PicturesReactionWallpaperSheffield United 0-0 Arsenal
(Arsenal win 4-2 on penalties)
FA Cup Fifth Round Replay
Tuesday, March 1, 2005
Kick-off: 8.05pmMORE PICTURES
- Phil Dowd
- Manuel Almunia
- Philippe Senderos
- Pascal Cygan
- Ashley Cole
- Mathieu Flamini
- Jeremie Aliadiere 113
- Cesc Fabregas
- Kolo Toure 90
- Patrick Vieira
- Gael Clichy
- Fredrik Ljungberg
- Arturo Lupoli
- Quincy Owusu-Abeyie 45
- Stuart Taylor
- Emannuel Eboue
- Patrick Kenny
- Derek Geary
- Chris Morgan
- Leigh Bromby
- Jon Harley
- Andy Liddell
- Nick Montgomery
- Phil Jagielka
- Paul Thirlwell
- Michael Tonge
- Alan Quinn 98
- Andy Gray
- Danny Haystead
- Paul Shaw
- Steve Kabba
- Simon Francis
By Richard Clarke
Manuel Almunia was Arsenal's hero after they beat Sheffield United 4-2 on penalties in this FA Cup Fifth Round replay at Bramall Lane.
The drama of spot kicks came after a goalless 120 minutes. Michael Tonge and Jon Harley had gilt-edged chances in the opening seconds of each half but, apart from that, it was all Arsenal.
Francesc Fabregas hit the bar and half-time substitute Quincy gave new impetus as the visitors dominated for much of the game. But arguably the closest they came was when Jeremie Aliaidiere forced a fine save with his first touch after six month out with injury.
And so to penalties. Andy Gray scored for Sheffield United, as did Lauren for Arsenal. Then Phil Jagielka scored at the second attempt. Vieira responded in kind. Almunia saved from Alan Quinn and Freddie Ljungberg put the visitors ahead. Crucially Almunia saved again from Jon Harley and it was up to Ashley Cole to finish the job.
He kept his cool and Arsenal were through. They meet Bolton in the next round.
Arsène Wenger had few options in his squad after nine first-teamers were ruled out through suspension or injury. For the record, the absentees were: Thierry Henry (Achilles), Sol Campbell (ankle), Dennis Bergkamp (suspended), Jose Antonio Reyes (suspended), Robin van Persie (suspended), Robert Pires (ankle), Gilberto (vertebrae), Edu (hamstring) and Justin Hoyte (ankle).
Among a number of changes, Ljungberg was asked to act as a makeshift striker and, alongside him, 17-year-old Arturo Lupoli made his first start outside the Carling Cup. Ashley Cole was employed on the left flank with Fabregas, back from suspension, on the right. They were unfamiliar positions for both. Lauren returned at right back and Kolo Toure dropped to the bench.
For Sheffield United the major question mark surrounded the hip injury the goalkeeper Paddy Kenny had picked up at Plymouth on February 22. In the end the Irish international did start.
Arsenal could have trailed after just 39 seconds. Gray found some space on the right and fed Tonge at the near post. The midfielder hacked the ball high over the bar from point-blank range.
It was a shot across the bows for the Arsenal youngsters but they recovered their composure and began to knock the ball around with confidence soon afterwards.
However clear-cut chances were thin on the ground. Their best move came in the 17th minute when Fabregas and Lupoli exchanged passes on the edge of the area and Ljungberg sliced a shot wide of Kenny's left-hand post.
Patrick Vieira smacked an optimistic effort wide a few minutes later. It was never going in but it was close as we were getting. Arsenal had the lion's share of possession and spent most of the game in the Sheffield United half. Turning that advantage into goal-scoring opportunities was proving more difficult.
Six minutes before the break, Vieira escaped down the right and Kenny spilled his pacy cross for second. He'd recovered by the time Lupoli slid in an effort to apply the finishing touch.
As in the first half, Sheffield United had a very early chance after the restart. Forty six seconds in, Nick Montgomery crossed from the right and, after Liddell miscued, Harley scuffed a shot towards goal. Almunia held on with ease.
Again, it was not a portent of things to come. Quincy, who had replaced Lupoli at the break, outpaced the home defence and his cross-shot forced Kenny into low save.
In the 56th minute the Dutch striker held off the attentions of three defenders before breezing to the byline and sending over a high cross that Kenny could only touch to Fabregas at the far post. The 17-year-old collected, steadied himself and fired low toward goal but the keeper thrust out a foot to block.
The Spaniard would go even closer four minutes later. Vieira drove forward and Fabregas fired in a rasping shot from the edge of the area. His effort clipped the cross bar on its way over.
Kenny was starting to be over-employed. In the 68th minute Quincy's clever inside ball sent Ljungberg clear in the area but the keeper blocked his effort and, with 10 minutes left, he dived low to smother a Fabregas shot at the near post.
However Arsenal could not maintain their dominance and Sheffield United tried to nick the game at the end. Pascal Cygan blocked Gray's effort from close range as the big striker looked to pull the trigger from close range then, in the dying seconds, Almunia tipped over dramatically from Harley's far post header. The game was really starting to warm up but the deadlock just would be broken. Extra time would be necessary.
Both sides cancelled each other out during the first half but in the opening moments of the second period a corner found Cygan at the far post and his drilled shot flashed across the face of goal.
In the final minutes Aliadiere replaced Flamini for his first action since the injurying knee ligaments in the Community Shield in August. His first touch was to control Toure's wild free-kick his second was a drive at goal. Kenny pulled off the save of the game and a fairytale return went begging. The keeper then saved Cole's free-kick on the line.
Arsenal continued to look like the only team who could force a winner but it just would not come. We went to penalties and it fell to Almunia complete the job as the visitors went through.
Vieira takes on MorganQuincy holds off JagielkaAlmunia saves from the spot Freddie steps up.....and scores!Ashley Cole takes his crucial spot-kick..and rolls it in!Arsenal are through!
2004/05 FIXTURE LIST
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