in the 73rd minute, Robert Pires was able to break the deadlock.
On the other hand, Liverpool faced Rotherham and Leeds in the third and fourth round, beating them 3-0 and 2-0 respectively, with Emile Heskey playing a key role. They faced Manchester City, Tranmere Rovers and Wycombe Wanderers with contributions from Robbie Fowler, Heskey and Owen.
The matchday squad for both sides in the final had Seaman in goal, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown, Tony Adams and Ashely Cole behind the midfielders Viera and Gilles Grimandi. Ljungberg and Pires played the sides while Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord in front.
Owen and Heskey led the attack of the Reds, with Steven Gerrard and Dietmar Hamann in the middle. Vladmir Smicer and Danny Murphy guarded the wings. Sander Westerveld was in goal, with Markus Babbel, Sami Hyypia, Stephane Henchoz and of course Jamie Carragher in defence.