Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger believes that his side didn’t deserve to win the 2005 FA Cup final against Manchester United.
As Arsenal prepare to face Wigan Athletic in the first semi-final of the FA Cup at Wembley tomorrow, Arsene Wenger has looked back on his past triumphs in this competition, the last of which came in the 2005 against Manchester United in a controversial final. It remains Arsenal’s last silverware and as they look to end their long standing trophy drought in this year’s competition, Arsene Wenger believes his side didn’t deserve to win the 2005 FA Cup final and that he had to resort to defensive tactics in order to contain a superior Manchester United side.
“In fact in 2005 we did not deserve to win the final. It [being defensive] was the only way we could win it.
“At the start I didn’t set up like that and suddenly they [Man United] were all over us. I realised that physically we were not able to compete, so I said ‘OK, let’s defend as long as we can’.” – The Arsenal manager said.
Arsenal eventually went on to lift the trophy in the penalty shootout in a fiercely contested final. Arsene Wenger also went on to recall the days when he used to watch this competition in his school and wondered at the glorious pitch, footballers and managers.
“It was a dream when I was a kid to watch the FA Cup. It was one of the competitions you could watch in black and white on television.
“I don’t remember the two teams [in the first final I watched]. What stays in my memory is exactly the place where I sat at school, because we had to pay one franc to watch.
“What struck me at the time was that the ball was white and the pitch was perfect, because I played in a village where the pitch was a disaster. The players had their hair well combed, and the managers were relaxed at that time – they joked together on the bench. That always struck me.” – Wenger added.
Arsenal are favourites on paper to lift this trophies, but Wenger has seen too many upsets in this competition to rest on those notions.
“We all play to win something and if you are in the FA Cup everyone can dream of winning it at the start of the season
“The title – only seven clubs can dream of winning it at the start of the season. But the FA Cup is a dream open to everybody and that is the beauty of the competition.
“Last year Wigan won it, this year you have Sheffield United in the semi-final. In the championship you can talk and talk but we know the biggest teams will win it. That open dream is what makes the FA Cup special in football.
“If you play basketball or rugby – any other sport – you cannot open the dream to anyone other than the top teams. In basketball, if you play against a team from Division Two, there is absolutely no chance unless you give them 30 points. Only our sport can create that excitement because it is uncertain.” – He said.