2005 FA Cup Final
The official match programme
|Event||2004–05 FA Cup|
|Arsenal won 5–4 on penalties|
|Date||21 May 2005|
|Venue||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|Man of the Match||Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)1|
|Referee||Rob Styles (Hampshire)|
The 2005 FA Cup Final was held at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on 21 May 2005 between Arsenal and Manchester United. In a tense but surprisingly one-sided encounter, Arsenal ran out winners after 120 goalless minutes, despite being outplayed throughout the game, becoming the first club to win the Cup on penalties. It was the first goalless draw in an FA Cup final since 1912.
The match took place at the Millennium Stadium for the fifth consecutive year, due to the ongoing reconstruction of Wembley Stadium, the final's usual venue. The match was refereed by Rob Styles, who was aided by assistant referees Jim Devine, Paul Canadine and fourth official Neale Barry.
The game was the 17th FA Cup final appearance for both teams; both teams have appeared once since. It was Arsenal's 10th FA Cup win; only Manchester United have won the trophy more times, with 11.
The match was the fifth meeting between the two clubs in the 2004–05 season. Despite finishing six points ahead of Manchester United in the league, Arsenal had lost both league fixtures between the clubs, as well as a League Cup fifth-round tie, which was played out by the clubs' fringe and reserve team players. Arsenal had won the season's first encounter in the FA Community Shield, also at the Millennium Stadium, by a 3–1 scoreline.
The clubs had met in an FA Cup final before – in 1979, when Arsenal won 3–2. Manchester United were appearing in their 17th FA Cup Final, their second in as many years, and had won the FA Cup on 11 of their previous 16 appearances (including beating Milwall in the 2004 final). Two of these victories had yielded a League/FA Cup "double" (in 1994 and 1996) and in 1999 they had won the 1998–99 FA Cup as part of a unique Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League. Arsenal were also appearing in their 17th Cup final, winning nine of the previous 16.
The build-up to the final had focused upon many Manchester United fans' discontent at their takeover by American businessman and sports tycoon Malcolm Glazer, and large demonstrations were planned inside and outside the Millennium Stadium. Despite this, the final was played in the rain and only a small group of around 100 supporters held protests and sang anti-Glazer songs. The police were out in force but did not have any trouble to deal with.2
Arsenal's Thierry Henry was injured for the match, so manager Arsène Wenger opted for a 4–5–1 formation, with Dennis Bergkamp playing as a lone striker. Henry's absence also opened a place in midfield for Gilberto Silva, while José Antonio Reyes and Robert Pirès were selected on the wings ahead of Fredrik Ljungberg and Robin van Persie, who were both named as substitutes. In defence, Philippe Senderos's form saw him selected at centre-back ahead of Sol Campbell, despite the England international's return from injury.3
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson had a defensive selection dilemma ahead of the final, with both of his starting full-backs, Gabriel Heinze (ankle) and Gary Neville (groin), having suffered injuries.4 Neville eventually recovered enough to make the substitutes' bench, despite only playing in one of the team's last five games, but Heinze missed the game entirely, Mikael Silvestre taking his place at left-back. Neville's absence meant that John O'Shea started at right-back. Neville was joined on the bench by winger Ryan Giggs and goalkeeper Tim Howard; Giggs' omission was a surprise, and it meant that Darren Fletcher started on the right wing, while Cristiano Ronaldo played on the left. Howard, on the other hand, had been competing for the number 1 jersey with Roy Carroll all season, and it was ultimately the Northern Irishman who was picked.3
Roy Keane was appearing in his seventh FA Cup Final having previously played in the 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2004 finals. This is the most number of finals for a player since Lord Arthur Fitzgerald Kinnaird played in nine finals in the early years of the competition. Ryan Giggs was playing in his sixth FA Cup Final. Arsenal's Ashley Cole was playing in his fourth FA Cup Final, having appeared in the 2001, 2002 and 2003 games.
Manchester United kicked the game off, and also fashioned the first chance of the game; Cristiano Ronaldo beat Lauren on the left wing to put over a cross, only for Paul Scholes to head the ball over the crossbar after losing his marker. Two minutes later, a break from José Antonio Reyes had Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll scampering across from his goal to meet the Spaniard, forcing Reyes wide enough to allow the United defence time to get back.
Manchester United had the ball in the back of the net on 27 minutes, when Rio Ferdinand turned in the rebound after Jens Lehmann saved from Wayne Rooney, but the assistant referee correctly ruled that Ferdinand was offside. After a brief Arsenal attack, Mikaël Silvestre played a long, diagonal ball to Ruud van Nistelrooy on the right wing. The Dutch forward controlled the ball and then outpaced Ashley Cole to the goal line; he then cut the ball back to Rooney, whose first-time shot was turned over the bar by Lehmann. The consequent corner broke to Rooney on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot was deflected behind for another corner, which Scholes took. The England midfielder floated the ball over to the edge of the penalty area, where Rooney was waiting, only to volley it just over the bar.
In the closing stages of the first half, Van Nistelrooy got his first shot on goal, turning Philippe Senderos only to send the ball trickling along the floor for Lehmann to save comfortably. The first half finished with a foul on Rooney, who had done well to break free of challenges from Cole, Patrick Vieira and Senderos, who eventually brought Rooney down. The English forward took the free kick himself, but it went over the bar to cheers from the Arsenal fans and the sound of the referee's half-time whistle.
Manchester United fashioned the first chance of the second half after just three minutes, when Rooney cut inside from the right along the face of the penalty area, but his left-footed shot was blocked away for a corner kick. Soon after, Van Nistelrooy received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and held it up before playing a through-ball to his captain, Roy Keane, but Keane's low cross was diverted behind by Kolo Touré before it reached Wayne Rooney. United then had their third chance in the space of five minutes when Ronaldo shot just wide from 25 yards, from the left corner of the penalty area.
Throughout the match, Lauren committed several fouls on Cristiano Ronaldo, and confronted the Portuguese winger early in the second half, before finally being booked for persistent fouling in the 62nd minute. Ronaldo took the free kick himself but put it just over the bar from 30 yards. In the 64th minute, Arsenal were awarded a free kick for a John O'Shea foul on Reyes; Dennis Bergkamp took the kick, which was headed away by Ferdinand, but only as far as Robert Pirès, whose side-footed volley went over the bar. The free kick was to be Bergkamp's last contribution to the final, as he was then substituted by Fredrik Ljungberg in the 65th minute.
United then went back downfield and Cristiano Ronaldo took on Lauren, who dared not dive in for a tackle and risk a second yellow card. Ronaldo got past the Cameroonian full-back and then chipped a cross into the penalty area, but Van Nistelrooy was unable to make enough contact with the ball to force his header on target. A minute later, Silvestre found Rooney with another diagonal pass; Rooney attempted to drive in a low cross, but it ended up heading towards goal and came back off the foot of the post. Darren Fletcher was first to the ball but he fired a shot across the face of the goal and out for a goal kick. With their very next attack, United sent Ronaldo away down the left wing again; he sent over another cross, but it was again too far in front of Van Nistelrooy.
Reyes received his first yellow card in the 76th minute, when he was late in tackling Silvestre after the French defender had played a backpass to Carroll. The break in play allowed Manchester United to make their first substitution, bringing on Quinton Fortune for O'Shea, who appeared to be struggling with a calf injury. With six minutes left in normal time, United won a corner on the left hand side, which Ronaldo played short to Scholes. Scholes returned the ball to Ronaldo, who crossed it into the penalty area, where Keane was unmarked at the back post. The ball eventually broke to the United captain, who shot, only to see four Arsenal players between him and the goal, ready to block his effort behind for another corner. Lehmann came to meet the second corner kick, but missed the ball, allowing it to go all the way through to Van Nistelrooy; the Dutchman headed the ball goalwards, but Ljungberg was on the line and headed it up onto the crossbar and away.
Arsenal then made their second substitution, bringing on Robin van Persie in place of Cesc Fàbregas. As the match entered injury time at the end of the second half, Ronaldo made yet another run down the left wing, outpacing Lauren to Wayne Rooney's through-ball. The ball broke back to Rooney 30 yards from goal, but his shot went over the bar. The second half finished with a Wes Brown cross from the right wing that made its way across the penalty area to Ronaldo, but the Portuguese could only head the ball straight at Lehmann.
Manchester United brought Ryan Giggs on at the start of extra time, the Welshman taking Fletcher's place in the midfield. They immediately tried to play him in down the left wing, but the pass was over-hit and went beyond Giggs. Arsenal finally got their first shot on target in the seventh minute of extra time, when a Van Persie free kick – awarded for a soft foul by Silvestre – forced a diving save from Carroll. Four minutes later, Manchester United appealed for a penalty kick when a cross from Giggs struck Cole, but replays showed that the ball hit the Arsenal full-back in the midriff. United sustained their attack, and the ball came to Scholes in the penalty area, but his shot on the turn was well saved by Lehmann. The resultant corner was taken short by Scholes, before it was played back to him; his cross found Van Nistelrooy unmarked in the area, but the Dutchman headed over the bar from six yards out. United then had another penalty shout when Giggs volleyed a long ball from Scholes into Touré's body and up onto the Ivorian's hand, but referee Rob Styles turned their claims down. Arsenal then brought on Edu to replace Pirès for the remaining 15 minutes.
The second half of extra time began with yet another chance for Manchester United, this time constructed from a Giggs break down the left wing, but Van Nistelrooy failed in his attempt to back-heel Giggs' cross into the goal and the opportunity was wasted. Five minutes into the second half, Reyes committed another late tackle on Silvestre, for which he received a final warning from referee Styles. Reyes himself was then the victim of a late tackle by Scholes, who was shown a yellow card. The match threatened to descend into a mass brawl soon after, when Quinton Fortune caught Ljungberg in the face with a flailing arm and then committed a high tackle on Edu, provoking a reaction from the Arsenal players. A shoulder-charge by Rooney on Cole resulted in an Arsenal free kick on the left wing; Van Persie swung the ball over and it was only cleared as far as Ljungberg, but the Swede struck a shot with his shin and the ball spun wide. With a couple of minutes left in the extra period, Manchester United won a free kick on the left corner of the Arsenal penalty area when Vieira lazily tripped Ronaldo and received a booking, but Giggs' cross from the free kick was headed away. Meanwhile, Manchester United's substitute goalkeeper, Tim Howard, was seen warming up behind the goal, suggesting that he was preparing to come on for Carroll in the event of a penalty shootout; however, no substitution was made.
The referee added two minutes of injury time at the end of extra time, during which time Manchester United won another free kick, but Scholes' shot was straight at the Arsenal defensive wall. Then, with just seconds left in regulation time, Ronaldo made a break towards the Arsenal half, only to be cynically body-checked by Reyes. Referee Styles made no hesitation and showed Reyes a second yellow card, making the Spaniard the second player to be sent off in an FA Cup Final, after Manchester United's Kevin Moran in 1985. The full-time whistle went immediately after Reyes' dismissal, and the match finished at 0–0, making it the first FA Cup Final to result in a penalty shootout.
Van Nistelrooy took the first penalty for Manchester United, in front of the United fans, and sent Lehmann the wrong way to give United the early advantage. Lauren then converted the next penalty for Arsenal, before Scholes stepped up to take United's second, only to see it saved by Lehmann, diving low to his right. The next six penalties were all scored – Ljungberg, Van Persie and Cole for Arsenal, Ronaldo, Rooney and Keane for Manchester United – leaving Vieira with the opportunity to win the FA Cup for Arsenal in his last match for the club before moving to Juventus. Although Carroll guessed the correct way to dive, Vieira's kick was just out of his reach, giving Arsenal their 10th FA Cup.
21 May 2005
|Arsenal||0–0 (a.e.t.)||Manchester United|
|5–4|| Van Nistelrooy
Man of the match
|Shots on target||1||8|
- Lawrence, Amy (22 May 2005). "Vieira holds his nerve to claim historic penalty prize for Arsenal". The Observer (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 19 August 2010.
- "Rainy FA Cup final dampens demonstrations". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 21 May 2005. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
- "FA Cup final 2005 build-up". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 21 May 2005. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- "Double injury blow for United". Mail Online (Associated Newspapers). 18 May 2005. Retrieved 22 December 2012.