Sunday, 27 February 2011
Final minute Arsenal defensive disaster gives Birmingham deserved victory.
Birmingham had the better of the chances throughout. Before Zigic's opening goal, Lee Bowyer was through on goal and was taken out by the young Polish keeper Szczesny which would have been a clear penalty and sending off had it not for the linesman ruling for a non-existent offside.
Zigic scored a smart header not long after before Robin Van Persie finished with a typical volley on the turn past a hapless Ben Foster.
Birmingham still had the best of the chances though and they hit the woodwork in the second half.
Arsenal grew into the game and as it wore on, Ben Foster showed why he was once talked about as the natural successor to David James as England number one.
From a neutral standpoint, it was a satisfying sight.
All the talk throughout the week had been about how Arsenal would end their six year trophy-less wait.
There was no talk of Birmingham having a chance and you couldn't help but detect a hint of arrogance from the London outfit.
It was with great surprise and joy then that I watched Stephen Carr lifted the cup high above the young Arsenal player's heads.
Perhaps they need to earn their stripes the same as the likes of Carr and Lee Bowyer have (who despite having a career spanning around twenty years, was participating in his first ever final).
This will be invaluable experience for the talented gunners who will now learn that success isn't based on ability alone but on grit and determination along with tactical prowess.
Well done Birmingham, all good stories end with the underdog pulling through.
But don't think this will be the last you see of this young Arsenal side in a final. I see many more on the horizon yet.