The win allowed Manchester United to close the gap on Arsenal to a point, though Arsène Wenger's side had a game in hand. United won 2–1, through goals from Mads Timm and Kenny Cooper. Alan Smith joined United on 26 May from Leeds United in exchange for Danny Pugh (see above). Perhaps they were deceived by the impression that a draw was readily achievable. 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. United travelled to St James' Park to face Newcastle United in their next FA Premier League game. 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. The 10-man Eagles held the Red Devils to a goalless draw. On 7 July, forward Danny Webber joined Watford. Norwich substitute Paul McVeigh pulled a goal back late on when he shot home from 18 yards out but United held on. United hosted West Bromwich Albion in their next game, played on 7 May 2005. Ryan Giggs' left-foot strike in the 41st minute was enough to separate the teams after an entertaining encounter. In the semi-finals, United were drawn against another Premier League side Chelsea. Wayne Rooney then finished emphatically from Ryan Giggs' pass before Cristiano Ronaldo volleyed the third. In those prior 49 games they had never even been behind in the closing 20 minutes. Just before the interval United drew level after Ryan Giggs rounded Uladzimir Haew and slid the ball into the net. Palace keeper Gábor Király saved well from Van Nistelrooy either side of the interval, and the Dutchman also wasted two great chances late on. Available for everyone, funded by readers. The result sealed a 5–1 aggregate win for United, and earned them a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage. The game almost certainly ended United's slim title hopes, and kept Norwich's Premier League survival hopes alive. Riley is far from being the only person responsible for that. With the win over the Saints, United got a fourth consecutive victory in the FA Premier League. United were shut out for the second successive Premier League game by a resolute and determined City side, who offered little of an attacking threat. Roy Carroll blocked well when Edu put Thierry Henry through in the 42nd minute, but the finish had none of the verve that the Frenchman normally contributes. United won 1–0, thanks to Wayne Rooney's 21st-minute goal. The result left United in seventh place, nine points behind Arsenal and eleven behind Chelsea. Shola Ameobi steered in an effort for Newcastle but Cristiano Ronaldo's shot ended their faint hopes of a comeback. First-choice goalkeeper Fabien Barthez rejoined Marseille in April, while Danny Pugh joined Leeds United in late May, in exchange for Alan Smith. Sol Campbell may not have made contact at all and the forward was already heading for the turf as the defender pulled his foot away. 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. Louis Saha opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, his first goal in the 2004–05 season. The win pushed United up to 2nd in the FA Premier League table, their highest position in the 2004–05 season so far. Ryan Giggs headed the hosts ahead before Rooney grabbed centre stage, firing in his first goal from Van Nistelrooy's precision pass. 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. The dependence on Henry is a weakness for which the side will occasionally suffer. United's next game of their pre-season tour was against Celtic at the Lincoln Financial Field.

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