Arsenal 0 v 0 Manchester United
Arsenal won 5-4 on Penalties Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
21st May 2005

Manchester United suffered a disappointing defeat to Arsenal in the FA cup final. Normally, I'd find that extremely difficult to say, let alone write about, but United's performance was far from disappointing.

United dominated possession, and were constantly creating chances - Messrs Rooney and Ronaldo were particularly efficient at sending the Arsenal defence into disarray. Arsenal, on the other hand, were reduced to playing route-one football, and had only one single shot on target throughout the whole game! Pathetic!

After a tepid opening spell, the game started to show signs of life. The personal battles between the players began to be won by United players: Keane completely out-tackled Vieira, Rio didn't even work up a sweat against Bergkamp, Rooney was finding space, and, above all, Ronaldo was giving Lauren a roasting. The Poruguese idol was giving a master-class in close control, and showed off this skills time and again. I kept on wondering whether the BBC was just showing replays as Ronaldo skipped past Arsenal defender after Arsenal defender, and put in some wicked (Manchester-talk for "Great") crosses.

United surged forwards, but with Rooney hitting the post and Van Nistelrooy hitting the cross-bar, it seemed that it just wasn't going to be Uniteds day. That said, there was little chance of Arsenal scoring, so we just had to keep going and the goal would come.

But after 90 minutes of ferocious attacking, the goal still hadn't come. And after another 30 minutes of extra time, there was still nothing on the scoresheet (Though "Reyes sent Off" would probably have made it onto it).

And so it came down to penalties, the cruelest method of deciding a game. It was a lottery, and any team could win. Unfortunately they did.

Scholes was the unlucky player who failed to find the back of the net as United lost 5-4 on Penalties. Ronaldo scored his penalty with cool precision!

In the end, the better team lost, and Ronny will only have a runners-up medal to add to his collection, but he can be happy with a sensational performance, where he and Rooney were very exciting to watch. As soon as we get Van Nistelrooy back to full fitness, we'll start to score from all the chances, and next season we have every chance of challenging for the league - particularly if Sir Alex can strengthen the squad in the summer.

But after such a mesmerising performance, quite a few clubs may be willing to part with a lot of money for Ronaldo. But all the money in the world isn't enough. Roony continued his rise to world domination by learning another lesson in football.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Senderos, Cole, Fabregas (Van Persie 86), Vieira, Silva, Pires (Edu 105),Bergkamp (Ljungberg 65), Reyes.

Subs Not Used: Almunia, Campbell.

Sent Off: Reyes (120).

Booked: Cole, Lauren, Reyes, Vieira.

Man Utd: Carroll, Brown, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea (Fortune 77), Fletcher (Giggs 91), Keane, Scholes, Ronaldo, van Nistelrooy, Rooney.

Subs Not Used: Howard, Gary Neville, Smith.

Booked: Silvestre, Scholes.

Att: 71,876

Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).


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