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FOOTBALL: GUIDE TO THE KEY WEMBLEY BATTLES.

ADAMS V SHEARER

IT couldn't have been a more different afternoon for these two England heroes.

Adams and his sidekick Martin Keown had an easy job keeping tabs on Shearer wherever he turned because he was battling alone up front - and didn't get any service anyway. And hitting the post in the second half just made it more frustrating for the Newcastle striker.

Shearer got so frustrated by it all that he clumsily and brazenly fouled Adams, but he must get some credit for being big enough to apologise for his actions immediately afterwards.

VIEIRA V BATTY

THE tall, languid Vieira was like a traffic cop turning back anything Batty and his midfield partner Lee tried to get going in the first half. It was precious little anyway and they rarely got across the half-way line.

Equally coolly, Vieira's passing was far more adept. Batty got the upper hand for a short spell after half-time.

But the intense physical battle expected between two of most combative midfielders in the Premiership never really materialised.

OVERMARS V PISTONE (right)

THE first Arsenal goal, so brilliantly and speedily executed by Overmars, settled this contest early on.

If it was a fight, the ref would have been forced to stop it.

Pistone never looked comfortable when confronted by the livewire Dutchman and Overmars spent the rest of the game threatening a repeat performance to make it a thoroughly miserable day for the outclassed and outrun Italian defender.

PARLOUR V PEARCE

MAN of the Match Ray Parlour signalled it would be his afternoon when he charged through Newcastle's left side.

From there he delivered a cross that was headed just over by Nicolas Anelka.

From then on, it was his energy and power which constantly nagged at Newcastle. Parlour dominated the left side and was also influential when tucked inside.

Pearce, at 36, can never be questioned for courage. But time and the heat made him look like an ordinary mortal.

HOW THE PLAYERS RATED

ARSENAL (4-4-2)

DAVID SEAMAN

Hardly involved, but snapped to it lively enough when Ketsbaia suddenly tested him with a 25-yard shot.

LEE DIXON

No frills, but no spills in the umpteenth assured display from Arsenal's veteran right-back.

NIGEL WINTERBURN

Mirror image of Dixon's unruffled display on the left. Liked the celebrations at the end, too, Nige.

MARTIN KEOWN

Poor old Alan Shearer had to battle alone against two markers. Keown, of course, did an exemplary job.

TONY ADAMS

Also squeezed out Shearer. No slips until gave away free-kick which ended with Dabizas heading onto the bar.

PATRICK VIEIRA

Another powerful display of crushing dominance by the Frenchman for most of the game.

EMMANUEL PETIT

Echoed Vieira's solidity and, what a beautiful chip pass for Overmars' goal.

RAY PARLOUR

Man of the Match who didn't stop plundering down the right. Might have claimed a goal near the end.

MARC OVERMARS

Displayed all his pace and precision to score first goal and looked capable of a follow-up all afternoon.

NICOLAS ANELKA

Should have scored early on, went oddly quiet - then burst back into life with Arsenal's second.

CHRISTOPHER WREH

Occasion and responsibility of performing as late understudy for injured Bergkamp seemed to subdue him

SUBS

David Platt (For Wreh, 5): Fitted smoothly into midfield.

NOT USED: Wright, Bould, Manninger and Grimandi

NEWCASTLE (4-4-1-1)

SHAY GIVEN

Won't be happy that Overmars' goal went through his legs, then beaten by another sharp finish from Anelka.

ALESSANDRO PISTONE

Must hope that he'll never have to play against Overmars again after he was cruelly exposed.

STUART PEARCE

Will never let you down, but was kept a busy man all afternoon by Parlour.

STEVE HOWEY

Must have been a tired man after chasing around trying to fill so many holes.

NIKOS DABIZAS

Defended soundly and then hit the bar with a header as Newcastle briefly showed amibition

WARREN BARTON

Struggled all afternoon and was ineffective pushing forward. Eventually substituted.

DAVID BATTY

Also another who failed to set anything meaningful alight, apart from when Newcastle briefly threatened.

ROBERT LEE

Always tried to push forward to support Shearer but actually produced very little in the way of invention.

GARY SPEED

Supplied little for Shearer and was yet one more Newcastle player found wanting when asked for creativity.

TEMUR KETSBAIA

Bald head seemed to be flitting around all over the place but no-one could work out what it was all for.

ALAN SHEARER

Hot, miserable, frustrating afternoon, but there was one brief flash of his prowess, when he hit the post.

SUBS

Andreas Andersson (for Pearce 72, 5), Steve Watson (for Barton 78, 5), John Barnes (for Ketsbaia 85, 5).

CUP FINAL MATCH FACTS

Attempts at goal 13 10

On target 3 1

Corners 4 2

Fouls committed 18 14

Caught offside 5 3

Booked 1 4

Sent off 0 0

Possession 48% 52%
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Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 18, 1998
Words:804
Previous Article:Football: Wenger has final say; Cup Mastermind is ahead of the game.
Next Article:FOOTBALL: EURO STARS; TRIBUTE TO ENGLAND'S DOUBLE WINNERS: Bergkamp: We won't flop like United in Champions League.


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