On this day in 2011: League Cup final Blues for Arsenal

PA Sport Staff
·2-min read

On this day in 2011, Birmingham beat Arsenal 2-1 to win the Carling Cup final.

Arsenal went into the final as red-hot favourites as they attempted to end their six-year wait for a trophy.

In the event, it was Birmingham striker Obafemi Martins who stole the headlines with a last-gasp winner which sent the silverware to St Andrews instead.

Birmingham goalscorers Obafemi Martins, left, and Nikola Zigic celebrate
Birmingham goalscorers Obafemi Martins, left, and Nikola Zigic celebrate (Clive Gee/PA)

The Gunners arrived at Wembley sitting in second place in the Premier League table and few gave the lowly Blues much chance of upsetting the odds in advance.

However, they set out their stall from the off and although they needed the help of a catastrophic error to seal their triumph, few could argue with the outcome.

Alex McLeish’s men might have got off to the perfect start when midfielder Lee Bowyer was felled as he rounded keeper Wojciech Szczesny, a foul which would have resulted in a second-minute penalty and the Poland international’s dismissal had a questionable offside flag not handed him a reprieve.

Unbowed, they took a 28th-minute lead through Nikola Zigic’s header and although Robin van Persie levelled before the break, they were not to be denied.

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As the clock ticked down towards the final minute, a mix-up between Szczesny and defender Laurent Koscielny allowed Nigeria international striker Martins to fire into an empty net to secure a famous 2-1 victory.

The joy of that day was tempered three months later when Birmingham slipped out of the top flight after winning just two of their remaining 12 league games.

Arsenal’s disappointment was compounded when they were knocked out of both the Champions League and the FA Cup by Barcelona and Manchester United respectively before finishing in fourth place in the league.