Millennium magic

As they prepare to meet again, look back at the 2007 League Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea.

Last Updated: 29/10/13 at 08:20

This was a game at the Millennium Stadium of goals, red cards and pure footballing entertainment. A game that helped extinguish any prior thoughts that the League Cup was a meaningless competition.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger ruled out the possibility of playing experienced stars William Gallas, Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg and Jens Lehmann, opting to give his younger players the opportunity to continue their impressive form which included victories over Liverpool and arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur. In contrast, with Jose Mourinho's quadruple aspirations in sight, he was in no mood to rest any of his star players and duly delivered his promise with a full-strength XI.

Wenger responded to his critics in typically nonchalant style, saying: "If you want to play for Arsenal and say you cannot play in a final at 19 or 20, then you have a problem."

The game began with an enthralling midfield battle, as the experience of Messrs Lampard, Makelele, Ballack and Essien failed to combat the vibrant, youthful central-midfield partnership of Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas and Denilson.

Theo Walcott: The 17-year-old wheels away after putting Arsenal 1-0 up

Wenger's decision to play a team with an average age of under 21 looked inspired, as Abou Diaby slipped 17-year-old Theo Walcott through on goal in the 12th minute. He scored his first goal for the Gunners after finishing with a precision reminiscent of an absent Henry, who incidentally had never scored in a cup final.

If you want to play for Arsenal and say you cannot play in a final at 19 or 20, then you have a problem
Arsene Wenger

The lead did not last long, as Didier Drogba controversially equalised for Chelsea a mere nine minutes later. As Arsenal's defence attempted to play the offside trap, Ballack lifted the ball over the top to Drogba who had the time to compose himself, despite the Gunners' screams for offside, and slot the ball past an onrushing Manuel Almunia.

Arsenal responded superbly and were unlucky not to regain their lead, as Ricardo Carvalho's last-ditch tackle on Jeremie Aliadiere ensured the sides were level going into the break. The second half followed similar suit, as Fabregas fired agonisingly wide after Petr Cech saved Diaby's effort.

John Terry: Stretchered off after being knocked out on the hour mark

Frank Lampard lifts the League Cup trophy after a 2-1 victory over Arsenal

A game-changing and memorable event occurred just after the hour mark, as Chelsea captain John Terry was knocked out by Diaby's flailing boot. After attempting to head in an Arjen Robben corner, Terry's brave dive towards the ball was greeted by a huge kick to the face, which appeared to knock the England captain unconscious. Breathing apparatus was applied and he was swiftly taken off to hospital.

The shock of seeing their captain knocked out clearly riled the Chelsea. Arsenal dealt with wave after wave of attacks but failed to prevent Drogba heading in his second goal in the 84th minute after a pin-point cross from Robben.

Didier Drogba leaps above Phillipe Senderos to win the cup for Chelsea

There was further controversy in the game after John Obi Mikel and Kolo Toure came to blows after a couple of strong challenges, causing a fracas involving a majority of the players, and leading Mourinho and Wenger to enter the field in an attempt to calm their troops down. Mikel, Toure and Arsenal substitute Emmanuel Adebayor were all sent off, ending a thoroughly entertaining game on a sour note.

Arsenal v Chelsea is on Sky Sports 1HD on Tuesday from 7.30pm

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

D

on't go to England at your age, you'll either be mugged or not appreciated. Or made to lump the ball long to a bloke who looks like a mascot.

megabrow (cufc)
Beckenbauer warns Schweinsteiger

F

rom the headline I presumed he meant boots, pants, jim-jams, toothbrush and paste, passport, tickets, premier inn long-term package, Scouse-English-Portuguese-German dictionary, 'How to be a 9 and 3/4' by B. Rodgers, few dozen tins of food and Evian because you can never be sure about the local food/water...

KevinBoatang
Firmino has 'everything' for PL - Willian

H

e looked like he was playing with a plastic pound shop ball in the wind against Juve, his passing was so bad.

paddy7s
Sergio Ramos: Exactly What United Need

Footer 365

Sergio Ramos has refused to discuss interest from Manchester United

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has raised further question marks over his future after a coy response concerning interest from Manchester United.

Van Persie 'agrees Fenerbahce terms'

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is close to joining Fenerbahce after reportedly agreeing terms with the Turkish club.

Roma keen to sign Man City striker Edin Dzeko but admit a transfer is not close

Roma have confirmed their interest in signing Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko this summer - but admit a deal is some distance from being agreed.

Mail Box

Has Everyone Forgotten About Khedira?

Sami Khedira is one of the signings of the summer and yet he's flown completely under the radar. Plus Dommy S's views of women's football get a right old shoeing...

Women's Success Won't Alter Viewing Habits

The Women's World Cup hasn't inspired everyone. Also in the Mailbox: a plastic's guide to Brazil, Nani regrets, tears over Henry, and The Beach Boys...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company