The 2003–04 season was Manchester United’s 12th season in the Premier League, and their 29th consecutive season in the top division of English football.

United won a record eleventh FA Cup with a 3–0 win over Millwall at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, but surrendered the Premier League title to unbeaten champions Arsenal, with a second half dip in league form coinciding with Rio Ferdinand starting an eight-month ban from football due to a missed drugs test and restricting United to a third-place finish.

New to the United side were Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazilian World Cup-winning midifelder Kléberson, American goalkeeper Tim Howard, Cameroonian midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba and French striker David Bellion.

United’s European Cup and League Cup dreams ended in the last 16, with the European exit being particularly painful as a last minute goal by eventual champions Porto put them out of the competition and denied them an eighth successive European Cup quarter-final.

Pre-season and friendlies

Date Opponents H/A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
22 July 2003 Celtic N 4–0 Van Nistelrooy 7′, Giggs 27′, Solskjær 39′, Bellion 72′ 66,722
27 July 2003 Club América N 3–1 Van Nistelrooy 46′, Forlán (2) 48′, 80′ 57,365
31 July 2003 Juventus N 4–1 Giggs 24′, Scholes 57′, Van Nistelrooy 60′, Solskjær 79′ 79,000
3 August 2003 Barcelona N 3–1 Forlán (2) 25′, 36′, Van Nistelrooy 85′ 68,396
7 August 2003 Sporting CP A 1–3 Hugo 88′ (o.g.) 55,000
13 August 2003 Stoke City A 1–3 Forlán 68′

FA Community Shield

Date Opponents H/A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
10 August 2003 Arsenal N 1–1
(4–3p)
Silvestre 15′ 59,293

FA Premier League

Date Opponents H/A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance League
position
16 August 2003 Bolton Wanderers H 4–0 Giggs (2) 35′, 74′, Scholes 77′, Van Nistelrooy 87′ 67,647 2nd
23 August 2003 Newcastle United A 2–1 Van Nistelrooy 51′, Scholes 59′ 52,165 3rd
27 August 2003 Wolverhampton Wanderers H 1–0 O’Shea 10′ 67,648 2nd
31 August 2003 Southampton A 0–1 32,066 2nd
13 September 2003 Charlton Athletic A 2–0 Van Nistelrooy (2) 62′, 82′ 26,078 2nd
21 September 2003 Arsenal H 0–0 67,639 3rd
27 September 2003 Leicester City A 4–1 Keane 15′, Van Nistelrooy (3) 16′, 45′, 52′ 32,044 3rd
4 October 2003 Birmingham City H 3–0 Van Nistelrooy 36′ (pen.), Scholes 57′, Giggs 82′ 67,633 2nd
18 October 2003 Leeds United A 1–0 Keane 81′ 40,153 2nd
25 October 2003 Fulham H 1–3 Forlán 45′ 67,727 3rd
1 November 2003 Portsmouth H 3–0 Forlán 37′, Ronaldo 80′, Keane 82′ 67,639 3rd
9 November 2003 Liverpool A 2–1 Giggs (2) 58′, 70′ 44,159 3rd
22 November 2003 Blackburn Rovers H 2–1 Van Nistelrooy 24′, Kléberson 38′ 67,748 3rd
30 November 2003 Chelsea A 0–1 41,932 3rd
6 December 2003 Aston Villa H 4–0 Van Nistelrooy (2) 16′, 45′, Forlán (2) 90′, 90′ 67,621 3rd
13 December 2003 Manchester City H 3–1 Scholes (2) 7′, 73′, Van Nistelrooy 34′ 67,645 2nd
21 December 2003 Tottenham Hotspur A 2–1 O’Shea 15′, Van Nistelrooy 26′ 35,910 1st
26 December 2003 Everton H 3–2 Butt 9′, Kléberson 44′, Bellion 68′ 67,642 1st
28 December 2003 Middlesbrough A 1–0 Fortune 14′ 34,738 1st
7 January 2004 Bolton Wanderers A 2–1 Scholes 24′, Van Nistelrooy 39′ 27,668 1st
11 January 2004 Newcastle United H 0–0 67,622 1st
17 January 2004 Wolverhampton Wanderers A 0–1 29,396 2nd
31 January 2004 Southampton H 3–2 Saha 18′, Scholes 37′, Van Nistelrooy 61′ 67,758 2nd
7 February 2004 Everton A 4–3 Saha (2) 9′, 29′, Van Nistelrooy (2) 24′, 89′ 40,190 2nd
11 February 2004 Middlesbrough H 2–3 Van Nistelrooy 45′, Giggs 63′ 67,346 2nd
21 February 2004 Leeds United H 1–1 Scholes 64′ 67,744 2nd
28 February 2004 Fulham A 1–1 Saha 14′ 18,306 3rd
14 March 2004 Manchester City A 1–4 Scholes 35′ 47,284 3rd
20 March 2004 Tottenham Hotspur H 3–0 Giggs 30′, Ronaldo 89′, Bellion 90′ 67,634 3rd
28 March 2004 Arsenal A 1–1 Saha 86′ 38,184 3rd
10 April 2004 Birmingham City A 2–1 Ronaldo 60′, Saha 78′ 29,548 3rd
13 April 2004 Leicester City H 1–0 G. Neville 56′ 67,749 3rd
17 April 2004 Portsmouth A 0–1 20,140 3rd
20 April 2004 Charlton Athletic H 2–0 Saha 28′, G. Neville 65′ 67,477 3rd
24 April 2004 Liverpool H 0–1 67,647 3rd
1 May 2004 Blackburn Rovers A 0–1 29,616 3rd
8 May 2004 Chelsea H 1–1 Van Nistelrooy 76′ 67,609 3rd
15 May 2004 Aston Villa A 2–0 Ronaldo 4′, Van Nistelrooy 10′ 42,573 3rd
Pos Club Pld W D L F A GD Pts
2 Chelsea 38 24 7 7 67 30 +37 79
3 Manchester United 38 23 6 9 64 35 +29 75
4 Liverpool 38 16 12 10 55 37 +18 60

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

Date Round Opponents H/A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
4 January 2004 Round 3 Aston Villa A 2–1 Scholes (2) 64′, 68′ 40,371
25 January 2004 Round 4 Northampton Town A 3–0 Silvestre 34′, Hargreaves 47′ (o.g.), Forlán 68′ 7,356
14 February 2004 Round 5 Manchester City H 4–2 Scholes 34′, Van Nistelrooy (2) 71′, 80′, Ronaldo 74′ 67,228
6 March 2004 Round 6 Fulham H 2–1 Van Nistelrooy (2) 25′, 62′ 67,614
3 April 2004 Semi-final Arsenal N 1–0 Scholes 32′ 39,939
22 May 2004 Final Millwall N 3–0 Ronaldo 44′, Van Nistelrooy (2) 65′ (pen.), 81′ 71,350

League Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponents H/A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
28 October 2003 Round 3 Leeds United A 3–2
(a.e.t.)
Bellion 78′, Forlán 108′, Djemba-Djemba 117′ 37,546
3 December 2003 Round 4 West Bromwich Albion A 0–2 25,282

UEFA Champions LeagueGroup stage

Date Opponents H/A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance Group
position
16 September 2003 Panathinaikos H 5–0 Silvestre 13′, Fortune 15′, Solskjær 33′, Butt 40′, Djemba-Djemba 83′ 66,520 1st
1 October 2003 Stuttgart A 1–2 Van Nistelrooy 67′ (pen.) 50,348 2nd
22 October 2003 Rangers A 1–0 P. Neville 5′ 48,730 1st
4 November 2003 Rangers H 3–0 Forlán 6′, Van Nistelrooy (2) 43′, 60′ 66,707 1st
26 November 2003 Panathinaikos A 1–0 Forlán 85′ 6,890 1st
9 December 2003 Stuttgart H 2–0 Van Nistelrooy 45′, Giggs 58′ 67,141 1st
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
England Manchester United 6 5 0 1 13 2 +11 15
Germany Stuttgart 6 4 0 2 9 6 +3 12
Greece Panathinaikos 6 1 1 4 5 13 −8 4
Scotland Rangers 6 1 1 4 4 10 −6 4

Knockout phase

Date Round Opponents H/A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
25 February 2004 First knockout round
First leg
Porto A 1–2 Fortune 14′ 49,977
9 March 2004 First knockout round
Second leg
Porto H 1–1 Scholes 32′ 67,029

Squad statistics

No. Pos. Name League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1 GK France Fabien Barthez 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 DF England Gary Neville 30 2 4 0 1 0 7 0 0 0 42 2
3 DF England Phil Neville 29(2) 0 2(1) 0 1 0 7 1 1 0 40(3) 1
5 DF England Rio Ferdinand 20 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 1 0 27 0
6 DF England Wes Brown 15(2) 0 5(1) 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 22(3) 0
7 MF Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo 15(14) 4 5 2 1 0 3(2) 0 0 0 24(16) 6
8 MF England Nicky Butt 12(9) 1 3(2) 0 2 0 4(1) 1 1 0 22(12) 2
9 FW France Louis Saha 9(3) 7 0 0 0 0 1(1) 0 0 0 10(4) 7
10 FW Netherlands Ruud van Nistelrooy 31(1) 20 3(1) 6 0 0 7 4 1 0 42(2) 30
11 MF Wales Ryan Giggs 29(4) 7 5 0 0 0 8 1 1 0 43(4) 8
12 FW France David Bellion 4(10) 2 1(1) 0 2 1 0(4) 0 0 0 7(15) 3
13 GK Northern Ireland Roy Carroll 6 0 2(1) 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 11(1) 0
14 GK United States Tim Howard 32 0 4 0 0 0 7 0 1 0 44 0
15 MF Brazil Kléberson 10(2) 2 1 0 1 0 1(1) 0 0 0 13(3) 2
16 MF Republic of Ireland Roy Keane (c) 25(3) 3 4(1) 0 0 0 4 0 1 0 34(4) 3
17 GK Spain Ricardo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
18 MF England Paul Scholes 24(4) 9 6 4 0 0 5 1 1 0 36(4) 14
19 MF Cameroon Eric Djemba-Djemba 10(5) 0 0(1) 0 1 1 1(3) 1 0(1) 0 12(10) 2
20 FW Norway Ole Gunnar Solskjær 7(6) 0 1(2) 0 0 0 1(1) 1 1 0 10(9) 1
21 FW Uruguay Diego Forlán 10(14) 4 2 1 1 1 2(2) 2 0(1) 0 15(17) 8
22 DF Republic of Ireland John O’Shea 32(1) 2 6 0 2 0 6(1) 0 0(1) 0 46(3) 2
23 MF England Kieran Richardson 0 0 0(1) 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2(1) 0
24 MF Scotland Darren Fletcher 17(5) 0 4(1) 0 2 0 3(3) 0 0 0 26(9) 0
25 MF South Africa Quinton Fortune 18(5) 1 3 0 1 0 6(1) 2 1 0 29(6) 3
26 MF England Danny Pugh 0 0 0(1) 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1(1) 0
27 DF France Mikaël Silvestre 33(1) 0 5 1 0 0 6 1 1 1 45(1) 3
32 FW England Eddie Johnson 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0
33 MF England Chris Eagles 0 0 0 0 0(2) 0 0 0 0 0 0(2) 0
34 DF England Phil Bardsley 0 0 0(1) 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1(1) 0
36 FW England Daniel Nardiello 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0
39 DF Republic of Ireland Paul Tierney 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0