English FA Cup

April 16, 2005



3 - 0

Blackburn Rovers

English FA Cup

11:15 +00:00, April 16, 2005

Millennium Stadium, Wales

Referee: S Dunn

  • 90'

    Robin Van Persie takes the applause from the Arsenal fans after an explosive introduction. And he deserves the adulation for two top-rate goals

  • 90'

    Arsenal deserve to go through, even if a three-goal win may flatter them slightly. It was hardly a classic, but the Gunners' hopes of a trophy are alive

  • 90'

    Referee Steve Dunn brings the weekend's first semi-final to a close

  • 90'

    Van Persie is in real pain on the deck. As he turned to celebrate his second he ran into the shoulder of Todd running in the opposite direction. It looked nasty - and Van Persie has the bloody lip to prove it

  • 90'

    Another superb finish from Van Persie, again with his left with the first-time shot. Friedel had no chance - what an impact from the sub

  • 90'


  • 90'

    Great work from Pires down the left, he spots Van Persie in space just inside the box...

  • 90'

    A final change for Arsenal as Jose Antonio Reyes is replaced by Jeremie Aliadiere - who was injured here in the Community Shield in August

  • 90'

    Fabregas somehow finds himself with acres of space and only Friedel to beat but again the keeper makes good save. Fabregas looked shocked to have so much space

  • 89'

    It's game over now. Get yourself a brew - of whichever variety you prefer. Pass me the hops and barley while you're at it

  • 88'

    Blackburn break with Emerton. He finds Reid at the back stick - his header is straight into the gloves of Lehmann

  • 87'

    Great play from Van Persie, he did so well to get through and finished with aplomb - taking the shot early and firing past Friedel into the corner of the net

  • 86'


  • 86'

    Vieira finds Van Persie who turns to beat one man and then does well to skip past the challenge of Todd...

  • 86'

    Stead finds Emerton with a good pass down the line - the Australian's cross is poor and intercepted with ease

  • 85'

    Stead's first contribution is to win a corner on the left. Savage delivers but the ref spots an infringement in the box

  • 84'

    A final throw of the dice from Rovers as Dominic Matteo is replaced by a striker in Jon Stead

  • 83'

    Substitution time. Robin van Persie comes on for Dennis Bergkamp

  • 82'

    Free-kick this time on the right flank. Bergkamp curls a cross in to centre, Senderos gets a flick to find Gilberto at the back post - Friedel makes a fine double save to deny the Brazilian. He was offside, anyway

  • 81'

    Corner to Arsenal, Reyes delivers from the right only for Savage to head away at the near post

  • 80'

    Fabregas again shows strength to burst forward from midfield to unleash a shot from inside the D. He scuffs it a bit but still forces fingertips from Friedel - the officials give a goal-kick to Fabregas' amazement

  • 79'

    Todd again does superbly to dispossess Bergkamp inside the area

  • 78'

    In all honesty you cannot see Blackburn mustering a shot on goal let alone a leveller

  • 77'

    Blackburn probe around the edge of the Arsenal box but they're forced all the way back to Friedel

  • 76'

    Fabregas gets control and comes forward. There's no other Arsenal player in an advanced postion so the teenager is forced to keep going before Todd makes a crucial challenge on the edge of the box

  • 75'

    It's getting to the time when Mark Hughes will have to go for broke. You only get one chance...

  • 74'

    Pedersen floats a great ball to the back stick for the run of Nelsen - he cannot get on the end of it but had strayed offside anyway

  • 73'

    Dickov turns Senderos and is held back by the Switzerland internation. Free-kick to Rovers around 35 yards out - they have to produce the goods

  • 72'

    Arsenal break with Pires, Reid gets in with a crunching challenge to win the ball - great tackle this time

  • 72'

    The tackles are flying in now. Someone's going to be off here

  • 71'

    Reyes tries to get onto the through-ball from Pires - good work from Todd to guard it out for a goal-kick

  • 70'

    Savage catches Fabreags on the knee with a terrible high challenge, even if he was going for the ball. Somehow he escapes without a booking

  • 69'

    Dickov wins Blackburn's first corner of the match with time ticking away. Savage will deliver from the right but he only finds a red shirt at the near post

  • 68'

    Emerton chases down a ball with Lehmann, he slides in does catch the German goalkeeper - but he stays down as though a sniper in the stand picked him out. In typical Arsenal style several players rush in to cause a scene - referee Dunn calms it down

  • 67'

    Cole takes the booking count to seven with a needless yellow card. The ball had already crossed the line for a throw and Cole launched it high into the stands.

  • 66'

    Savage is soon in with a foul on Gilberto

  • 65'

    Robbie Savage makes his return from injury to add some steel to the midfield, replacing David Thompson

  • 64'

    Rovers work it to Emerton in that move. He cuts inside and gets off a powerful right-footed drive but it's straight at Lehmann - good play

  • 63'

    Ole! The Rovers fans get their own back by cheering as their men play keep-ball

  • 63'

    Reid goes down in the box under the challenge from Vieira - referee Dunn immediately waves away the appeals

  • 62'

    Pedersen finally gets the ball for Blackburn and promptly loses it. Arsenal had the ball for what seemed like an eternity then

  • 61'

    Ole! The Arsenal fans cheer and their players pass the ball around. It's been a good couple of minutes without Rovers getting a touch now

  • 60'

    Bergkamp's free-kick from the left flank is straight down the throat of Friedel

  • 60'

    It's yellow card time again: Neill is booked for a clear and deliberate trip on Reyes with the player in full flow

  • 59'

    Dickov almost gets the better of Toure, but the Ivory Coast defends stays strong to hold off the challenge and Lehmann collects

  • 58'

    Fabregas finds space for a shot, his first touch is a little heavy which enables Matteo to make the block

  • 57'

    Another word on the attendance: With the difference in capacity of Old Trafford to the Millennium Stadium only a few thousand, why play the game in Wales at lunchtime anyway?

  • 56'

    Fabregas goes into the book just minutes after coming on, the Spaniard late on fellow substitute Emerton

  • 55'

    The sun's just come out for the first time today. It almost feels like summer now

  • 54'

    Arsenal break. Fabregas and Lauren combine to find Gilbero with the snap shot ten yards out, forcing Friedel into a good save diving away to his left

  • 53'

    Here's a fact for you Stat Masters out there: Only Manchester United and Chelsea have kept more clean sheets than Blackburn in the Premiership

  • 52'

    Blackburn will also make a change - more tactical this time. The combative Gary Flitcroft is replaced by the creative Brett Emerton. Pedersen may now play up top in a move to 4-4-2

  • 51'

    It's Freddie Ljungberg who has to come off for Francesc Fabregas - birthday boy Freddie can tuck into that cake he was given this morning. Looks like a groin problem

  • 50'

    Great work by Thompson on the right, he opts to float a cross to Dickov on the penalty spot but he can't direct the header towards goal. Reid was clear on the edge of the box if he's spotted him

  • 49'

    Fabregas is warming up, looks like one of the Arsenal midfielders has a problem. Vieira's been caught a few times and Gilberto, of course, is just back from a long lay-off

  • 48'

    The attendance has been confirmed as 52,077 - almost a third of the stadium is empty

  • 47'

    Rovers look to start well - and they need to

  • 46'

    Reyes and Bergkamp combine to get the second period started

  • 45'

    It was an utterly forgetable game for 35 minutes, but Arsenal stepped up a gear in the last ten minutes of the half. Work to do for Mark Hughes.

  • 45'

    And that's half-time

  • 45'

    Bergkamp stands over it as the wall lines up. He taps it square to Toure for the shot but by the time he's got the shot away Pedersen had rushed out of the wall to make the block

  • 45'

    The free-kick is 30-yards out, a chance for a shot in the dying seconds.

  • 45'

    Now Mokoena goes into the book, Vieira caught late for the umpteenth time. Someone's going off today at this rate

  • 45'

    Mokoena floats the free-kick into the box, Senderos heads clear

  • 45'

    Two minutes to be added on

  • 45'

    Toure is the first Arsenal man to be booked for kicking the ball away after Gilberto tripped Reid

  • 45'

    Blackburn are going to have change their approach now. Maybe they'll leave it until the last 20 minutes before putting two up top - unless they again let a goal in

  • 44'

    Dickov is very late on Senderos. Referee Dunn speaks with his linesman but opts against another booking

  • 43'

    Great control from Toure, he brought the ball down, checked back inside and played a perfect ball across the face of goal for Pires to tap into an empty net. Advantage Arsenal

  • 42'


  • 42'

    The loose ball comes to Pires, who finds Vieira with a neat square ball. Vieira finds Toure unmarked at the back with a dinked ball...

  • 41'

    Bergkamp floats in the free-kick, Friedel punches away

  • 40'

    Reyes almost gets past Thompson down the right flank but his run is blocked by the Rovers man. You mark my words, that would have been a booking if Thompson had not already been on a yellow

  • 39'

    Arsenal look to have a bit of confidence from that action, they'll look to push on before the break

  • 38'

    The loose ball runs to Pires and it's Pedersen who's back to block the follow up effort. Great chances, great goalkeeping, great defending

  • 37'

    Bergkamps feeds in the overlapping Reyes and it's a great chance - Reyes looks to go across the goalkeeper but Friedel makes a superb one-handed save to push it out

  • 36'

    Bergkamp looks for Reyes through the centre, he controls with his chest and then goes down in a heap under the challenge from Todd. The fans appeal for a spot-kick but it's not happening

  • 35'

    In contrast, Blackburn are then struggling to break with just the one man upfield in Dickov. Stalemate describes this game perfectly.

  • 34'

    When Arsenal do get to the final third they are met by a banks of five and a back of four and it's very hard to find a way through

  • 33'

    Are Arsenal missing Henry? Of course - how could they not?

  • 32'

    Vieira looks for Cole with a cross-field ball and it goes hopelessly out of play for a Rovers throw

  • 31'

    You have to give Blackburn credit, they're stopping Arsenal from playing and forcing the mistakes. Surely they don't plan to do this for 120 minutes? PLEASE!

  • 30'

    Another yellow card for Rovers, again for a foul on Vieira courtesy of a hack by Thompson

  • 29'

    Arsenal get a break, Reyes gets it on the right and cuts inside for the shot on his left - easy for Friedel. And that, my good friends, is Arsenal's first shot of any kind with nearly half an hour gone

  • 28'

    I really wish I could tell you something about the game. But right now there's nothing to tell. I refer you back to the 26th minute

  • 27'

    Someone's got one of those air horns in the crowd. It's like being back in 1989 again. I want to see a blow up banana - then I'll be content

  • 26'

    Pass - Pass - Pass - Pass - Pass - Misplaced Pass. And repeat.

  • 25'

    This game is enough to turn you to a wee dram. Goal-mouth action at the premium of premiums

  • 24'

    Vieira hobbles off to the sidelines - no stretcher needed so he's be back at the invitation of Mr Dunn

  • 23'

    Vieira's still down and getting treatment

  • 22'

    Flitcroft catched Vieira with a high challenge and that, coupled with his other fouls in the first quarter, earns him a yellow card

  • 21'

    I can sense extra-time and penalties already. A fate worse than death. Almost.

  • 20'

    Flitcroft finds Dickov in the clear with a lovely ball - but Dickov's control is woeful and it allows Cole to get back and make the challenge. That was a decent opening

  • 19'

    Reyes takes from the right, it's easy for Nelsen to head away unchallenged

  • 18'

    Vieira feeds in Bergkamp down the left, he chips it to the back post and Matteo is forced to head behind for the corner

  • 17'

    Not much happening now, to be honest. Passing and fouling the name of the game. It's a bit early to be doing this...

  • 16'

    It's getting a little bitty now - Dickov trips Lauren

  • 15'

    Pedersen chucks a long thrown into the Arsenal box, Vieira is there first to head clear

  • 14'

    Good work from Gilberto and Bergkamp - the latter fouled by Mokoena just outside the box on the right flank. Bergkamp floats it in and it needs a combination of Matteo and Todd to finally get it away

  • 13'

    Neill trips Pires, there's a bit of afters and Neill looks to flick a boot at the Frenchman. Referee Steve Dunn calms it down and we'er off again

  • 12'

    Rovers playing some great passing stuff here, Arsenal getting a taste of their own medicine in the early stages

  • 11'

    Now Toure is penalised for a strong challenge on Flitcroft, free-kick in centre field

  • 10'

    It's a good start from Rovers. They look confident while Arsenal have struggled to get into the final third of the field

  • 9'

    Another free-kick for Rovers in a dangerous position - Reid hacked down by Vieira. It's to the left of goal 30-yards out again. Pedersen taps it to Reid - Lehmann is comfortable saving low down to his left

  • 8'

    Pedersen looks for Dickov over the top, it's a fine ball but thwe flag is up. On second look Dickov was a good three yards onside - poor decision and the striker would have been in on goal

  • 7'

    Pedersen will be an important figure for Rovers today. He's arguably the Premiership's most improved player over the course of the season and will be vital in dead-ball situations

  • 6'

    No worries for Lehmann as Pedersen's shot keeps on rising as it goes over the bar

  • 5'

    Thompson is caught late by Vieira, free-kick to Rovers around 30-yards out in a central position. Pedersen and Reid stand over it - it's Pedersen

  • 4'

    Thompson tries to find the run of Dickov with a bending ball, Senderos gets a flick with his head to guide it back to Lehmann

  • 3'

    Wide open spaces in the stands for this game. A round of applause for the FA for a midday kick-off in Cardiff. Well done. It'll be worse tomorrow.

  • 2'

    Flitcroft is in early on Bergkamp - Rovers will look to deny Arsenal time on the ball

  • 1'

    It's going to be Rovers to get us started - and we're off


    Blackburn boss Mark Hughes refuses to risk a key member of his squad in Robbie Savage. The midfielder returned from a six-week lay-off with a groin problem with 70 minutes in the reserves on Tuesday, but is forced to settle for a place on the bench, with Hughes naming an unchanged team for his side's first FA Cup semi-final for 45 years.


    Thierry Henry is forced to withdraw yesterday with a groin injury with Dennis Bergkamp coming into the side. Centre-back Sol Campbell is close to full fitness after more than two months out with an ankle injury, but Wenger opts against his inclusion.


    The FA Cup is the only silverware still available to Arsenal. Join us live at 12.15 GMT as Blackburn Rovers look to throw a spanner in the works.