Gunners win through in Highbury battle
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
In an action-packed battle in North London, Arsenal ended the game with nine men to Liverpool's ten as the game caught fire in the second half, with Dennis Bergkamp's first half header enough to send Arsene Wenger's side into the fifth round.
Arsenal had an early sniff of goal in the third minute when Henry skipped past Stephane Henchoz down the right wing and crossed to find Bergkamp at the far post, but his cut-back was cleared by Riise, with Wiltord lurking menacingly.
Liverpool had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 12th minute when a clever flick from Anelka sent Owen racing clear but his right-footed toe poke went straight at Richard Wright.
Arsene Wenger was forced into an early change when Robert Pires failed to recover from a challenge with Sami Hyypia, and Ray Parlour was introduced in his place in the 20th minute.
Two minutes later Wiltord slid in on the end of an Ashley Cole cross but fired well over at the far post.
The Gunners took the lead in the 28th minute when a neat one-two sent Henry free on the left hand side of the box and his powerful cross was diverted past Jerzy Dudek by Bergkamp's header.
Nicolas Anelka nearly equalised straight from the restart, when his powerful strike caught out Wright and hit the top of the bar.
Bergkamp had an almost identical chance close to the break, but decided to try an awkward volley at the ball instead of stooping for the header.
Two minutes after the break, Owen gifted the ball to Henry who drove past Hyypia into the box but had his shot blocked by a superb last-ditch challenge from Henchoz.
Henry again raced free down the left in the 50th minute and he crossed with the outside of his right boot, and Jamie Carragher was lucky not to divert the ball into his own net, and cleared for the corner.
Stephen Wright made good progress down the right in the 65th minute and his low driven cross was fumbled by Wright, but he recovered despite pressure from Heskey.
The game reached melting point in the 66th minute when referee Mike Riley sent Martin Keown off for tugging back Owen when being the last man in The Gunners' defence.
John Arne Riise took the resulting free kick, and fired a trademark thunderbolt that Wright did well to parry, but Owen following up could only slice the ball wide
Arsenal were reduced to nine men when with twenty minutes left Bergkamp aimed a vicious studs-up stamp at Carragher, to the disgust of the Highbury fans, who appeared to aim several missiles at Carragher.
As the Dutchman left the field, Riley then sent Carragher off after he appeared to send one of the missiles flying back into the crowd.
Liverpool went in search of the equaliser, but the hosts dropped deep and The Reds looked unable to make their man advantage tell.
Didi Hamann had a free header six minutes from time but mistimed his effort and the ball bounced over off his shoulder.
Owen had a chance in the 90th minute but his weak effort was saved by Wright at full stretch and there was no Liverpool player there for the rebound.
Arsenal's nine men hung on to their lead to book their place in the next round.
Arsenal v Liverpool
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