The Pole was due a bad game and it came at just the wrong time. Fortunate not to concede a penalty and be sent off in the first few minutes when he mowed down Bowyer, only be saved by an erroneously raised linesman’s flag. Culpable for Birmingham’s opener by racing out of his goal and failing to beat Zigic to Johnson’s knock-on. Made partial amends with a fine block from Zigic to stop Birmingham going 2-0 up but his shocking handling to let in Martins for the winner will haunt him – and Arsenal – for a long time.
Defensively solid and a real threat on the overlap for Arsenal with his energy and consistent delivery.
Bullied by Zigic, who plonked himself by Arsenal’s smallest defender and had great success winning the first ball and knocking on to his colleagues. Never flagged in his desire to help Arsenal end their trophy drought but relied too much on his speed to make up for his suspect positioning and lack of body strength.
For 89 minutes, he maintained his recent improvement with some well-timed clearances as his habit of being in the right place at the right time saved his team's bacon on a few occasions. Played the least culpable role in the shocking mix-up with Szczesny, but will be damned by association.
A titan on both sides of the pitch. His anticipation and speed were crucial in the middle of the first half when Arsenal were under the cosh and struggling to deal with Birmingham’s physical approach.
Failed to repay Wenger’s faith after being selected ahead of Bendtner and played in the ‘Fabregas role’ behind Van Persie. Unable to either maintain possession or offer much of a route to Birmingham’s goal, although he did improve in the second half.
Flashes of quality and inspiration in the first half and became an increasingly central figure in the second with his trickery and well-directed long-range shooting as Birmingham became more ragged at the back. Denied on three occasions by fine saves from Foster.
One of the many below-par players in red-and-white. Got knocked off the ball more often today than in the rest of the season put together and got caught out by Bowyer’s movement on a number of occasions.
Inspired his team’s revival with his aggression and creativity in midfield and his thunderous left-footed shot that cannoned off the crossbar led to Van Persie’s equalizer.
R. van Persie
Arsenal’s caretaker captain brought his team back into the game with a brilliant right-footed volley just when his team were struggling to force their way out of first gear. The way he contorted his body to hook it past a helpless Foster was a wonderful combination of technique and timing. But he appeared to injure himself in the act of scoring and hobbled on before being withdrawn with 20 minutes left.
A typically hot-and-cold display by the enigmatic Russian. Added to his healthy assists tally by teeing up Van Persie for the equalizer and was heavily involved in his team’s forward surges but too often failed to make the most of the opportunities that came his way. Subbed with 13 minutes left.
Not always elegant but showed fine reflexes to make a hat-trick of excellent saves from Nasri and another good one from Arshavin. Not one deserved a winner's medal more.
Dealt capably with the threat of Arshavin and always willing to provide an outlet on the overlap.
Brilliant tackle to halt a flying Arshavin in the opening 20 minutes and his shrewdness was a good foil to Johnson’s power.
Outstanding in both penalty areas. Rose above Koscielny to put the ball in the danger area for Zigic to head the opening goal and a blue-and-white rock with his commitment and aerial strength.
His concentration levels never flagged as he handled the multi-faceted threat of Nasri well for 60 minutes before struggling as the Frenchman moved to a more central role.
The former Arsenal academy graduate delivered some excellent crosses on the run and helped maintain the tempo of his team’s attacks.
Cunning and controversial as ever. Arsenal struggled to cope with his late runs and extremely unfortunate to be denied what looked a clear penalty in the third minute after he had been wrongly adjudged to be off-side.
His low center of gravity and dribbling caused Arsenal plenty of headaches and he was unfortunate to see a drilled second-half shot rebound off the post.
The weakest link in Birmingham’s midfield, he harried Arsenal’s ball players but was ineffective in possession. Subbed early in the second half after appearing to pick up a knock.
Summed up Birmingham’s tenacity by providing the iron fist within his team's steel glove.
One-dimensional he may be, but the giant Serbian caused Arsenal huge problems during an extended period in the middle of the first half, although he pondered over a great opportunity to put his side 2-0 up. Quieter after the break but always a menacing figure.
- 1 Maik Taylor
- 3 D. Murphy
- 21 S. Parnaby
Showed neat footwork on a few occasions in a lively display on the left flank.
Will never have to buy a drink in the 'second city' for the rest of his days. Replaced Fahey with eight minutes left, and couldn't believe his luck as the ball fell to feet in the 88th minute after Szczesny's mix-up with Koscienly.
- 10 C. Jerome