Hartson underlines Arsenal's superiority

Arsenal 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Football

GLENN MOORE

Arsenal 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Arsenal eased into the quarter-finals of the Coca-Cola Cup last night with a repeat of their 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the 1993 final of the competition. It was the second successive year Arsenal had knocked Wednesday out in the fourth round.

Arsenal dominated but it was Wednesday who scored first, through Marc Degryse after 17 minutes. Ian Wright equalised five minutes before the break then John Hartson secured Arsenal victory with a well-taken 65th minute goal.

Wednesday arrived with a forbidding record at Highbury having lost on eight of their last 10 visits. The last, by 4-2 just a week ago, extended Wednesday's 33-year run without a Highbury win to 21 games.

The opening stages suggested that barren period would continue as Arsenal, playing Dennis Bergkamp in a withdrawn role behind Wright and Hartson, bewildered the Wednesday defence with their movement.

Three times in as many minutes Arsenal nearly took the lead, beginning with a 14th-minute Lee Dixon cross which Hartson failed to connect properly with. Immediately afterwards a Bergkamp cross fell to David Platt whose volley brought a stunning save from Kevin Pressman. Then Tony Adams, showing unexpected trickery on the wing, pulled the ball back from the byline for Wright, but the striker shot over.

A goal seemed imminent - and so it proved, only Wednesday were the scorers. Chris Waddle's cross was flicked on by Guy Whittingham then pushed out by David Seaman. It fell to Degryse, who fiercely drove the ball back past Seaman.

Arsenal took a while to recover from the shock but, slowly, they recovered their poise and ascendancy. Wright shot wide and Pressman dealt easily with a weak Jensen cross before Wright backheeled the ball to Merson in the box. As the striker shaped to shoot, Julian Watts brought him down. The subsequent penalty brought Wright his 12th goal of the season and 250th of his career.

The second-half maintained the pattern of Arsenal possession interspersed with Wednesday counter-attacks. Bergkamp was constantly involved, though his team-mates did not always read his passes. Merson, too, was enjoying the evening, once winning a corner with a display of ball-juggling. But, for all their control, Arsenal struggled to create clear chances against an increasingly massed defence.

They should have scored on the hour but Wright's cross just floated over Hartson's head, then became caught between the feet of the surprised Platt. Bergkamp then shot over before, with 20 minutes to go, Hartson put Arsenal ahead. After controlling a long pass from Dixon, he turned Ian Nolan and skipped past Watts before shooting low inside the near post from 20 yards.

Wednesday were forced to venture forward but never showed the conviction or imagination necessary to unhinge Arsenal's experienced defence.

Arsenal (4-3-1-2): Seaman; Dixon, Adams, Bould, Winterburn; Merson, Platt, Jensen; Bergkamp (Helder, 77); Hartson, Wright. Substitutes not used: Hillier, Dickov.

Sheffield Wednesday (3-5-2): Pressman; Watts, Walker, Atherton; Nolan, Waddle, Hyde, Degryse, Sinton; Bright (Hirst, 77), Whittingham. Substitutes not used: Poric, Woods (gk).

Referee: K Burge (Tonypandy).

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
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
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

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'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test