Football: Overmars seals action replay

AFTER ALL the furore over Marc Overmars' winning goal in the original fifth-round meeting 10 days earlier, which included pronouncements from the game's world governing body and all manner of legal, moral and philosophical arguments, Arsenal and Sheffield United contrived to produce the identical scoreline in last night's FA Cup re-match at Highbury.

Almost inevitably, Overmars played a pivotal role in Arsenal's victory, scoring their first goal and helping to make the second for Dennis Bergkamp before half-time. United again belied their modest standing in the First Division and deserved the riposte from Lee Morris which set up a lively final few minutes, but the holders moved without further alarms to a home quarter-final against Derby or Huddersfield.

For a contest billed as a grudge match, the evening finished with grudging mutual respect. Apart from a flurry of relatively innocuous fouls which saw United receive three yellow cards shortly before and after the interval, to be followed into the referee's notebook by Tony Adams, there was little of the unsporting behaviour with which Overmars had tarnished the first encounter.

On a night of lively chant and counter-chant from a near capacity, cut- price crowd, the Dutch winger bore the brunt of the United fans' ire. They booed his name beforehand and his first few touches, they were taunting the Arsenal supporters with "You only sing when you're cheating", when the players were suddenly milling round. For a moment, the scene was reminiscent of those which followed Overmars' ill-judged actions in the first match.

This time the stoppage was to allow treatment to Graham Stuart, who had to be substituted in only the fifth minute after a strong challenge by Ray Parlour. Undaunted, United carved out a fine opening six minutes later following a mazy right-wing run and measured pass by Shaun Derry. Marcelo slipped Adams in the six-yard box, but the Brazilian's composure was not of the kind one associates with his nationality and his shot sailed into the North Bank.

His profligacy was punished by Premiership class in the 15th minute. Bergkamp and Stephen Hughes combined to release Overmars to run at Alan Kelly, and there was no disputing the quality of the finishing as his low shot beat the goalkeeper for power and placement.

Bergkamp, the creative if goalless force behind last Saturday's 5-0 rout of Leicester, moved back to within one of his countryman's tally with his 10th goal of the season nine minutes before the break. Overmars initiated the move with a sweeping 50-yard pass from one flank to the other, where Parlour cut the ball back from the byline. Bergkamp dug his foot beneath the ball to chip it deftly over Kelly from level with the penalty spot.

United, who were especially well served by the enterprising Wayne Quinn, spurned a further opportunity early in the second half. Morris did well to get into a scoring position at the expense of Steve Bould, but hesitated with "only" David Seaman to beat and allowed Nigel Winterburn to clear.

The game had been largely malice-free to that point, yet it did not take a rocket scientist to work out that one of the Blades would exact some form of retribution on Overmars. Derry duly scythed into him and was booked, but Overmars left to a rapturous ovation from the home support when he was substituted with 15 minutes remaining.

"Brucie, Brucie, take 'em off", they crowed at Steve Bruce, the Blades' manager, to which the Bramall Lane 3,000 replied with righteous humour: "We're supposed to be at home".

Parlour, with a drive which stung Kelly's fingers, and Adams, failing by inches to convert a cross-cum-shot by the subdued Nicolas Anelka, might have added to the Double winners' lead, but United stuck gamely to their task.

A header over the bar from Marcelo had already threatened the United goal which finally arrived in the 86th minute when Morris scrambled the ball in from close range. "It shows that you can have fair play and win," Arsene Wenger said. This time Bruce was in no mood to argue.

Arsenal (4-4-2): Seaman; Vivas, Adams, Bould, Winterburn; Parlour, Vieira, Hughes, Overmars (Garde, 75); Anelka (Kanu, 70), Bergkamp (Diawara, 80). Substitutes not used: Grimandi, Garde, Manninger (gk).

Sheffield United (4-4-2): Kelly; Derry, Holdsworth, Sandford, Quinn; Devlin (Twiss, 66), Hamilton, Woodhouse, Morris; Marcelo Stuart (Ford, 5). Substitutes not used: Henry, Jacobson, Tracey (gk).

Referee: P James (Loughborough).

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all