21 May 2005
On this day Arsenal won the FA Cup beating Manchester United on penalties.
In the game, there was no Henry – he was injured, so we had Bergkamp up front on his own with Gilberto Silva, Reyes and Pires playing behind. Sol Campbell was not used although fit – Senderos playing instead.
During the game Bergkamp was replaced by Ljungberg, Robin van Persie came on in place of Cesc Fàbregas, and Edu replaced Pirès for the last 15 minutes.
Much of the game involved Man U appealing for handball every time the ball hit any part of an Arsenal player while Keene started out annoyingly, and got ever more fractious as the game went on.
Reyes got his first yellow card for a marginally late tackle on Silvestre in the first half, and then in the second half he did it again and got a warning. Scholes then attempted to get Reyes carried off with a horrible tackle, but he too just got a yellow card. Quinton Fortune assaulted Ljungberg in the face with his arm but got no card, and so feeling himself immune to the laws of the game committed an awful high tackle on Edu but by then the ref had lost all control.
At the very end Ronaldo ran towards the goal but was stopped by Reyes, and the ref, having let an awful lot go desperately tried to salvage his reputation with a second yellow for Reyes seconds before the final whistle.
In the shoot out Scholes took the second penalty and it was saved by Lehmann. The other penalties were scored so Vieira walked up and scored the final penalty – his last kick before leaving Arsenal for Juventus and the ignominy of having a championship removed by the courts for repeated match-fixing by his new club. It wasn’t perhaps Patrick’s best career decision of his life.
Henry Norris at the Arsenal: There is a full index to the series here.
Arsenal in the 1930s: The most comprehensive series on the decade ever
Arsenal in the 1970s: Every match and every intrigue reviewed in detail.
100 Years: 100 Years in the First Division