Arsenal's 107th season of competitive football was the 2004–05 season. The team won the FA Cup at the conclusion of the season, but they were unable to maintain their Premier League crown, finishing second behind Chelsea. Arsenal were eliminated in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League by Bayern Munich. At the end of the season, manager Arsène Wenger announced he would be leaving Arsenal at the end of the season.
Before the start of the season, it was reported that Arsenal had sold over 1 million tickets for 2004–05, a new record for the club. However, this figure does not include any away fans because Arsenal always play home matches at neutral venues.
In addition to the league title, which they lost to Chelsea, Arsenal also won the FA Cup by defeating Leeds United 4-1 in the final. This was their first major trophy since 2001 when they last won the FA Cup. The Gunners' run to the cup final was quite remarkable considering they were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Bayern Munich. In the group stage, Arsenal managed to win only one game and drew two others, but they still made it through as one of the top three teams from Group C along with Manchester United and Juventus. In the next round, they faced Leeds United and came up with a 4-1 victory to reach their second consecutive FA Cup final.
As the 2001-02 season came to a conclusion, Arsenal hit their stride, winning the double for the second time in four years. The title was won in the last game of the season at Old Trafford, when Wenger hailed his team's 1-0 victory as a "transfer of power." "It's tickly now—I call it squeaky-bum time."
Arsenal were one of just three clubs to have won the Premier League by the time of their most recent success in 2004, along with Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers. Since then, Chelsea (five) and Manchester City (four) have surpassed them in terms of Premier League championships (four).
Arsenal holds the record for the most FA Cup victories, having won the cup 14 times. The "season" column refers to the competition's season and wikilinks to the article about that season.
The 2004-05 FA Premier League (also known as the FA Barclays Premiership for sponsorship reasons) began on August 14, 2004 and finished on May 15, 2005. Arsenal were the reigning champions, having gone undefeated the previous season. Chelsea, who had finished second the previous year, were expected to be strong challengers to Arsenal's title bid. However, after winning only one game in their first four attempts at the Champions League, they decided not to participate this season and so Arsenal became the clear favorites.
Arsenal started the season well with five wins and a draw from their opening six games, which included a 4-0 win over Manchester United. But they lost their last two games of the month to Chelsea and Liverpool before recovering by beating Newcastle United 3-1 at home. In the winter transfer window, they signed French striker Olivier Giroud from Montpellier for £14 million ($23.5 million).
Chelsea started the season poorly with only one win in their first four games. But then they won seven out of eight games between February and April to close the gap on Arsenal. However, despite being the favorite, they could only finish second behind Arsenal again. Roberto Di Matteo was brought in as manager but was sacked after only six months in charge due to poor results. His replacement, José Mourinho, immediately turned things around and helped Chelsea regain third place.
Arsenal's 49-match undefeated run in the Premier League came to an end in October 2004 when they were defeated 2-0 by Manchester United. He ended his first season with Arsenal by winning his first award as a member of the starting eleven that defeated Manchester United on penalties in the 2005 FA Cup Final. He scored eight goals during the league campaign and provided four assists.
Fabregas joined Chelsea for £7 million ahead of the 2005-06 season. He became the third player from La Masia to join Chelsea, following Sergio Ramos and David Luiz. During his time at Chelsea, he won two trophies: the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League and the 2013 Footballer of the Year awards. He was also part of the team that lost in the 2014 UEFA Champions League final to Barcelona.
After six successful seasons at Chelsea, during which time he helped the club win three trophies, Fabregas moved to Barcelona for €30 million ($35 million). The transfer was completed on June 3, 2014. He played his first game for his new club on July 13 in a 1-1 draw against Granada.
In his first season with Barcelona, Fabregas helped the club win its first title in five years after finishing first in the league table. He was named in the PFA Team of the Year for 2015-16 and finished his first season with seven goals and five assists in 37 appearances.
Chelsea By the end of January 2004, Arsenal were in contention for all four trophies, but had suffered losses in each of the cup competitions; they were unable to retain the FA Cup, falling out to eventual champions Manchester City. Manchester United were defeated 3-2 by Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League. It was Chelsea's first defeat by Arsenal in a major competition.
The game was tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes of play and went into extra time, where Jose Antonio Reyes scored the winning goal for Arsenal. It was also Reyes's only goal in European competitions during his time with the club. The win sent Chelsea through to the quarterfinals and eliminated Arsenal from competing for any more titles that year.
Arsenal began the 2003-04 season by beating Newcastle United 4-0 at home before losing 1-0 away to Liverpool. However, just like the previous season, when Chelsea won the league title, Arsenal did not disappoint either, finishing second behind Chelsea again. In Europe, Arsenal lost in the quarterfinals of the Champions League to Monaco of France. After three seasons without a trophy, Arsenal finally won the FA Cup in 2004 after defeating Southampton 5-4 on penalties. This is still their only piece of silverware today.
Chelsea started the season by beating AS Monaco 4-3 on penalties after the match ended 2-2 after 120 minutes of play. They then lost 1-0 away to Liverpool before drawing 1-1 at home to Newcastle United.