2004–05 Manchester United F.C. season

2004–05 Manchester United F.C. season
Manchester United
2004–05 season
Chairman England Sir Roy Gardner
Manager Scotland Sir Alex Ferguson
Premier League 3rd
FA Cup Runners-up
Carling Cup Semi-finals
Community Shield Runners-up
UEFA Champions League First knockout round
Top goalscorer League:
Wayne Rooney (11)
Wayne Rooney (17)
Highest home attendance 67,989 vs Portsmouth (26 February 2005)
Lowest home attendance 48,891 vs Crystal Palace (10 November 2004)
Average home attendance 66,751
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours

The 2004–05 season was Manchester United's 13th season in the Premier League, and their 30th consecutive season in the top division of English football.[1]

The season finished trophyless (only their fourth trophyless season in 17 seasons) for United, who finished third in the Premier League with 77 points – an amount which in some seasons would have been enough for title glory. The title went to Chelsea, who finished the season with a record 95 points and lost just one game all season, with the previous season's champions Arsenal finishing runners-up.

Their European Cup dream ended in the Second Round at Milan, while they were eliminated from the League Cup by Chelsea in the semi-finals. The last chance of silverware was blown by a Paul Scholes penalty miss against Arsenal in a shoot-out after a goalless draw in the 2005 FA Cup Final.

On a more positive note, newly-signed 19-year-old striker and leading club goalscorer Wayne Rooney was voted PFA Young Player of the Year.

United also ended Arsenal's record-breaking 49-game unbeaten league run with a 2–0 home win in late October.


Pre-season and friendlies

Manchester United played their first pre-season fixture of the 2004–05 season away to Cobh Ramblers. United won 2–1, through goals from Mads Timm and Kenny Cooper.

The Reds then set off to North America for their pre-season tour. Their first match, played at the Soldier Field in Chicago, United States against Bayern Munich. After a 0–0 draw, the match went to penalties, with Bayern prevailing 4–2 in the shootout. United's next game of their pre-season tour was against Celtic at the Lincoln Financial Field. Chris Sutton gave Celtic an early lead with a penalty after Jonathan Spector fouled Stiliyan Petrov. Alan Smith equalised for United with a corner-kick header, but Craig Beattie scored the winner for Celtic after Roy Keane lost possession.

After the 2–1 loss against Celtic, United played their final game of the tour against Milan. Like the Bayern game, the game against Milan ended 0–0, penalties were required, and United once again lost on penalties, this time 9–8. This result meant that Manchester United ended their pre season tour of the United States without a win.

After returning to England, United played against PSV Eindhoven at Old Trafford on 3 August 2004. A Mikaël Silvestre goal made United 1–0 winners. Two days later, United were also scheduled to play another game at Old Trafford, a game against Urawa Red Diamonds, but it was postponed due to bad weather. A day later, United played their final friendly, an away game with Burnley. Goals from Paul Scholes, Phil Neville, and Chris Eagles secured a 3–1 win.

Date Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
18 July 2004 Cobh Ramblers A 2 – 1 Timm, Cooper 8,000
25 July 2004 Bayern Munich N 0 – 0
(2 – 4p)
28 July 2004 Celtic N 1 – 2 Smith 35' 55,421
31 July 2004 Milan N 1 – 1
(8 – 9p)
Scholes 33' 74,511
3 August 2004 PSV Eindhoven H 1 – 0 Silvestre
5 August 2004 Urawa Red Diamonds H A – A Match abandoned due to bad weather
6 August 2004 Burnley A 3 – 1 Scholes 30', P. Neville 38', Eagles 47' 8,814

FA Community Shield

As winners of the 2003–04 FA Cup, Manchester United played in the 2004 FA Community Shield against Arsenal. United lost 3–1. Jose Antonio Reyes set up Gilberto Silva to tap home the opening goal for the Gunners. Alan Smith lashed in United's equaliser, but within three minutes Reyes drove home a fierce left-foot shot to restore Arsenal's lead. Ashley Cole's cross deflected in off Mikaël Silvestre for Arsenal's winning third goal.

Date Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
8 August 2004 Arsenal N 1 – 3 Smith 55' 63,317

FA Premier League

Manchester United opened their 2004–05 FA Premier League campaign with an away game against Chelsea on 15 August 2004. United lost 1–0 through an Eiður Guðjohnsen goal in the 14th minute. The Icelandic striker took advantage of a weak challenge by United goalkeeper Tim Howard to scramble home the winner after 14 minutes. It was harsh on Alex Ferguson's depleted side, who enjoyed the majority of possession but could not cash in. Summer signing Alan Smith headed wide from a good chance and Ryan Giggs missed a similar opportunity with 10 minutes left as Chelsea hung on. This result left United hanging just above the relegation zone in 17th place.

United got their first win of the season with a 2–1 win against Norwich City at Old Trafford. Alan Smith scored the winner in the 49th minute on his home debut for the Red Devils with a volley that added to David Bellion's close-range finish in the 32nd minute that was set up by Smith. Norwich substitute Paul McVeigh pulled a goal back late on when he shot home from 18 yards out but United held on.

After a 1–1 draw against Blackburn Rovers, which saw Smith score a last-minute equaliser, United's next game was a home game against Everton. United hit the post three times in the match. Cristiano Ronaldo hit the upright with a fizzing drive, as did Smith with a similar effort, and Paul Scholes also saw a shot come back off the post. But United were lucky not to concede a penalty when Mikaël Silvestre blatantly used his arm to clear the ball from a lurking Duncan Ferguson. In the first half, Louis Saha missed a great chance when he headed wide. It was the only clear-cut opportunity of the opening 45 minutes, with United lacking the cohesion to break down an Everton side content to sit deep and defend.

A third successive draw occurred for United, as they drew 2–2 with Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium. United got an equaliser in injury time through David Bellion, with the ball appearing to come off his arm. Before Bellion's dramatic equaliser, United seemed set to lose after a mix-up between Tim Howard and Mikaël Silvestre allowed Les Ferdinand to net. Ferdinand's goal came after Kevin Nolan had equalised for Bolton, heading home after his initial shot was blocked. Gabriel Heinze gave United a first-half lead on his debut, but it was not the perfect start he may have expected. This result left United in 11th place.

On 20 September, United moved up three places in the FA Premier League table to 8th after a 2–1 home win against their rivals, Liverpool. After Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post early on, Mikaël Silvestre gave United the lead, ghosting in at the far post to head home Ryan Giggs' free kick. Liverpool drew level soon after the break when Steve Finnan's header was inadvertently turned in by fellow Irishman John O'Shea. But another header from Silvestre secured 3 points for United, as the Frenchman powered a header past Jerzy Dudek to complete his brace and give United the win.

Five days later, United travelled to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham Hotspur. Ruud van Nistelrooy's penalty three minutes before the interval ensured the Red Devils won consecutive FA Premier League matches for the first time in the 2004–05 season, went up to 5th in the table, and ended Spurs' unbeaten run. van Nistelrooy, who had a goal ruled out for offside, converted after Erik Edman had fouled John O'Shea. Robbie Keane made a superb block to deny Mikaël Silvestre, and Paul Robinson saved a David Bellion header as United pushed for a second.

After a 1–1 home draw with Middlesbrough, United went up to 4th place in the FA Premiership table, the first time they had been in the top four in the 2004–05 season. But United went down two places to 6th after a 0–0 draw away to Birmingham City. It was a well-deserved point for Brum. Steve Bruce's side had chances to win, with United goalkeeper Roy Carroll denying Emile Heskey with his legs either side of the interval. United, with Wayne Rooney on the bench, rarely troubled Birmingham, but Ruud van Nistelrooy missed the game's best opportunity after 36 minutes. He side-footed straight at goalkeeper Maik Taylor from only six yards as he raced on to Quinton Fortune's cross.

United's next game was a home game against Arsenal. United won 2–0. The match, played on 24 October 2004, is known as the Battle of the Buffet, and it ended Arsenal 49-match unbeaten run. Ruud van Nistelrooy got the opener when he stroked in a contentious penalty after Sol Campbell's challenge on Wayne Rooney. Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry had Arsenal's best chances but they were denied by good saves from United keeper Roy Carroll. Rooney slotted in from six yards to complete victory on his 19th birthday. The win helped United reduce the gap on Premiership leaders Arsenal to eight points. It also helped Van Nistelrooy avenge the taunts from Arsenal players after he missed a last-minute spot-kick in the corresponding fixture last season. United went up to 5th with this win.

United travelled to Fratton Park to face Portsmouth in their next game. It was a shock 2–0 win for Pompey. United paid the price for failing to convert any of their many chances. United had laid siege to the home side's goal early on but Pompey survived and hit back after the break. David Unsworth put them ahead from the spot after Rio Ferdinand tugged back Ricardo Fuller in the area. Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post with a header as United piled on the pressure but Yakubu finished them off when his shot deflected in off Mikaël Silvestre. It was Pompey's second successive Premiership victory over United at Fratton Park - but it looked unlikely in the early stages.

Manchester United played at home to their rivals Manchester City on 7 November 2004. The game ended 0–0. United were shut out for the second successive Premiership game by a resolute and determined City side, who offered little of an attacking threat. City survived some erratic handling from David James, while Louis Saha scorned United's best chance, heading wide from six yards. United's Alan Smith was sent off for a second bookable offence.

United travelled to St James' Park to face Newcastle United in their next FA Premier League game. Alan Shearer and Patrick Kluivert went close for Newcastle before Wayne Rooney volleyed home Darren Fletcher's cross. Shearer eventually levelled the scores with a superb individual goal after dispossessing Wes Brown. But Ruud van Nistelrooy scored from the spot after Shay Given fouled Paul Scholes and then Rooney slotted home from close range to seal victory. The result left United in seventh place, nine points behind Arsenal and eleven behind Chelsea.

Following a 2–0 win over Charlton Athletic, in which veterans Giggs and Scholes scored, United travelled to The Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion on 27 November. The Baggies began confidently, but were rocked by first-half injuries to Darren Moore and Cosmin Contra, forcing Bryan Robson into a double change. United broke through on 53 minutes when Scholes latched onto Giggs' back-heel and lashed home a fierce shot. Ruud van Nistelrooy's close-range header made it 2-0, before Scholes nodded in a third.

A week after the win at The Hawthorns, United welcomed Southampton to Old Trafford. United laboured to break down a stubborn Southampton defence in a goalless first half. But Paul Scholes ended the resistance by heading home from close range early in the second half. Wayne Rooney then finished emphatically from Ryan Giggs' pass before Cristiano Ronaldo volleyed the third. With the win over the Saints, United got a fourth consecutive victory in the FA Premier League.

After a 1–1 draw against Fulham, next up against United were Crystal Palace, who travelled to Old Trafford to face United on 18 December 2004. Wayne Rooney missed a penalty for United but Paul Scholes fired in an angled shot to put them ahead. Danny Granville poked in an effort to equalise before United's Alan Smith and rival Joonas Kolkka traded headers to leave the match poised at 2-2. But Emmerson Boyce's own goal, a skilful Scholes strike and John O'Shea's shot rounded off the win.

United faced Bolton Wanderers at home in their next game, played on Boxing Day. United won 2–0. Ryan Giggs scored after just 10 minutes showing exemplary technique to steer the ball into the corner of the net. United struggled to build on the platform of their early goal, Paul Scholes making the game safe with a low shot. If Bolton were able to disrupt United's attacking rhythm for long periods, they proved less successful in troubling Roy Carroll, who had to make just one save.

Manchester United ended 2004 with a 1–0 away win over Aston Villa on 28 December. Ryan Giggs' left-foot strike in the 41st minute was enough to separate the teams after an entertaining encounter. Giggs had already forced a great save from Thomas Sørensen before his goal, although at the other end, Lee Hendrie and Liam Ridgewell saw shots saved. Villa pressed after the break and Gareth Barry came close, but Alan Smith hit the bar in the final minute.

United opened 2005 with a 2–0 away win over Middlesbrough on New Year's Day. Darren Fletcher slid the ball in after nine minutes when Mark Schwarzer was only able to parry a cross from Ryan Giggs. Before the goal, Cristiano Ronaldo had drawn an instinctive save from the Boro keeper as well as hitting the woodwork. Late on Giggs wrapped up the points when he pounced on Eric Djemba-Djemba's pass, got in front of Gareth Southgate, before poking the ball past Schwarzer.

On 4 January, United hosted Tottenham Hotspur in a goalless draw. Minutes before the final whistle, Spurs should have taken the lead after Pedro Mendes' effort from the halfway line was spilled into the goal by an out-of-position Roy Carroll. He pushed the ball out, but only after it had crossed the line; however, the officials were unable to tell whether a goal had been scored and allowed play to continue. United then almost won in the dying seconds as a Gabriel Heinze free-kick was brilliantly saved by Paul Robinson. Earlier, Spurs' Noé Pamarot almost gifted United a goal, sending an attempted clearance against the post.

Eleven days after the match with Spurs, Manchester United travelled to Anfield to face their rivals Liverpool. United won 1–0, thanks to Wayne Rooney's 21st minute goal. Jerzy Dudek allowed Rooney's tame 25-yard shot to slide in to gift the former Everton striker a goal in front of The Kop. United deserved their victory, despite having Wes Brown sent off for two bookable offences after 64 minutes. Roy Keane hit the bar, while Fernando Morientes had a quiet debut.

After a 3–1 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford, United travelled to Highbury to face Arsenal on 1 February. United won 4–2. Patrick Vieira headed Arsenal ahead from a corner before Ryan Giggs levelled with a deflected shot. Dennis Bergkamp restored Arsenal's lead before two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and a John O'Shea chip ended the Gunners' long unbeaten home record. Mikaël Silvestre was sent off in a fiery game - with Vieira and Roy Keane pulled apart beforehand in the tunnel. The win pushed United up to 2nd in the FA Premier League table, their highest position in the 2004–05 season so far.

Manchester United stayed second in the FA Premiership table with a 2–0 home win over Birmingham City. United began promisingly, with Cristiano Ronaldo's free-kick saved by Maik Taylor and Ryan Giggs firing wide. Walter Pandiani struck the bar with a ferocious volley as the visitors threatened, while Ronaldo's mis-hit cross also came back off the upright. United captain Roy Keane took advantage of poor defending to put United ahead (his 50th goal for the Red Devils), before Wayne Rooney coolly chipped in to seal the victory.

For their next game, United travelled crosstown to face rivals Manchester City on 13 February. Wayne Rooney met Gary Neville's cross to the near post with a low shot, which went in via a deflection off Richard Dunne, to put United ahead. Seven minutes later, the unfortunate Dunne hooked a volley over David James' head and into his own net. Steve McManaman wasted City's best chance when he shot wide from three yards in the first half.

Following a 2–0 home win over Portsmouth, with Wayne Rooney scoring a brace, United travelled to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace in the next game, played on 5 March. The ten-man Eagles held the Red Devils to a goalless draw. Vassilis Lakis was sent off for two bookable offences after 63 minutes, but a lacklustre United failed to carve out a winner at Selhurst Park. Palace keeper Gábor Király saved well from Ruud van Nistelrooy either side of the interval, and the Dutchman also wasted two great chances late on. Substitute Rooney was also denied by Király as Palace somehow held on.

After a 1–0 home victory over Fulham, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring the only goal in the 21st minute, Manchester United hosted Blackburn Rovers on 2 April. The game ended as a 0–0 draw, with United's hopes of catching Premiership leaders Chelsea virtually disappearing in a frustrating stalemate. Wayne Rooney and Roy Keane hit the post in the first half as United dominated. Rooney and Mikaël Silvestre, who had a header cleared off the line by Morten Gamst Pedersen, also brought fine saves from Blackburn keeper Brad Friedel. Paul Scholes also missed a glorious chance for United, while Blackburn rarely threatened, with Pedersen heading their best chance wide.

On 9 April, Manchester United travelled to Carrow Road to face Norwich City. The game ended as a 2–0 win for the Canaries. The game almost certainly ended United's slim title hopes, and kept Norwich's FA Premiership survival hopes alive. Dean Ashton headed Norwich ahead from David Bentley's free-kick and crossed for Leon McKenzie to volley home. Craig Fleming and Jason Shackell were outstanding in a Canaries defence that thwarted United's subdued strikeforce. The closest the Red Devils came was when Wayne Rooney saw his injury-time shot tipped over by Norwich keeper Robert Green.

On 20 April, United travelled to Goodison Park to face Everton. United lost 1–0. Duncan Ferguson, who scored Everton's winner in their last league victory over United in 1995, headed home after 54 minutes to sink United. Alex Ferguson's men ended the game in shame as Gary Neville and Paul Scholes were sent off after the break. Neville saw red for kicking the ball at a spectator and Scholes for two fouls.

Four days after the loss at Everton, Manchester United hosted Newcastle United. The Red Devils won 2–1. Newcastle took a surprise first-half lead when Darren Ambrose pounced on Tim Howard's poor clearance. Wayne Rooney equalised in the 57th minute with a superb volley hit with the outside of his right foot, drawing gasps from the Old Trafford crowd. With time running out, Wes Brown's winner provided another surprise - it was his first goal in 117 league games. The win allowed Manchester United to close the gap on Arsenal to a point, though Arsène Wenger's side had a game in hand.

For their next game, Manchester United travelled to The Valley to face Charlton Athletic. United won 4–0. Debutant keeper Stephan Andersen made a wonder save to deny Alan Smith, but the Dane then spilled a Wayne Rooney shot, allowing Paul Scholes to fire home. Scholes set up the second, passing to Darren Fletcher who side-footed home. Talal El Karkouri's mistake allowed Smith to add a third, with a Rooney flick sealing a fine win, while late on Charlton's Chris Perry was sent off.

United hosted West Bromwich Albion in their next game, played on 7 May 2005. The game ended 1–l. Ryan Giggs put United ahead with a free-kick after 20 minutes, fired past injured keeper Russell Hoult. Hoult, who suffered a groin injury, was replaced by Tomasz Kuszczak, who made a string of outstanding saves. The Baggies levelled after 61 minutes from Rob Earnshaw's penalty after John O'Shea fouled Geoff Horsfield.

For their next game, United hosted Chelsea. The game was played on 10 May 2005, and United lost 3–1. Ruud Van Nistelrooy's superb finish from close-range gave United an early lead, though thereafter the home side struggled to break down Chelsea. Tiago produced a wonderful equaliser, surprising Roy Carroll with an arcing shot, while his pass set up Eiður Guðjohnsen, who dinked in the second. Joe Cole added to United's misery, converting a Frank Lampard cross. The win put Chelsea on 94 points with one match to go of their 38-game season, surpassing Manchester United's record total of 92 in 1993–94, which was a 42-game campaign.

On 15 May 2005, United travelled to the South Coast to face Southampton for their final 2004–05 FA Premier League game. United won 2–1, ending Southampton's 27-year stay in the top-flight. Saints had started so well, a Graeme Le Saux corner bundled in via the thigh of Manchester United defender John O'Shea. But United responded quickly and O'Shea crossed for Darren Fletcher to head in. Ruud van Nistelrooy pounced to nod home an Alan Smith cross to put United ahead and results elsewhere ensured the Saints finished bottom of the division. The game also meant United finished in third for the second season running.

Date Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance League
15 August 2004 Chelsea A 0 – 1 41,813 17th
21 August 2004 Norwich City H 2 – 1 Bellion 32', Smith 50' 67,812 8th
28 August 2004 Blackburn Rovers A 1 – 1 Smith 90' 26,155 11th
30 August 2004 Everton H 0 – 0 67,803 9th
11 September 2004 Bolton Wanderers A 2 – 2 Heinze 44', Bellion 90' 27,766 11th
20 September 2004 Liverpool H 2 – 1 Silvestre (2) 20', 66' 67,857 8th
25 September 2004 Tottenham Hotspur A 1 – 0 Van Nistelrooy 42' (pen.) 36,103 5th
3 October 2004 Middlesbrough H 1 – 1 Smith 81' 67,988 4th
16 October 2004 Birmingham City A 0 – 0 29,221 6th
24 October 2004 Arsenal H 2 – 0 Van Nistelrooy 73' (pen.), Rooney 90' 67,862 5th
30 October 2004 Portsmouth A 0 – 2 20,190 7th
7 November 2004 Manchester City H 0 – 0 67,863 7th
14 November 2004 Newcastle United A 3 – 1 Rooney (2) 7', 90', Van Nistelrooy 74' (pen.) 52,320 7th
20 November 2004 Charlton Athletic H 2 – 0 Giggs 41', Scholes 50' 67,704 6th
27 November 2004 West Bromwich Albion A 3 – 0 Scholes (2) 53', 82', Van Nistelrooy 72' 27,709 4th
4 December 2004 Southampton H 3 – 0 Scholes 53', Rooney 58', Ronaldo 87' 67,921 4th
13 December 2004 Fulham A 1 – 1 Smith 33' 21,940 4th
18 December 2004 Crystal Palace H 5 – 2 Scholes (2) 22', 49', Smith 35', Boyce 48' (o.g.), O'Shea 90' 67,814 4th
26 December 2004 Bolton Wanderers H 2 – 0 Giggs 10', Scholes 89' 67,867 4th
28 December 2004 Aston Villa A 1 – 0 Giggs 41' 42,593 3rd
1 January 2005 Middlesbrough A 2 – 0 Fletcher 9', Giggs 79' 34,199 3rd
4 January 2005 Tottenham Hotspur H 0 – 0 67,962 3rd
15 January 2005 Liverpool A 1 – 0 Rooney 21' 44,183 3rd
22 January 2005 Aston Villa H 3 – 1 Ronaldo 8', Saha 69', Scholes 70' 67,589 3rd
1 February 2005 Arsenal A 4 – 2 Giggs 18', Ronaldo (2) 54', 58', O'Shea 89' 38,164 2nd
5 February 2005 Birmingham City H 2 – 0 Keane 55', Rooney 78' 67,838 2nd
13 February 2005 Manchester City A 2 – 0 Rooney 68', Dunne 75' (o.g.) 47,111 2nd
26 February 2005 Portsmouth H 2 – 1 Rooney (2) 8', 81' 67,989 2nd
5 March 2005 Crystal Palace A 0 – 0 26,021 2nd
19 March 2005 Fulham H 1 – 0 Ronaldo 21' 67,959 2nd
2 April 2005 Blackburn Rovers H 0 – 0 67,939 3rd
9 April 2005 Norwich City A 0 – 2 25,522 3rd
20 April 2005 Everton A 0 – 1 37,160 3rd
24 April 2005 Newcastle United H 2 – 1 Rooney 57', Brown 75' 67,845 3rd
1 May 2005 Charlton Athletic A 4 – 0 Scholes 34', Fletcher 44', Smith 62', Rooney 67' 26,789 3rd
7 May 2005 West Bromwich Albion H 1 – 1 Giggs 21' 67,827 3rd
10 May 2005 Chelsea H 1 – 3 Van Nistelrooy 7' 67,832 3rd
15 May 2005 Southampton A 2 – 1 Fletcher 19', Van Nistelrooy 63' 32,066 3rd
Pos Club Pld W D L F A GD Pts
2 Arsenal 38 25 8 5 87 36 +51 83
3 Manchester United 38 22 11 5 58 26 +32 77
4 Everton 38 18 7 13 45 46 −1 61

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

FA Cup

The draw for the Third Round of the 2004–05 FA Cup took place on 9 December 2005, and Manchester United were given a home tie with Conference National side Exeter City. The game, played on 8 January 2005, ended 0–0, with Exeter producing a magnificent rearguard action to earn a deserved draw. United fielded a weakened side, but Conference Exeter matched the FA Cup holders to set up a lucrative replay. Exeter's former United apprentice Andy Taylor tested goalkeeper Tim Howard and fired a free-kick narrowly off target. United threatened after the break, with substitute Paul Scholes firing only inches wide deep into injury time.

For the replay, played on 19 January, United travelled to the south coast to face Exeter in the replay. United won 2–0 to spare their blushes, end brave Exeter's resistance, and set up a home tie against Middlesbrough in the Fourth Round. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the opener, slipping the ball between Paul Jones' legs after just nine minutes. United wasted a host of chances to make it safe as Jones made some great saves, but Wayne Rooney put the tie beyond doubt late on with a cool finish. Exeter had chances of their own, Sean Devine twice volleying wide and Andy Taylor forcing Tim Howard to save.

Manchester United marched into the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 3–0 win against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on 29 January. John O'Shea put the defending champions in front after 10 minutes from close range. Wayne Rooney then brilliantly lobbed Mark Schwarzer from fully 40 yards after 67 minutes to double United's lead, before firing home a stunning volley with nine minutes left. Boro's best chance came after 31 minutes, but Roy Carroll dived to save well at the feet of Boudewijn Zenden from only eight yards.

In the Fifth Round of the FA Cup, Manchester United were paired with fellow FA Premier League side Everton. The game, played on 19 February 2005 at Goodison Park, ended as a 2–0 win for the Red Devils. The game saw Wayne Rooney start for United against his boyhood club. Rooney received a hostile reception, but goals in each half from Quinton Fortune and Cristiano Ronaldo silenced the jeers at Goodison Park. Fortune headed home after 23 minutes before Ronaldo scored when Nigel Martyn parried Paul Scholes' free-kick. Marcus Bent missed Everton's best chance when Roy Carroll, who was later struck by a missile, saved at his feet.

Manchester United marched into the semi-finals of the FA Cup with a 4–0 away win against Southampton. Roy Keane put holders United on course for victory over Southampton after two minutes, and goals either side of the interval confirmed their supremacy. Cristiano Ronaldo took advantage of good work by Wayne Rooney to score the second in first-half injury time. Paul Scholes added a third from 12 yards in the 47th minute, then headed home four minutes from time.

Manchester United booked a place in the FA Cup Final for the second season running with a 4–1 semi-final win against fellow FA Premier League side Newcastle United at the Millennium Stadium. Ruud van Nistelrooy's flicked finish put Alex Ferguson's side ahead. A near-post Paul Scholes header doubled the lead just before half-time and van Nistelrooy's sidefoot shot confirmed the Red Devils' dominance. Shola Ameobi steered in an effort for Newcastle but Cristiano Ronaldo's shot ended their faint hopes of a comeback.

In the FA Cup Final, played on 21 May 2005 at the Millennium Stadium, Manchester United faced Arsenal. The game ended 0–0. Arsenal won the first ever penalty shootout in an FA Cup Final 5–4 after United's Paul Scholes saw his spot-kick saved by Arsenal 'keeper Jens Lehmann. United controlled almost the entire match, but were left empty-handed after Wayne Rooney hit the post and Freddie Ljungberg deflected Ruud van Nistelrooy's header on to the bar. José Antonio Reyes was sent off before Patrick Vieira's deciding penalty. Scholes' penalty miss meant that Arsenal lifted the FA Cup, and also meant that United finished the 2004–05 season trophyless, their first trophyless season since 2001–02.

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
8 January 2005 Round 3 Exeter City H 0 – 0 67,551
19 January 2005 Round 3
Exeter City A 2 – 0 Ronaldo 9', Rooney 87' 9,033
29 January 2005 Round 4 Middlesbrough H 3 – 0 O'Shea 10', Rooney (2) 67', 82' 67,251
19 February 2005 Round 5 Everton A 2 – 0 Fortune 23', Ronaldo 58' 38,664
12 March 2005 Round 6 Southampton A 4 – 0 Keane 2', Ronaldo 45', Scholes (2) 48', 87' 30,971
17 April 2005 Semi-final Newcastle United N 4 – 1 Van Nistelrooy (2) 19', 58', Scholes 45', Ronaldo 76' 69,280
21 May 2005 Final Arsenal N 0 – 0 (a.e.t.)
(4 – 5p)

Carling Cup

As an FA Premier League club who was competing in European competition for the 2004–05 season, Manchester United entered the 2004–05 Football League Cup in the third round, were they were given an away tie with Championship side Crewe Alexandra. The game took place on 26 October 2004.

United won 3–0. Alex Ferguson made wholesale changes from the side that beat Arsenal on 24 October and Alan Smith took just 10 minutes to coolly slot the visitors in front. Crewe had chances of their own, with Dean Ashton and Steve Jones testing United goalkeeper Tim Howard. But Liam Miller converted David Bellion's pass, Stephen Foster put the ball into his own net and United easily held on to ease into the next round.

The draw for the Fourth Round of the 2004–05 Football League Cup gave Manchester United a home tie with fellow FA Premier League club Crystal Palace. The game took place on 10 November 2004, and United won 2–0. Louis Saha opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, his first goal in the 2004–05 season. Saha took two Palace defenders out of the game when he chested down Quinton Fortune's cross before drilling home a low near-post drive. Kieran Richardson netted his second senior goal to double United's lead seven minutes before the interval. However Richardson enjoyed an element of luck, Palace keeper Julián Speroni letting the shot bounce under his body.

The draw for the Fifth Round of the 2004–05 Football League Cup gave Manchester United a home tie with fellow FA Premier League club and rivals Arsenal. The game took place on 1 December 2004, and United wojn 1–0, thanks to David Bellion's very early strike. A terrible blunder by Gunners keeper Manuel Almunia saw Bellion's weak shot squirm in after a Johan Djourou slip had gifted possession to Bellion. The home side's greater experience was crucial and Kieran Richardson and Chris Eagles went close in the first half. Arsenal's best chance saw Tim Howard beat out Jermaine Pennant's free-kick.

The draw for the Semi-Finals of the 2004–05 Football League Cup gave Manchester United a tie with fellow FA Premier League side Chelsea. The first leg took place at Stamford Bridge on 12 January 2005, while the second leg at Old Trafford was played two weeks later.

The first leg ended as a dull goalless draw. Blues midfielder Frank Lampard twice came close, seeing a header flash wide and having a shot cleared off the line by United's Gabriel Heinze. But the Red Devils will feel aggrieved they were not given a first-half penalty after Louis Saha went tumbling. After the break, Tim Howard saved from Jiří Jarošík, while Carlo Cudicini pushed away Wayne Rooney's header. The Chelsea fashioned the better chances, but were unable to break down an excellent visitors' defence.

The second leg ended as a 2–1 defeat for United, knocking the Reds out of the Carling Cup. Frank Lampard gave Chelsea the lead with a powerful angled shot before United's Quinton Fortune had a penalty appeal turned down. Ryan Giggs superbly chipped in to give the Red Devils hope, but Damien Duff's 50-yard free-kick, intended as a cross, broke United's hearts and sent Chelsea through to the final.

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
26 October 2004 Round 3 Crewe Alexandra A 3 – 0 Smith 10', Miller 57', Foster 59' (o.g.) 10,103
10 November 2004 Round 4 Crystal Palace H 2 – 0 Saha 22', Richardson 39' 48,891
1 December 2004 Quarter-final Arsenal H 1 – 0 Bellion 1' 67,103
12 January 2005 Semi-final
First leg
Chelsea A 0 – 0 41,492
26 January 2005 Semi-final
Second leg
Chelsea H 1 – 2 Giggs 67' 67,000

Champions League

Qualifying stage

As they had finished 3rd in the FA Premier League the previous season, Manchester United entered the 2004–05 UEFA Champions League in the Third qualifying round. They were paired with Romanian side Dinamo Bucureşti. The first leg in Romania took place on 11 August 2004, with the second leg at Old Trafford being played a fortnight later.

In the first leg, United overcame an early scare to win 2–1. United fell behind in the 10th minute through a Quinton Fortune own goal. Just before the interval United drew level after Ryan Giggs rounded Vladimir Gaev and slid the ball into the net. United were more cohesive after the break, Alan Smith hitting the post before Angelo Alistar scored an own goal after Liam Miller had crossed.

The second leg was a more emphatic win for United, winning 3–0. Alan Smith put United ahead from close range after 47 minutes. He struck another fine finish three minutes later. Substitute David Bellion took advantage of slack defending to seal a multi-million cash jackpot for United. The result sealed a 5–1 aggregate win for United, and earned them a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
11 August 2004 Third qualifying round
First leg
Dinamo Bucureşti A 2 – 1 Giggs 38', Alistar 72' (o.g.) 58,000
25 August 2004 Third qualifying round
Second leg
Dinamo Bucureşti H 3 – 0 Smith (2) 47', 50', Bellion 70' 61,041

Group stage

Date Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance Group
15 September 2004 Lyon A 2 – 2 Van Nistelrooy (2) 56', 61' 40,000 3rd
28 September 2004 Fenerbahçe H 6 – 2 Giggs 7', Rooney (3) 17', 28', 54', Van Nistelrooy 78', Bellion 81' 67,128 1st
19 October 2004 Sparta Prague A 0 – 0 20,654 2nd
3 November 2004 Sparta Prague H 4 – 1 Van Nistelrooy (4) 14', 25' (pen.), 60', 90' 66,706 2nd
23 November 2004 Lyon H 2 – 1 G. Neville 19', Van Nistelrooy 53' 66,398 1st
8 December 2004 Fenerbahçe A 0 – 3 35,000 2nd
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
France Lyon 6 4 1 1 17 8 +9 13
England Manchester United 6 3 2 1 14 9 +5 11
Turkey Fenerbahçe 6 3 0 3 10 13 −3 9
Czech Republic Sparta Prague 6 0 1 5 2 13 −11 1

Knock-out stage

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
23 February 2005 First knockout round
First leg
Milan H 0 – 1 67,162
8 March 2005 First knockout round
Second leg
Milan A 0 – 1 78,957

Squad statistics

No. Pos. Name League FA Cup Carling Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1 GK United States Tim Howard 12 0 4 0 5 0 5 0 1 0 27 0
2 DF England Gary Neville 22 0 4 0 1 0 7 1 1 0 35 1
3 DF England Phil Neville 12(7) 0 4(1) 0 3 0 1(5) 0 0(1) 0 20(14) 0
4 DF Argentina Gabriel Heinze 26 1 4 0 2 0 7 0 0 0 39 1
5 DF England Rio Ferdinand 31 0 5 0 1 0 5 0 0 0 42 0
6 DF England Wes Brown 18(3) 1 6 0 3 0 6(1) 0 0 0 33(4) 1
7 MF Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo 25(8) 5 6(1) 4 2 0 7(1) 0 0 0 40(10) 9
8 FW England Wayne Rooney 24(5) 11 6 3 1(1) 0 6 3 0 0 37(6) 17
9 FW France Louis Saha 7(7) 1 0(2) 0 4 1 0(2) 0 0 0 11(11) 2
10 FW Netherlands Ruud van Nistelrooy 16(1) 6 3 2 0 0 6(1) 8 0 0 25(2) 16
11 MF Wales Ryan Giggs 26(6) 6 2(2) 0 1 1 6 2 1 0 36(8) 9
12 FW France David Bellion 1(9) 2 1 0 3 1 2(1) 2 1 0 8(10) 5
13 GK Northern Ireland Roy Carroll 26 0 3 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 34 0
14 FW England Alan Smith 22(9) 6 0(3) 0 1(1) 1 3(2) 2 1 1 27(15) 10
15 MF Brazil Kléberson 6(2) 0 0 0 3 0 2(1) 0 0 0 11(3) 0
16 MF Republic of Ireland Roy Keane (c) 28(3) 1 4 1 1 0 6 0 1 0 40(3) 2
17 MF Republic of Ireland Liam Miller 3(5) 0 2(2) 0 2 1 3(2) 0 0 0 10(9) 1
18 MF England Paul Scholes 29(4) 9 5(1) 3 1(1) 0 7 0 1 0 43(6) 12
19 MF Cameroon Eric Djemba-Djemba 3(2) 0 2 0 4 0 5 0 1 0 15(2) 0
20 FW Norway Ole Gunnar Solskjær 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
21 FW Uruguay Diego Forlán 0(1) 0 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0 0(1) 0 0(3) 0
22 DF Republic of Ireland John O'Shea 16(7) 2 3(1) 1 4 0 5 0 1 0 29(8) 3
23 MF England Kieran Richardson 0(2) 0 1 0 3 1 1(1) 0 0(1) 0 5(4) 1
24 MF Scotland Darren Fletcher 18 3 1(2) 0 3 0 3(2) 0 0(1) 0 25(5) 3
25 MF South Africa Quinton Fortune 12(5) 0 5(1) 1 4 0 3(2) 0 1 0 25(8) 1
27 DF France Mikaël Silvestre 33(2) 2 2(2) 0 2 0 7(1) 0 1 0 45(5) 2
28 DF Spain Gerard Piqué 0 0 1 0 0(1) 0 0(1) 0 0 0 1(2) 0
29 DF United States Jonathan Spector 2(1) 0 1 0 0(1) 0 1(1) 0 0(1) 0 4(4) 0
31 MF England David Jones 0 0 1 0 0(1) 0 0 0 0 0 1(1) 0
33 MF England Chris Eagles 0 0 1 0 1(2) 0 1(1) 0 0(1) 0 3(4) 0
35 GK Spain Ricardo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
40 FW England Sylvan Ebanks-Blake 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0
42 FW Italy Giuseppe Rossi 0 0 0 0 0(2) 0 0 0 0 0 0(2) 0


United's first departure of the 2004–05 season was Mark Lynch, who signed for Sunderland on 14 July. Almost a fortnight later, Nicky Butt left United for Newcastle after twelve years. Luke Chadwick was released six days later, while Diego Forlán left United for Villarreal after two unhappy years at Old Trafford.

Coming in were Spanish defender Gerard Piqué, Italian striker Giuseppe Rossi, and English forward Wayne Rooney. Piqué, Rossi and Rooney were United's only arrivals in the whole of the 2004–05 season.

Departing during the winter transfer window were midfielders Bojan Djordjic and Eric Djemba-Djemba who left for Rangers and Aston Villa respectively. On 30 June, United released Northern Irish goalkeeper Roy Carroll, Welsh forward Daniel Nardiello, Spanish goalkeeper Ricardo, and Republic of Ireland defender Paul Tierney.


Date Pos. Name From Fee
1 July 2004 DF Spain Gerard Piqué Spain Barcelona Undisclosed
6 July 2004 FW Italy Giuseppe Rossi Italy Parma Undisclosed
31 August 2004 FW England Wayne Rooney England Everton £27m


Date Pos. Name To Fee
14 July 2004 DF England Mark Lynch England Sunderland Free
27 July 2004 MF England Nicky Butt England Newcastle United £2.5m
2 August 2004 MF England Luke Chadwick Unattached Free
20 August 2004 FW Uruguay Diego Forlán Spain Villarreal Undisclosed
27 December 2004 MF Sweden Bojan Djordjic Scotland Rangers Undisclosed
31 January 2005 MF Cameroon Eric Djemba-Djemba England Aston Villa £1.35m
30 June 2005 GK Northern Ireland Roy Carroll Unattached Free
30 June 2005 FW Wales Daniel Nardiello Unattached Free
30 June 2005 GK Spain Ricardo Unattached Free
30 June 2005 DF Republic of Ireland Paul Tierney Unattached Free
30 June 2005 FW The Gambia Arthur Gómez Unattached Released

Loan out

Date From Date To Position Name To
15 July 2004 31 May 2005 FW England Eddie Johnson England Coventry City
16 July 2004 30 June 2005 FW Wales Daniel Nardiello England Barnsley
29 July 2004 31 May 2005 MF Scotland Michael Stewart Scotland Heart of Midlothian
18 August 2004 30 June 2005 FW United States Kenny Cooper Portugal Academica Coimbra
11 September 2004 31 May 2005 GK England Luke Steele England Coventry City
7 October 2004 7 November 2004 MF England David Fox England Shrewsbury Town
6 December 2004 5 January 2005 FW England Colin Heath England Cambridge United
21 December 2004 7 May 2005 DF Republic of Ireland Paul Tierney England Bradford City
23 December 2004 29 January 2005 DF Republic of Ireland Paul McShane England Walsall
21 January 2005 23 April 2005 MF England Chris Eagles England Watford
28 January 2005 5 March 2005 FW United States Kenny Cooper England Oldham Athletic
29 January 2005 15 May 2005 MF England Kieran Richardson England West Bromwich Albion

See also


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