Cardiff, May 17 (Reuters): Arsenal became only the second club in over 50 years to retain the FA Cup when a first-half goal from Robert Pires secured a 1-0 victory over Southampton under the closed roof of the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
The Gunners, who lost their Premier League title two weeks ago and whose Champions League dreams faded in March, rescued their season from anti-climax with their ninth FA Cup win in a record 16th final appearance.
It needed a goal-line clearance from a James Beattie header in the fourth minute of stoppage time to give Arsenal victory as they retained the trophy they won last season by beating Chelsea.
Pires scored with a shot on the turn after 38 minutes and although the Saints battled feverishly throughout, Arsenal were always just a little too classy.
The victory was Arsenalís third under Wenger in six seasons and they moved to within one victory of Manchester Unitedís all-time record 10 wins. They also emulated the achievements of Tottenham Hotspur, the last club to retain the FA Cup in both 1962 and 1982.