Arsenal 2003 FA Cup Final News.

Arsenal 1 - 0 Southampton

17th May 2003

FA Cup Final 2003, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Kick off 3:00 PM.

Robert Pires Scores for Arsenal (c) BBC Sport 2003

Arsenal are the FA Cup winners 2003! Congratulations to the Gunners who won their second Cup in 2 years with a dominant performance over Southampton. The gulf in class between the 2 teams was not evident in the score line as Arsenal won by the single goal, a scrambled shot by Robert Pires. As is often the case though, the Reds moved up a gear when Southampton tried to equalise. The last 7 minutes of the game saw Arsenal retain almost constant possession accompanied by a string of cheers from their supporters. Southampton had a mere 2 chances to score. the last of which came in the dying seconds as Ashley Cole yet again saved the day with a goal line clearance.

More pictures and video will appear later.

...first hand match report from Alan Spring:

It was a tense atmosphere at the Gooner end in the Millennium Stadium. The roof is on and the sun is shining outside.

28 seconds gone long ball from Freddy sends Henry on his way. Being pulled back he still manages to get his shot in and is denied the fastest goal in the FA cup history. If it would have been van Horse Alroy it would have been a penalty and a sending off. Credit to Henry for not going down. Another chance and DB10 has one kicked off the line.

For 10 minutes its all AFC.

AFC defence starts to get exposed with the unfit Keown and Lauren. Seaman making a good couple of saves and Luzhny rising to the occasion. The tension can still be felt at the Gooner end.

GOAL!! Pires and we take the roof off the stadium. It was a simple build up involving Henry, DB10 and Freddy.

Should have been two with Henry teasing the defence and Pires unlucky not to score.

It's backs to the wall time for Southampton, but they survive the onslaught from Arsenal. Unfortunately the half time whistle goes.

Half time and its time to reflect. Attention in the stand is electric with Gooners thinking of the cup final two years ago.

Luzhny and Gilberto stand out in the first half with great performances. DB10 in his possible swan song for the Gooners shining with some great touches.

Second Half

Luzhny still holding the defence up. Up the other end DB10 still showing us what he is capable of with Freddy missing a good chance to score his third in three cup finals.

Henry is denied by the keeper after a great counter attack by AFC.

IT's ONLY PARLOUR!! . . . No, not this year and the Southampton defence is holding up well.

Southampton keeper goes down and the AFC end is screaming at the Ref to stop play. The Ref finally realising after a Southampton attack had finished to stop play. A great shame to see someone being carried off at an FA Cup Final. He gets a standing ovation.

Tessem gets a chance but once again the defence is strong. Ormerod warms Seaman's hands and AFC is on the back foot. The AFC Captain is rising to the test.

Henry denied again after great save from replacement keeper. AFC rise above and for 10 minutes Southampton can't get the ball. The Gooners are tense and feel they are going to get caught out. Southampton finally get the ball and from a corner Beattie gets a header in only to be stopped on the line by Cole. It's hearts in mouths time.

IT'S ALL OVER! AFC retain the FA Cup, the last time this was done was in 1982 by an unknown team. . .

Southampton fans should not be too disappointed - their team didn't let them down.

A tense final in which unlikely players rose to the occasion. Luzhny rose above all others to produce his best performance in an AFC shirt and for many Gooners the man of the match.

Ifs buts and maybes AFC's name is on the trophy after sweeping aside Chelsea and Man U there was only going to be one winner.

73,726 in attendance and 73,726 of them see Seaman and Vieira lift the trophy the ninth time in AFC's history. Credit to the Southampton fans who stayed to see it.

Small consolation for giving the premiership to Man U but there is nothing quite like winning the FA Cup.

Alan

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