Arsenal appeal over Bergkamp red card

Arsenal 1 Sheffield United 1

After the whodunit of Saturday lunchtime, Arsenal move on to face up to their Champions' League hoodoo tomorrow evening. This draw against Sheffield United meant the Gunners have still lost only two FA Cup matches since the start of 2001, but for the first leg in Bayern Munich's Olympic Stadium they have to try to improve a European record that is not nearly so solid.

After the whodunit of Saturday lunchtime, Arsenal move on to face up to their Champions' League hoodoo tomorrow evening. This draw against Sheffield United meant the Gunners have still lost only two FA Cup matches since the start of 2001, but for the first leg in Bayern Munich's Olympic Stadium they have to try to improve a European record that is not nearly so solid.

The Gunners' failure to even reach the semi-finals of the Champions' League is a mystery to all, but first they will have to clear up the questions over Dennis Bergkamp's 35th-minute dismissal for attacking Danny Cullip.

There is no doubting that Bergkamp squared up to the Blades central defender, but what he did appeared too innocuous for a red card. A gloved hand that belonged to Jose Antonio Reyes seemed to swing in Cullip's direction and in the fracas it is possible that the referee, Neale Barry, thought that it belonged to Bergkamp instead.

Wenger said he would appeal against the sending-off - the Dutchman's third in the Cup - although television evidence may simply indict Reyes for a three-game ban instead. Either way, after Kolo Touré's recent three-match suspension, imposed on video evidence, there are increasing signs that Arsenal's bad habits are creeping back.

Wenger was, however, also angered by what he felt was Cullip's intentional stamping on Cesc Fabregas' head which sparked the mêlée, although that will be even harder to prove when the Football Association reviews the match.

In some ways it was what you expect from a Cup match involving Neil Warnock's side. As the United manager said: "Every time I play in the FA Cup there's incident. TV should have us every time. Today was special for us, coming here. They've beaten two Championship sides already but we had a go."

Modest as ever, he added: "I think we brought the magic back to the FA Cup. It's great we filled the Clock End with 5,200 fans. The lads know how special I think it is and I think it's still the greatest Cup in the world."

Warnock's tactics were predictable, with his players staying down if fouled and going in hard on every Arsenal player, and Wenger himself could have foreseen that. After all, the Gunners struggled to win against Warnock's men in the 2003 Cup semi-final and they struggled to impose themselves here.

Wenger picked a young outfield team, except for Bergkamp and Freddie Ljungberg, aged between 17 and 23, and after surviving a strangely disallowed Cullip first-half "goal", they dominated without really prospering. The introduction of Robert Pires was crucial as it was he who scored by following up Paddy Kenny's save from Mathieu Flamini's shot.

However, Wenger's other substitution proved just as decisive, bringing on the hapless Pascal Cygan. Four minutes later his miscued clearance was met by Cullip and Philippe Senderos blocked the ball with his hand. Andy Gray's penalty was neatly slotted away.

Wenger at least achieved one thing here, namely resting Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Pires, in part, and Lauren before the first leg of their last 16 match against a Bayern side who won 5-0 against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. He must also wait on the fitness of Ashley Cole and Edu.

The Arsenal manager acknowledged how difficult the tie against Germany's league leaders is, saying: "With the Champions' League, everybody has expected it from us for a few years but we cannot give a guarantee we will deliver. The deep desire is there, we want to do well but it is Bayern. They have great experience and have won it four times so they are difficult to play against." With words like that, it sounds as if Arsenal's European jinx will continue.

Goals: Pires (78) 1-0; Gray pen (90) 1-1

Arsenal (4-4-2): Almunia; Eboue, Touré, Senderos, Clichy; Ljungberg, Flamini, Fabregas, Reyes (Cygan, 86); Bergkamp, Van Persie (Pires, 65). Substitutes not used: Taylor (gk), Larsson, Owusu-Abeyie.

Sheffield United (5-3-2): Kenny; Geary, Bromby, Cullip, Jagielka, Harley; Montgomery (Forte, 82), Thirlwell (Shaw, h-t), Tonge; Liddell, Gray. Substitutes not used: Cadamarteri, Quinn.

Referee: N Barry (North Lincolnshire).

Booked: Arsenal Reyes, Fabregas. Sheffield United: Liddell, Thirlwell, Cullip. Sent off: Arsenal Bergkamp.

Man of the match: Fabregas.

Attendance: 36,891.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'