Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is a professional association football club based in Aston, Birmingham, that plays in the Championship, the second level of English football. Founded in 1874, they have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, Aston Villa were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888. They were also one of the members of the Premier League in 1992. Aston Villa are one of only five English clubs to be crowned champions of Europe and they have also won the First Division Championship seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the Football League Cup five times, and the UEFA Super Cup once. They have a local rivalry with Birmingham City and the Second City derby between the sides has been played since 1879. The clubs traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves, white shorts and their traditional badge is of a rampant lion, which was introduced by the clubs Scottish chairman William McGregor in honour of the Royal Standard of Scotland. The club is owned by Recon Group Limited, a company chaired by Chinese businessman Tony Xia. Aston Villa Football Club were formed in March 1874, by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Handsworth which is now part of Birmingham, the four founders of Aston Villa were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. Aston Villas first match was against the local Aston Brook St Marys Rugby team, as a condition of the match, the Villa side had to agree to play the first half under Rugby rules and the second half under Association rules. The club won their first FA Cup in 1887 with captain Archie Hunter becoming one of the games first household names. Aston Villa were one of the teams that competed in the inaugural Football League in 1888 with one of the clubs directors. Aston Villa emerged as the most successful English club of the Victorian era, winning no fewer than five League titles, in 1897, the year Villa won The Double, they moved into their present home, the Aston Lower Grounds. Supporters coined the name Villa Park, no official declaration listed the ground as Villa Park. This was largely the result of a defensive record, they conceded 110 goals in 42 games,7 of them coming from Arsenals Ted Drake in an infamous 1–7 defeat at Villa Park. Like all English clubs, Villa lost seven seasons to the Second World War, the team was rebuilt under the guidance of former player Alex Massie for the remainder of the 1940s. The team struggled in the league though and were relegated two seasons later, due in part to complacency. However, under the stewardship of manager Joe Mercer Villa returned to the top-flight in 1960 as Second Division Champions, the following season Aston Villa became the first team to win the Football League Cup. Mercers forced retirement from the club in 1964 signalled a period of deep turmoil, the most successful club in England was struggling to keep pace with changes in the modern game, with Villa being relegated for the third time, under manager Dick Taylor in 1967
Arsenal Football Club is a professional football club based in Highbury, London, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The club has won 13 League titles,12 FA Cups, Arsenal was the first club from the South of England to join The Football League, in 1893. They entered the First Division in 1904, and have accumulated the second most points. Relegated only once, in 1913, they continue the longest streak in the top division, in the 1930s, Arsenal won five League Championships and two FA Cups, and another FA Cup and two Championships after the war. In 1970–71, they won their first League and FA Cup Double, between 1989 and 2005, they won five League titles and five FA Cups, including two more Doubles. They completed the 20th century with the highest average league position, Herbert Chapman won Arsenals first national trophies, but died prematurely. He helped introduce the WM formation, floodlights, and shirt numbers, Arsène Wenger has been the longest-serving manager and has won the most trophies. His teams set several English records, the longest win streak, the longest unbeaten run, in 1886, Woolwich munitions workers founded the club as Dial Square. In 1913, the crossed the city to Arsenal Stadium in Highbury. They became Tottenham Hotspurs nearest club, commencing the North London derby, in 2006, they moved down the road to the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal earned €435. 5m in 2014–15, with the Emirates Stadium generating the highest revenue in world football, based on social media activity from 2014–15, Arsenals fanbase is the fifth largest in the world. In 2016, Forbes estimated the club was the second most valuable in England, on 1 December 1886, munitions workers in Woolwich, now South East London, formed Arsenal as Dial Square, with David Danskin as their first captain. Named after the heart of the Royal Arsenal complex, they took the name of the complex a month later. Royal Arsenal F. C. s first home was Plumstead Common, though spent most of their time in South East London playing on the other side of Plumstead. Royal Arsenal won Arsenals first trophies in 1890 and 1891, Royal Arsenal renamed themselves for a second time upon becoming a limited liability company in 1893. They registered their new name, Woolwich Arsenal, with The Football League when the club ascended later that year, Woolwich Arsenal was the first southern member of The Football League, starting out in the Second Division and winning promotion to the First Division in 1904. Falling attendances, due to financial difficulties among the munitions workers, businessmen Henry Norris and William Hall took the club over, and sought to move them elsewhere. In 1913, soon after relegation back to the Second Division, Woolwich Arsenal moved to the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury and this saw their third change of name, the following year, they reduced Woolwich Arsenal to simply The Arsenal
Villa Park is a football stadium in Aston, Birmingham, England, with a seating capacity of 42,682. It has been the home of Aston Villa Football Club since 1897, the ground is less than a mile from both Witton and Aston railway stations and has hosted sixteen England internationals at senior level, the first in 1899 and the most recent in 2005. It was the first English ground to stage international football in three different centuries, Villa Park has hosted more FA Cup semi-finals than any other stadium, having hosted 55 matches in total. In 1897, Aston Villa moved into the Aston Lower Grounds, a ground in a Victorian amusement park in the former grounds of Aston Hall. The stadium has gone through stages of renovation and development, resulting in the current stand configuration of the Holte End, Trinity Road Stand, North Stand. The club has planning permission to redevelop the North Stand. Before 1914, a track ran around the perimeter of the pitch where regular cycling meetings were hosted as well as athletic events. Aside from football-related uses, the stadium has seen various concerts staged along with sporting events including boxing matches and international rugby league. In 1999, the last ever final of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup took place at Villa Park, Villa Park also hosted the 2012 FA Community Shield, as Wembley Stadium was unavailable due to it staging the final of the Olympic football tournament. The Aston Lower Grounds, later renamed Villa Park, was not the first home of Aston Villa F. C and their previous venue, Wellington Road faced increasing problems including an uneven pitch, poor spectator facilities, a lack of access and exorbitant rents. As a result, in 1894, Villas committee began negotiations with the owners of the Aston Lower Grounds, situated in the former grounds of Aston Hall, a Jacobean stately home, the Lower Grounds had seen varied uses over the years. The current pitch stands on the site of the Dovehouse Pool, the committee immediately engaged an architect who began preparing plans for the site, which included construction of a new 440 yards cement cycle track to replace the existing cinder one. The main stand was to be built to the east on the Witton Lane side, with the track, construction of the final phase of the stadium began in the winter of 1896 following negotiations with contractors over the price. Several months behind schedule, the stadium finally opened on 17 April 1897. The process of fixing issues with the work would continue for a number of months thereafter. As built, the stadium could house 40,000 spectators, the first match at the ground, a friendly against Blackburn Rovers, took place on 17 April 1897, one week after Aston Villa had completed the League and FA Cup Double. After winning the championship in 1899, Villas record-breaking average crowd of 21,000 allowed the club to invest in a two-stage ground improvement programme. In 1911, Villa bought the freehold of the ground for £8,250, the buildings in the old aquarium and car park area for £1,500
Birmingham is a major city and metropolitan borough of West Midlands, England lying on the River Rea, a small river that runs through Birmingham. It is the largest and most populous British city outside London, the city is in the West Midlands Built-up Area, the third most populous urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2,440,986 at the 2011 census. Birminghams metropolitan area is the second most populous in the UK with a population of 3.8 million and this also makes Birmingham the 8th most populous metropolitan area in Europe. By 1791 it was being hailed as the first manufacturing town in the world, perhaps the most important invention in British history, the industrial steam engine, was invented in Birmingham. From the summer of 1940 to the spring of 1943, Birmingham was bombed heavily by the German Luftwaffe in what is known as the Birmingham Blitz. The damage done to the infrastructure, in addition to a deliberate policy of demolition and new building by planners, led to extensive demolition. Today Birminghams economy is dominated by the service sector and its metropolitan economy is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a GDP of $121. 1bn, and its six universities make it the largest centre of higher education in the country outside London. Birmingham is the fourth-most visited city in the UK by foreign visitors, Birminghams sporting heritage can be felt worldwide, with the concept of the Football League and lawn tennis both originating from the city. Its most successful football club Aston Villa has won seven league titles, people from Birmingham are called Brummies, a term derived from the citys nickname of Brum. This originates from the citys name, Brummagem, which may in turn have been derived from one of the citys earlier names. There is a distinctive Brummie accent and dialect, Birminghams early history is that of a remote and marginal area. The main centres of population, power and wealth in the pre-industrial English Midlands lay in the fertile and accessible river valleys of the Trent, the Severn and the Avon. The area of modern Birmingham lay in between, on the upland Birmingham Plateau and within the wooded and sparsely populated Forest of Arden. Birmingham as a settlement dates from the Anglo-Saxon era, within a century of the charter Birmingham had grown into a prosperous urban centre of merchants and craftsmen. By 1327 it was the third-largest town in Warwickshire, a position it would retain for the next 200 years, by 1700 Birminghams population had increased fifteenfold and the town was the fifth-largest in England and Wales. The importance of the manufacture of goods to Birminghams economy was recognised as early as 1538. Equally significant was the emerging role as a centre for the iron merchants who organised finance, supplied raw materials. The 18th century saw this tradition of free-thinking and collaboration blossom into the phenomenon now known as the Midlands Enlightenment
Preston North End F.C.
Preston North End Football Club is a professional association football club located in the Deepdale area of Preston, Lancashire. They play in the Championship, the tier of the English football league system. Prestons unbeaten League and Cup season earned them the nickname The Invincibles, Prestons most recent major trophy success was their FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town in 1938. Many notable players have played for the club, including Tom Finney, Bill Shankly, Tommy Docherty, Alan Kelly, Sr. and Graham Alexander. On 21 January 1875, the club leased a field opposite Moor Park on the site of the current Deepdale stadium, Preston North End were famously successful during the early years of professional football in England. In 1887, Preston beat Hyde 26–0 in the First Round of the FA Cup, Preston forward Jimmy Ross scored eight goals in the match, going on to score 19 goals in the competition that season, also still a record. The clubs last major win was their FA Cup triumph in 1938. Prestons most famous player, Sir Tom Finney, played for the club between 1946 and 1960, Finney is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, and was also a local lad, dubbed the Preston Plumber due to his professional training as a plumber. Finney remains the top goalscorer, with 187 goals from 433 appearances. Following Finneys retirement, Preston were relegated to the Second Division in 1961 and have not played in the top division since, the club did reach the FA Cup final in 1964, but lost to West Ham United. Preston were relegated to the Third Division in the 1969–70 season, Alan Ball, Sr. John McGrath oversaw Prestons promotion back to the Third Division a year later, where they remained when John Beck took over in October 1992. The 38-year-old Beck had only recently been sacked by Cambridge United, the club almost made it two promotions in a row to reach the Premier League, but lost to Bolton Wanderers in the 2001 play-off final. Simon Grayson was appointed by the club on 18 February 2013, of Simon Graysons next 10 games, Preston won 3, drew 4 and lost 3. In Simon Graysons first summer in charge, he permanently signed 4 players, Tom Clarke, a centreback, Chris Humphrey, a winger, Kevin Davies, a Centre forward and Alex Nicholson. He also signed Declan Rudd on a long loan from Norwich City. He allowed 3 players to leave during the summer, those being Luke Foster, Chris Robertson, the 2013–14 season started off well, unbeaten in their first 9 league games. They also beat local rivals Blackpool in the League Cup, before being beaten by Lancashire rivals Burnley in the second round. The 9 league game unbeaten run came to an end on 5 October, against Peterborough United, Preston then went on another 9 game unbeaten league run, winning 5 and drawing 4, including a win against Leyton Orient, only their second league defeat of the season
Stoke City F.C.
Stoke City Football Club is a professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863 the club changed its name to Stoke in 1878 and they are the second oldest professional football club in the world, after Notts County, and are one of the founding members of the Football League. Their first, and to date only major trophy, the League Cup was won in 1972, the clubs highest league finish in the top division is 4th, which was achieved in the 1935–36 and 1946–47 seasons. Stoke played in the FA Cup Final in 2011, finishing runners-up to Manchester City and have reached three FA Cup semi-finals, in 1899 then consecutively in 1971 and 1972. Stoke have competed in European football on three occasions, firstly in 1972–73 then in 1974–75 and most recently in 2011–12, the club has won the Football League Trophy twice, in 1992 and in 2000. Stokes home ground is the bet365 Stadium, a 28,116 all-seater stadium, before the stadium was opened in 1997, the club was based at the Victoria Ground, which had been their home ground since 1878. The clubs nickname is The Potters, named after the industry in Stoke-on-Trent and their traditional home kit is a red and white vertically striped shirt, white shorts. Stokes traditional rivals are Midlands clubs West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers whilst their local rivals are Port Vale with whom they contest the Potteries derby, the clubs first documented match was in October 1868, against an EW May XV at the Victoria Cricket Club ground. Henry Almond, the founder, was also captain. During this period they played at the Victoria Cricket Ground, however, in 1878, the club merged with Stoke Victoria Cricket Club, and became Stoke Football Club. They moved from their previous ground, Sweetings Field, to the Athletic Club ground and it was around this time that the club adopted their traditional red-and-white striped kit. In August 1885, the club turned professional, Stoke were one of the twelve founding members of the Football League when it was introduced in 1888. The club struggled in their first two seasons, 1888–89 and 1889–90, finishing bottom on both occasions, in 1890 Stoke failed to be re-elected and joined the Football Alliance, which they won and thus were re-elected to the Football League. Stoke spent the next 15 seasons in the First Division and reached the FA Cup Semi-Final in the 1898–99 season before being relegated in 1907, Stoke went bankrupt and entered non-league football until 1914, when the First World War meant the Football League was suspended for four years. During the wartime period, Stoke entered the Lancashire Primary and Secondary leagues, when football recommenced in August 1919, Stoke re-joined the league. The club became owners of the Victoria Ground in 1919 and this was followed by the construction of the Butler Street stand, which increased the overall capacity of the ground to 50,000. In 1925, Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status and this led the club to change its name to Stoke City F. C, the 1930s saw the debut of clubs most celebrated player, Stanley Matthews. Matthews, who grew up in Hanley, was an apprentice at the club and made his first appearance in March 1932, against Bury, by end of the decade, Matthews had established himself as an England international and as one of the best footballers of his generation
2005 FA Cup Final
The 2005 FA Cup Final was a football match played between Arsenal and Manchester United on 21 May 2005 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. It was the match of the 2004–05 FA Cup, the 124th season of English football’s primary cup competition. The shoot-out finished 5–4 to Arsenal, with Patrick Vieira scoring the penalty after Paul Scholes shot was saved by Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann. As both teams were in the highest tier of English football, the Premier League, Arsenal, 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. Both managers for the final made surprising changes to their team, Arsène Wenger unconventionally deployed a defensive formation, Manchester United dominated the match, creating four times as many shots as their opponents, but struggled to find the breakthrough. In extra time, Arsenals José Antonio Reyes was sent off for a second bookable offence, the British press unanimously agreed that Arsenal were fortunate to win, Wenger himself admitted so in his press conference afterwards. The FA Cup is English footballs primary cup competition, clubs in the Premier League enter the FA Cup in the third round and are drawn randomly with the remaining clubs. If a match is drawn, the tie is replayed at the ground of the team from the original match. As with league fixtures, FA Cup matches are subject to change in the event of games being selected for television coverage, in September 2004, it was announced that the Millennium Stadium was chosen as the venue for the semi-finals, in addition to the final. Arsenals cup run started with a tie against Stoke City. The visitors took the lead just before the break, but goals from José Antonio Reyes and they then faced Wolverhampton Wanderers at home in the next round, a goal apiece from Patrick Vieira and Fredrik Ljungberg secured a comfortable 2–0 victory. Arsenals opponent in the round was Sheffield United. After 35 minutes Dennis Bergkamp was sent off for his apparent push on Danny Cullip, with eleven minutes of normal time remaining, Robert Pirès scored for Arsenal, but the team conceded a late penalty which Andy Gray converted. The equaliser for Sheffield United meant the match was replayed at Bramall Lane on 1 March 2005, both teams played out a goalless draw after full-time and throughout extra-time, so the tie was decided by a penalty shootout. Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia saved two penalties, which ensured progress into the quarter-finals, bolton Wanderers hosted Arsenal at the Reebok Stadium in the sixth round of the competition. Ljungberg scored the goal of the tie after just three minutes, he had an opportunity to extend Arsenals lead in stoppage time, but hit the ball over from six yards. It was described by BBC Sport as the most glaring miss of the match, Arsenal faced Blackburn Rovers in the semi-final which was played on 16 April 2005. Two goals from Van Persie and one from Pirès gave Arsenal a 3–0 win, in a match marred by Blackburns aggressive tactics, Manchester United, the holders of the FA Cup, began their defence of the trophy with a home tie against non-league Exeter City
2014 FA Cup Final
The 2014 FA Cup Final was the 133rd final of the FA Cup, the worlds oldest football cup competition. The match was contested between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley Stadium on 17 May 2014, Hull City made their first appearance in an FA Cup Final, while Arsenal equalled Manchester Uniteds record of 18 final appearances. It was the first time since 2010 that the FA Cup Final had taken place after the end of the Premier League season, each club needed to win five matches to reach the final. Arsenal beat three of their rivals and needed penalties to defeat cup holders Wigan Athletic. By contrast, four of Hull Citys opponents were from the lower divisions, the match was won by Arsenal, a joint-record 11th Cup, after extra time. Aaron Ramsey scored the winner 11 minutes from the end of extra time, the FA Cup is English footballs primary cup competition. It was first held in 1871–72 with only 15 teams entering, 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 both Arsenal and Hull City were Premier League clubs, they entered the competition in the third round, Arsenals cup run started with a home tie against their north London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. Goals from Santi Cazorla and Tomáš Rosický either side of time meant Arsenal won 2–0. In the fourth round, the team was drawn against Coventry City of Football League One, Arsenal won 4–0, on a night where Henry Winter noted, All of the fans were united in laughter when some of the floodlights went out, following a power surge. For the fifth round, Arsenal was drawn against Liverpool at home, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring within the first 15 minutes, before Podolski doubled their lead. Steven Gerrard scored a penalty just before the mark, making the final score 2–1. In the sixth round, Arsenal was again at home and welcomed Everton and they won the match 4–1, with three of the goals coming in the final 10 minutes of the game. In their semi-final at Wembley Stadium, Arsenal was drawn with FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic, the match finished 1–1 after extra time, with a late Per Mertesacker equaliser making up for the penalty he conceded, which had been scored by Jordi Gómez to give Wigan the lead. In doing so, Arsenal matched their achievement in the 1949-50 FA Cup where they reached the final without leaving London, Hull City was drawn away to Middlesbrough and made nine changes to the team that played their previous match. A goal apiece from Aaron McLean and Nick Proschwitz ensured a 2–0 win, matty Fryatt scored both goals in Hulls fourth round victory against Southend United of Football League Two. In the next round, Hull was paired with Football League Championship team Brighton & Hove Albion, striker Leonardo Ulloa gave Brighton a first half lead, but Hulls Yannick Sagbo levelled the score with five minutes of the match remaining. As there were no goals, the tie was replayed at the KC Stadium
2007 Football League Cup Final
The 2007 Football League Cup Final was a football match between Chelsea and Arsenal on 25 February 2007 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. It was the match of the 2006–07 staging of the Football League Cup. Chelsea were making their fifth League Cup final appearance to Arsenals sixth, each club needed to get past four rounds to reach the final. Chelsea made comfortable progress, they scored 12 goals while conceding only one to Wycombe Wanderers in the semi-final, Chelsea entered the match as favourites and were undefeated against Arsenal in all competitions since 2004. Watched by a crowd of 70,073, Arsenal took the lead in the 12th minute when Theo Walcott scored, Chelsea equalised moments later through Didier Drogba, who also scored the match winner six minutes from the end of normal time. Stoppage time was extended because of the incident, at point a fracas occurred between the Arsenal and Chelsea players. Kolo Touré and Emmanuel Adebayor were dismissed for their actions, together with Chelseas John Obi Mikel, play came to an end in the 102nd minute. Chelsea manager José Mourinho was delighted with his teams win and credited his opponents performance and he felt the brawl in stoppage time was born out of Arsenals frustration after going behind in the match, he did not want either team to be punished. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger apologised for his players conduct and said he had no regrets over his team selection, both finalists were fined £100,000 each by The Football Association for their inability to control their players. Emmanuel Eboué was retrospectively banned for three matches as his punch on Wayne Bridge was missed by Howard Webb, Wenger was later found guilty of improper conduct and charged £2,500 for his comments about the linesman. The Football League Cup is a competition open to the 92 teams in the Premier League. Chelsea entered the competition in the round, as one of the eight teams from the Premier League involved in European competition during the season. They were drawn against Blackburn Rovers, the took place at Ewood Park. A goal apiece from Joe Cole and Salomon Kalou ensured a 2–0 victory, Chelseas opponent in the fourth round were Aston Villa. The match was played at Stamford Bridge on 8 November 2006, frank Lampard opened the scoring for Chelsea in the 32nd minute, further goals by Andriy Shevchenko, Michael Essien and Didier Drogba in the second half secured a 4–0 win. Newcastle United hosted Chelsea at St James Park in the round of the competition. In the 79th minute, Drogba – on as a substitute – scored the goal of the match. Wycombe Wanderers were Chelseas opponent in the semi-final which was played over two-legs, the first leg was staged at Wycombes home ground, Adams Park
Tranmere Rovers F.C.
Tranmere Rovers Football Club is a professional association football club founded in 1884, and based in Birkenhead, Wirral, England. Originally known as Belmont Football Club, they adopted their current name in 1885. They were a member of Division Three North in 1921, and were a member of The Football League until 2015, when they were relegated to the National League. During the 1980s, they were beset by problems and, in 1987. Under Kings successor, John Aldridge, Tranmere experienced a number of cup runs, other cup runs include reaching FA Cup quarter-finals in 2000,2001 and 2004. Tranmeres regular kit is a strip with blue trim, their main colours since 1962. The club moved to its current home, Prenton Park, in 1912, in 1995, the ground had a major redevelopment in response to the Taylor Report. It now seats 16,567 in four stands, the Main Stand, the Kop, the Johnny King Stand, Tranmere Rovers were, initially, formed as Belmont Football Club when the football arms of two cricket clubs – Lyndhurst Wanderers and Belmont – came together in 1884. On 15 November 1884, they won their first game 4–0 against Brunswick Rovers and this was a friendly match, as there were no leagues until 1888. Under the presidency of James McGaul, the team had an inaugural season. An unrelated, disbanded side had played under the name Tranmere Rovers Cricket Club in 1881–82, on 16 September 1885, before their second season began, Belmont F. C. adopted this name Tranmere Rovers. Tranmere played their first matches at Steeles Field in Birkenhead, in 1887, they bought Ravenshaws Field from Tranmere Rugby Club. In 1895, their ground was renamed Prenton Park, although it was 25 years later that the team moved into the current stadium of the same name, Tranmere first wore a kit of blue shirts, white shorts and blue socks. In 1889 they adopted orange and maroon shirts, but in 1904 returned to wearing their original kit, in 1886, Tranmere entered their first competition, the Liverpool and District Challenge Cup, in 1889, they entered the West Lancashire League. They joined the Combination, a stronger league, in 1897. Tranmere won the Lancashire Combination Championship in 1914 and Stan Rowlands became the first Tranmere player to receive a cap when he was selected to play for Wales. Rovers continued to play throughout the First World War, although their players were criticised for avoiding military service, following the expulsion of Leeds City Reserves in 1919, Tranmere were able to enter the Central League. Their timing was excellent as the season, four Central League clubs – including Tranmere – were invited to join the new Division Three North
2001 FA Cup Final
The 2001 FA Cup Final was a football match between Arsenal and Liverpool on 12 May 2001 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Arsenal appeared in their fourteenth final to Liverpools twelfth, given both teams were in the highest tier of English football, the Premier League, they entered the competition in the third round. Each needed to progress through five rounds to reach the final, Liverpool by contrast made hard work of overcoming lower-league opponents Tranmere Rovers and Wycombe Wanderers in the latter rounds of the competition. The final marked the first time that two managers born outside of the British Isles had met in an FA Cup final – French compatriots Arsène Wenger, the match followed a familiar pattern of Arsenal dictating the pace and creating chances, but failing to breach the Liverpool defence. Arsenal had a penalty turned down in the first half. Henchozs partner Sami Hyypiä made a series of goalline clearances during the second half, Liverpool responded by making changes and equalised in the 83rd minute, Arsenals failure to deal with a free-kick presented Michael Owen the chance to score. Owen then outpaced Lee Dixon and Tony Adams to score his second, Liverpools victory marked the second part of their unique treble of the 2000–01 season, they had won the Football League Cup in late February and added the UEFA Cup four days later. The FA Cup is English footballs 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, 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. This was the first season that The Football Association introduced guidelines to prevent the withdrawal of clubs from the competition, the final was scheduled a week before the final weekend of the Premier League, to aid any successful club playing European football. Arsenal entered the competition in the round and their cup run started with an away tie against Carlisle United. Although the home side created numerous chances in the minutes and looked likeliest to score. Poor finishing from both teams thereafter meant Arsenal progressed by a slender scoreline, in the fourth round, Arsenal faced Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. The visitors first goal came around the mark, defender Ashley Cole cleared Peter Crouchs goal-bound header. Lee Dixons cross inadvertently met Chris Plummer who scored an own goal, Wiltord extended Arsenals lead a minute later, and QPR conceded another own goal early in the second half which sealed the tie in the visitors favour. Arsenal finished as comfortable 6–0 winners, representing the clubs best away win in the FA Cup for 64 years, in the fifth round Arsenal played the cup holders Chelsea at home. Wiltord replaced Robert Pirès in the half and scored twice to settle the match. In the sixth round Arsenal enjoyed a win against Blackburn Rovers of the First Division