FA Cup fifth round
February 15, 2004

Today's FreezeFrame takes us back to February 2004 and a memorable FA Cup fifth-round victory for Arsenal.

Arsène Wenger's side had dazzled during their unbeaten Premier League campaign heading into this cup tie, but were facing a rejuvenated Chelsea team.

This was Roman Abramovich's first season at Stamford Bridge and the Russian's revolution had quickly taken shape. Claudio Ranieri had pulled no punches in the summer, signing the likes of Joe Cole, Claude Makelele, Damien Duff, Adrian Mutu, Emmanuel Petit and Juan Sebastian Veron. 

Chelsea had captured more than £150 million worth of talent in just two months - but Arsenal's class still prevailed at Highbury.

Wenger's own transfer dealings had been much more modest but few could doubt that the signings of Robin van Persie, Jens Lehmann and Gael Clichy were some of his most astute ever.

But this was the coming of age for one of Wenger's January acquisitions, Jose Antonio Reyes. The young Spaniard, filling in for the injured Thierry Henry, had shown flashes of class by this point but had not found the net in his first four appearances.

Although Reyes perhaps may not have fulfilled his potential at the Club, he won over plenty of Arsenal fans with this display.

In a hugely entertaining first half, it was Chelsea who took the lead five minutes before half time when Romanian international Adrian Mutu capitalised on a poor Lehmann kick.

The German international had previously made a superb stop to deny William Gallas and this was a rare error from the goalkeeper.

But Arsenal's new boy was on hand to turn the tide. Just eight minutes into the second period, Reyes picked up the ball 25 yards out and unleashed an unstoppable strike past Carlo Cudicini.

Chelsea then suffered a blow when Cudicini was forced off through injury and Neil Sullivan's first task was to pick the ball out of his net after Reyes stabbed home Patrick Vieira's superb pass to complete the turnaround.

Arsenal strolled to the final whistle to book their place in the quarter-finals and ensure a miserable afternoon for west London's big spenders.

Our FreezeFrame captures Reyes as he celebrates his equalising goal with Ashley Cole.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Campbell, Cole, Gilberto, Vieira, Parlour (Edu 51), Pires, Reyes (Clichy 82), Bergkamp. Subs not used: Stack, Cygan, Bentley.

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20 Apr 2012