PicturesWenger reactionWenger audioPLUS ClassicsCup historyProgrammeArsenal 1-1 Sheffield United
FA Cup 5th Round
Arsenal Stadium, Highbury
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Kick-off: 12.30pmMORE PICTURES
REFEREE
  • Neale Barry
    (Lincolnshire)
ATTENDANCE
  • 36,891

ARSENAL
  • Manuel Almunia
  • Kolo Toure
  • Philippe Senderos
  • Gael Clichy
  • Emmanuel Eboue
  • Fredrik Ljungberg
  • Cesc Fabregas
  • Robert Pires 65
  • Mathieu Flamini
  • Jose Reyes
  • Pascal Cygan 85
  • Dennis Bergkamp
  • Robin van Persie
SUBS NOT USED
  • Stuart Taylor
  • Sebastian Larsson
  • Quincy Owusu-Abeyie

SHEFFIELD UNITED
  • Paddy Kenny
  • Danny Cullip
  • Leigh Bromby
  • Derek Geary
  • Andy Gray
  • Jon Harley
  • Nick Montgomery
  • Phil Jagielka
  • Paul Thirlwell
  • Jonathan Forte 82
  • Paul Shaw 45
  • Michael Tonge
  • Andy Liddell
  • Simon Francis 82
SUBS NOT USED
  • Danny Cadamarteri
  • Alan Quinn
ARSENAL1Pires 78
SHEFFIELD UNITED1Gray 90 (pen)


By Richard Clarke

It seems you can't beat Sheffield United v Arsenal games for FA Cup drama.

Six years ago they shared the infamous "throw-in" goal game when Kanu played on and Marc Overamrs scored as Ray Parlour attempted to toss the ball back to Blades keeper Alan Kelly after an injury. In 2003 only a superb save from David Seaman kept Arsenal ahead in the Semi-Final at Old Trafford. 

This year's game had more controversy when Dennis Bergkamp was dismissed late in the first half for clashing with Danny Cullip following the Sheffield United defender's foul on Francesc Fabregas. 

If anything it sparked a slovenly Arsenal into life. They were excellent in the second half and thoroughly deserved their goal from substitute Robert Pires with 12 minutes left.

But fortune was not Arsenal's side. With 20 seconds left, Philippe Senderos handled in the area and Andy Gray stroked home the penalty.

It was hard on the ome side but, nevertheless, the replay will be at Bramall Lane on Tuesday, March 1, 7.45pm.

A combination of injuries, the upcoming Champions League tie with Bayern Munich and the usual FA Cup shuffle meant Wenger retained only four of the starters from the inspirational victory over Crystal Palace. 

Of today's absentees, only Sol Campbell (ankle) is definitely out of the trip to Germany. Edu (hamstring) and Ashley Cole's (flu) participation hangs in the balance, but Thierry Henry (Achilles) and Patrick Vieira will go. 

The visitors looked the more likely team to score in the early stages. Nick Montgomery skipped past Senderos on the left but the Swiss centre back raced back and forced a corner with a well-timed challenge in then area. From the resulting place kick, Gray found space just six yards out and his header forced Manuel Almunia into a scrambling save.

Sheffield United continued to have the better of things and, early on, only Bergkamp's blocked shot suggested Arsenal were the team from the higher division. However they soon found their fluency.

Jon Harley's error on the left allowed Freddie Ljungberg to tee up Robin van Persie but the Dutch striker's was weak. Then in the 18th minute Jose Antonio Reyes' flick sent Fabregas scampering through on goal. The 17-year-old lifted the ball over the advancing Paddy Kenny but over the bar as well.

Arsenal were starting to sing from the same hymnsheet. Flamini burst through and combined with Ljungberg to set up Bergkamp. The Dutchman steered his shot just over the bar from the edge of the area.

To their credit, Sheffield United rallied. Lee Bromby nodded over the bar and Andy Liddle hooked a shot wide. 

Then, 10 minutes before the break, came the sending off. Cullip's challenge left Fabregas needing treatment, and after a melee the referee brandish a red card in the direction of the Dutchman.  

Insult was nearly added to injury just before half time when the Sheffield United defender backflicked a header just under the bar and into the net.  Fortunately for Arsenal it was chalked off.

The home side came out with the bit between their teeth for the second half. Within three minutes Emmanuel Eboue exchanged passes with Flamini and, from the corner of the six-yard box, unleashed a fierce cross shot that Kenny did very well to smother.

The heightened pace of the game suggested neither side was settling for the draw, but Sheffield United were not making their numerical advantage tell. They looked dangerous from set-pieces but the nearest they came was on the hour when Lee Bromby's cross fell to Montgomery on the edge of the area and he scuffed a shot wide.

Otherwise, Arsenal's 10 men looked likelier to score. Ljungberg set up the increasingly influential Reyes to drive an effort just over the bar, Toure cracked a long range free-kick into the chest of Kenny and Reyes, from another free-kick, forced the keeper into a stretching save just inside his left-hand post. 

Then came the opening goal. Reyes prodded the ball to Flamini 10 yards out and the French midfielder sent a swivelling shot goalward. Kenny, as so many times this afternoon, made a fine save but the ball rolled out for Pires to tucked a shot under the body of the keeper.

The relief was palpable around Highbury but the home side had more than merited their advantage. Fabregas nearly doubled it late on but the drama was not over. 

With 20 seconds left, Barry pointed to the spot after Senderos handballed and Gray sent Almunia the wrong way. 

Arsenal's performance deserved better.


   MATCH PICTURES 


Thirlwell shadows FabregasPires takes on GearyThirlwell chases BergkampCullip and Ljungberg tangleBromby leans into FlaminiPires latches onto the spilt shot..and buries itRobert wheels away in delight


 2004/05 FIXTURE LIST  

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Richard Clarke 18 Feb 2005