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Before Sunday’s Carling Cup Final Arsene Wenger (left) had said that he thought that it was possible for his Arsenal side to win four trophies this season. Make that three, because the Gunners were beaten 2-1 by Birmingham City thanks to a late goal from Obafemi Martins.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. This trophy was supposed to be the one that finally launched this version of Wenger’s masterplan towards bigger and better things, but Birmingham had other ideas. From the start they indicated that they weren’t interested in simply containing Arsenal but also creating chances of their own and they shoud have had at least a penalty as early as the third minute.

It’s a remarkable achievment for Alex McCleish to have won Birmingham’s first trophy since 1963 with a side made up of eitherjourneymen at the end of their careers or players that other managers had overlooked. If they can avoid relegation then it truly will have been a great season for them.

Where this leaves Arsenal though is another matter. Wenger has constantly emphasised the importance of the first trophy for this group of players and, at times, on Sunday it looked as though they believed that a win was a formality that was theirs by destiny.

Birmingham proved them to be very wrong.


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