Football: Arsenal snub the snubbers

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Sheffield Wednesday. . .0

Arsenal. . . . . . . . .1

'REVENGE will be sweet' the PA had boomed out and indeed it was. Only it was Arsenal settling a few scores conceded by the implied insult that Andy Sinton had preferred Sheffield to north London instead of Wednesday compensating for two of last season's finals. The Gunners won twice at Wembley and they scarcely looked like losing yesterday.

A goal separated the teams, just as they had in the finals last spring, except this time there was no Wednesday injustice. Ian Wright got the winner in the ninth minute but Kevin Campbell could have added two more; both chances were denied by excellent saves by Chris Woods.

Quite what has gone wrong with Wednesday's attack is mysterious. Manager Trevor Francis pointed to the absence of Roland Nilsson (on international duty) and Chris Waddle (injured) unbalancing the side but it was a unconvincing argument. They spent most of last year shoreing up a team debilitated with injuries and yet scored regularly. Now, with most players fit and with pounds 6m of reinforcements, they are the only team in the Premiership not to get a goal.

Paul Warhurst had a diving header from Carlton Palmer's cross in the 20th minute and David Hirst turned and shot with a move that suggested future danger, but those apart there was not a home effort on target.

So Arsenal could afford to be profligate with their chances, resting on the Wright goal. Campbell received the ball on the right and three defenders converged on him, neglecting Wright on the other side of the area. Campbell, whom Graham described as outstanding, toyed with the pack and then slipped a pass across that allowed Wright an open goal.

'It was a poor goal,' Francis said. 'We had three defenders against two attackers and were sloppy. It shouldn't have been allowed to get to Wright.'

As for Sinton, he was efficient but not the merchandise worth pounds 2.75m. 'It was always going to be a difficult debut for him,' Francis said. 'He hasn't worked with the players and he was tightly marked. He's going to be a Wednesday player for four years, that's the important thing.' Yesterday's performance suggested four years could be a long time.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): C Woods; N Worthington, D Walker, A Pearce, P King; J Sheridan (C Bart-Williams, 67 min), C Palmer, G Hyde (M Bright, 67 min), A Sinton; D Hirst, P Warhurst. Subs not used: K Pressman (gk). Manager: T Francis.

Arsenal (4-4-2): D Seaman; M Keown, A Linighan, T Adams, N Winterburn; E McGoldrick, R Parlour (P Merson, 77 min), J Jensen, P Davis; K Campbell, I Wright. Subs not used: I Selley, A Miller (gk). Manager: G Graham.

Referee: R Hart (Darlington).

Goal: I Wright (0-1, 8 min).