History: How Arsenal edged out Manchester United on penalties in the 2005 FA Cup Final

When Arsenal edged out Manchester United on penalties in the 2005 FA Cup Final

During the 2004/05 season Arsenal triumphed over Manchester United in the FA Cup final on penalties after drawing 0-0 after extra-time.

In the Third round Arsenal hosted mid-table Championship side Stoke City. By halftime they were shock horror 0-1 down after Wayne Thomas netted the opener for the visitors. Within five minutes of the second half The Gunners retaliated with a strike from Jose Antonio Reyes before Robert Van Persie stole the win off of the Potters as Arsenal secured a 2-1 victory.

Arsenal was back at Highbury for the Fourth round against Wolves which turned out to be an easier affair.  Two goals from the Gunners in the final 45 minutes witnessed Arsenal beat the side who had only just been relegated from the Premiership the season beforehand with two goals dispatched, Patrick Vieira slotted in the first before Freddie Ljunberg doubled the advantage to win 2-0.

For the third consecutive tie Arsenal played at Highbury during the Fifth round where they contested Sheffield United, who later finished in the top-half of the Championship that season. The Blades put up a tough dual; The Gunners didn’t score the opener till the 78th minute through Robert Pires, but in the dying moments of the match Andy Gray netted the 1-1 equaliser.

In the replay at Bramall Lane, Sheffield United kept Arsenal at bay for 120 minutes before losing 2-4 on penalties to the current Premier League Champions. Ashley Cole, Lauren, Vieira and Ljungberg all scored the penalties to push Arsenal into the Quarter-finals.

Arsenal enjoyed a four hour trip nearly to come up against Bolton Wanderers who ended up finishing in the top six of the Premier League to claim a UEFA Cup spot. After Ljungberg clinched the winner in the third minute The Gunners held out till the final whistle to beat the Wanderers 1-0.

The Gunners now faced Blackburn Rovers who were tussling with Premier League relegation at the time.  The North Londoners had little to worry about sweeping Rovers to one side 3-0 in the Semi-final all due to nettings from Pires, and two free hits from Van Persie.

Arsenal were now in their fourth FA Cup Final in five years since the turn of the 21st Century after originally appearing in the 2001 final losing 2-1 to Liverpool after taking the lead.

In the final which was held at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff Wales, due to Wembley being revamped, Arsenal faced 50/50 odds against Manchester United. After a tight and uncompromising 90 minutes the match forced its way into extra-time which saw The Gunners just about beat The Red Devils on penalties 5-4 with Vieira grabbing the winning kick with his last ever kick in an Arsenal shirt..

Arsenal would have to wait another nine years till they won their next major honour with the Cup being kind to them again in 2014 in a marginal 3-2 win over Hull City.

Liam Harding

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Tags 2004/05 FA Cup
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