Arsenal versus Manchester United in the 2005 FA Cup Final
Coming into the game, Arsenal were without star striker, Thierry Henry, who was injured. Defender Sol Campbell had only just returned from injury and started on the bench. Nevertheless, Wenger still had an array of talent to choose from.
The team that lined up was Jens Lehmann in goal, a back four of Lauren, Kolo Touré, Philippe Senderos and Ashley Cole.
Vieira was joined in a midfield three by Gilberto Silva and Cesc Fàbregas with Robert Pirès and José Antonio Reyes pushing forward on the flanks. Dennis Bergkamp started as a lone striker.
United’s team had Roy Carroll in goal, a back four of John O’Shea, Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown and Mikaël Silvestre.
In midfield they had Darren Fletcher, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Christiano Ronaldo. Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney started up front.
United start on the front foot
United started the first half on the front foot and never really looked back.
They dominated the game from start to finish. It was unusual to see an FA Cup final take such a course. You usually expect to see both sides put each under a bit of pressure at some point during the game.
Even when the sides seem a little mismatched on paper, they both usually have a decent spell in the game. Here were two of the top three teams in the country and it seemed as though only one had turned up.
It is likely that this is because of the differing attitudes of the two managers. Ferguson becomes fiercely competitive when any trophy is within touching distance whereas Wenger makes no secret of the fact that he rates the Premier League and Champions league as the club’s top priorities, and domestic competitions, while important, do not hold as much significance for him.
As the game got underway it was clear that United wanted it more but Arsenal’s defence was holding firm.
Good work from Ronaldo
United took just five minutes to create the first chance of the game with Scholes heading over the bar after good work down the left from Ronaldo.
The tackles started flying in and Cole was booked for a foul on Rooney. Bergkamp left Silvestre in a heap on the floor after challenging for a high ball. Silvestre got his own back with a hard challenge and was cautioned for his troubles.
Ferdinand thought he had put United in the lead after 27 minutes when he fired in the rebound after Lehmann saved a shot from Rooney. But it was ruled out as Ferdinand had been in an offside position when his England team mate had shot.
Rooney looking menacing
Rooney was causing all sorts of problems for the Arsenal defence. Lehmann again had to be on his toes after van Nistelrooy set up a chance for the young Englishman. Rooney also hit an audacious volley over the bar following a corner.
United had more chances before the break with van Nistelrooy scuffing a shot towards Lehmann after good work to get past Senderos. Rooney also shot from a free kick but the ball went flying over the bar.
Onslaught continues in 2nd half – Read more