Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0
Arsene Wenger saw his Franco-Dutch alliance write him into the history books
as Arsenal celebrated a glorious Double delight.
All season, the continental blend in front of Arsenal's hearts of English oak
have been a potent brew.
And at a sun-drenched Wembley today the top Gunners shrugged aside the absence
of Dennis Bergkamp to clinch only the sixth Double of the century.
Right from the start it had appeared that Arsenal's pace and vibrancy would be
the key to victory, the energy that had taken them to the brink of glory.
And so it proved as jet-heeled Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka streaked clear
either side of the interval to break Geordie hearts.
Overmars steadied any nerves when he ghosted past marker Alessandro Pistone to
poke his 16th goal of the season past Shay Given mid-way through a first half
the Gunners made their own.
Even the best efforts of Alan Shearer could not drag the Magpies back into it,
as he found himself snuffed out by Tony Adams.
Shearer, booked for an ugly lunge at Adams, had just one chance, two minutes
after Nikos Dabizas had clipped the bar, when his left-foot shot crashed back
off the woodwork.
But almost straightaway Anelka, the boy wonder plucked from Paris St Germain
by Wenger and persisted with after real early-season struggles, broke clear to
seal the glory.
Wenger stayed below on the pitch as Adams climbed the 39 steps to do what
Frank McLintock did 27 years ago, raise the Cup in triumph at the completion of
the ultimate domestic act.
Nobody deserved it more than the man who has overcome his personal demons to
join McLintock, Spurs' Danny Blanchflower, Liverpool's Alan Hansen, plus Steve
Bruce and Eric Cantona of Manchester United.
As Arsenal celebrated, Newcastle walked away, knowing they had not really been
good enough, just like 1974 all over again.
And perhaps it was inevitable that in the absence of Bergkamp - Chris Wreh got
the nod ahead of Ian Wright - it would be Overmars who would make the key impact
as the Gunners lifted the Cup for the seventh time.
Newcastle's fear of the flying Dutchman was shown in Dalglish's decision to play
the left-sided Pistone, the quickest man at the club, on the right where he was
supposed to be protected by Warren Barton.
When Overmars blistered past the pair of them inside the first two minutes
those worries seemed justified, although the initial signs were more positive
for the Toon Army.
Dalglish went for Georgian Temuri Ketsbaia rather than Andreas Andersson, and
a back four, urging his midfield to press and cramp the champions for room.
That they did, the opening very scrappy, neither side able to get any real
service to the front pair. But Arsenal's aerial threat saw Adams testing Given
with a downward header in the ninth minute, although the whistle had already
Shearer was seeing precious little of the ball and finding himself increasing
isolated as his team-mates, despite Dalglish's exhortations, retreated.
Inviting Arsenal on to you is a dangerous game, and where David Batty and Rob
Lee had started snapping away, now Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira were
establishing the French connection, man of the match Ray Parlour carrying the
Anelka flicked a header wide before he should have put the Gunners ahead as
they reproduced their title-winning football for the first time.
Swift, incisive passing saw Vieira link with Ray Parlour, who then took a
return from Lee Dixon and sped past Steve Howey.
Parlour's cross was excellent, Anelka's positioning, with only Given to beat,
perfect, only for him to nod over, his team-mates joining him in holding their
heads in disbelief.
Yet within three minutes, as Overmars took full toll of Pistone's hesitation,
all was forgotten, choruses of "1-0 to the Arsenal" flooding around Wembley.
Petit clipped over the top and with Pistone on the back foot, nobody was going
to stop Overmars, nodding on before burying the ball in the back of the net.
A rare error by Adams allowed Shearer to cross from the right, Ketsbaia
testing David Seaman for the first time, but already there was a sense of
desperation about the Magpies.
Anelka, his electric pace unhinging the Newcastle backline, was thriving in
the occasion now as Petit and Vieira looked to find him, his growing confidence
showing how tepid were Dalglish's men.
Any belief they may have had seemed to have seeped away, Pistone terrified of
getting forward, Shearer waiting in vain for a decent delivery, getting more
upset when his free-kick after Martin Keown had fouled Gary Speed sailed over.
At the other end, Wreh had been quiet, although Parlour's persistence, taking
him through Stuart Pearce, gave an opportunity the Liberian lofted over.
And Parlour really should have grabbed the second in the last minute of the
half, after Pistone was caught out of position and Overmars roasted Nikos
Overmars bided his time before laying off but Parlour's rising drive kept on
rising to land on the greyhound track. He knew he should have done better.
Shearer's frustrations, growing from the start, boiled over with a reckless
tackle on Adams in injury time - no arguments with this yellow card.
The England skipper's petulance was catching however, referee Paul Durkin
waving cards in front of Barton, Nigel Winterburn - the contact on Shearer was
minimal at most - and Dabizas within seven minutes of the restart.
Tensions were rising in the fierce heat but with Arsenal under pressure it was
Newcastle in the ascendant, with the woodwork cruelly denying them twice.
First in the 63rd minute, Adams was adjudged to have brought down Dabizas on
the Arsenal right.
Shearer trotted over to clip into the danger zone and it was the Greek
defender who rose to meet the ball, his header bouncing off the top of the bar.
That was close, but they went even closer two minutes later when Keown, under
no real pressure, trod on the ball.
It was the opening Shearer had waited all afternoon for, and the striker was
away, pushing beyond the recovering Keown and rasping a left-foot shot past
Seaman, only for it to rebound back off the inside of the post seemingly even
And that was as near as they were to get, as Anelka - now on his own up front
with David Platt having replaced Wreh - sealed the Gunners' place in the history
books in the 69th minute.
Newcastle looked in vain for a flag when Parlour lobbed forward, but this time
it did not come.
Steve Howey could get nowhere near the Frenchman as he bore down on goal, and
the crisp finish, low and across Given, was unanswerable.
Wenger on the bench, his icy calm broken for a second, knew the significance
of the goal - and there might have been more, with Howey lucky to only see
yellow when he halted Parlour's rampaging advance.
Dalglish looked for salvation, sending on Andersson for a weary Pearce, Steve
Watson on for Barton.
It almost sparked something, Ketsbaia's shot falling for Shearer, Winterburn
jumping in as the trigger was cocked.
Parlour jinked through to hit the outside of the post near the end and
although Speed drilled wide it did not matter, there was to be no way back.
Let the celebrations start, let Arsene Wenger take the bow he deserves. These
Gunners are living legends.Teams
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Vieira, Adams, Anelka,
Overmars, Wreh (Platt 62), Keown, Parlour, Petit.
Subs Not Used: Bould, Wright, Manninger, Grimandi.
Goals: Overmars 23, Anelka 69.
Newcastle: Given, Barton (Watson 76), Batty, Howey, Lee, Shearer,
Speed, Pearce (Andersson 73), Ketsbaia (Barnes 86), Pistone,
Subs Not Used: Hislop, Albert.
Booked: Shearer, Barton, Dabizas, Howey.
Ref: P A Durkin (Portland).