Arsenal 0-0 Manchester United (Arsenal win 5-4 on penalties)
FA Cup Final 21st May 2005, Millennium Stadium
Daylight robbery denies United
While the actual match itself might not have been a great deal to write home about, certainly in terms of goals or end to end excitement, the FA Cup Final of 2005 held a symbolic significance for several years afterwards for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it marked the end of an era as Arsenal legend and club captain, Patrick Vieira, played his last game for the Gunners.
Having led Arsenal to glory on several occasions, he was headed for Juventus to test himself in the Italian League. It was a rather surprising move as much of the speculation surrounding Vieira had had him all but sold to Real Madrid.
Arsenal’s last trophy
Secondly, it marked the last time Arsenal won a trophy to date. It was to become a major talking point in the media.
Despite providing Arsenal with Champions League football every year and keeping a steady ship while the club built, moved into and paid off the mortgage on their brand new 60,000 seater stadium, manager, Arsène Wenger, would find himself under increasing pressure every season that went by without him adding another trophy to his already impressive collection.
For Manchester United it was a missed opportunity to give the fans some much needed silverware. The 2004-5 season was extremely rare for Sir Alex Ferguson’s United because not only did they not pick up a single trophy, they also finished third in the Premier league. It was only the third time they had finished outside the top two since Ferguson’s era was truly launched when they first won the title back in 1992-3. To make matters worse, they had finished third the previous season as well, meaning that this was the first time since Ferguson’s first title that they had gone more than one season without winning the league.
Abramovich changed things forever
The problem for both sides but particularly United was that Roman Abramovich had bought Chelsea and spent millions building a title winning side.
United no longer had their pick of the best players available because they could not blast Chelsea out of the water financially as they could with the other English clubs. Many of their fans were beginning to worry that the good times were coming to an end.
Arsenal and United had finished second and third in the table behind Chelsea. Chelsea had ran away with the title and it seemed as though English football was at the dawn of a Stamford Bridge era.
This made winning the FA Cup all the more important for Arsenal and United who had been the country’s two most successful clubs since the Premier league began and would not have liked having their noses put out of joint by Abramovich’s billions. The game gets underway – Read more