ARSENAL 2 T*TTENHAM 0
FA Cup Third Round weekend will always be special. It’s the beginning of our annual journey in a competition that has given me some of my favourite Arsenal memories. So when our North London neighbours were added into the mix it was always going to be an extra special game. Thankfully we delivered the goods, both the players on the pitch and the fans in the stands, as The Arsenal completed a comprehensive 2-0 victory with the support of an electric atmosphere created by the Arsenal faithful.
The man from Borehamwood, who ain’t no fucking good, decided to stick with his 4-4-2 formation and was severely punished for it as our midfield bossed the game from the very first whistle to the last, part of a fantastic performance from 1 to 11. There was only ever going to be one winner.
Fabianski had little to do, but when called upon did it well. The back four were as solid as we now know and expect them to be. In midfield Arteta was as reliable as ever, Wilshere had one of his best games this season (and could only be stopped by consistent fouling), Cazorla looked back to his best, Serge Gnabry was outstanding, and Tomas Rosicky was the clear man of the match. And up top was Theo Walcott, the perfect forward against a team who play the most ridiculously high back line (especially when that back line includes Michael Dawson, the prize idiot that he is).
Our superiority in all areas of the field was rewarded with a goal in each half. The first a quite fantastic left footed strike from Cazorla after excellent build up play from Gnabry. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a football player so comfortable striking the ball with either foot. Many players may have taken the ball back onto their right foot, losing the opportunity to score. Not Santi, he just leathered it with his left foot laces, without a moment’s thought or hesitation. One-nil to The Arsenal.
The second came having cleared a corner. We pushed out, forcing them backwards to Rose on the halfway line. Rosicky closed him down, stole the ball off of him, and raced clear to finish quite brilliantly, holding off Walker as he nonchalantly dinked it over the onrushing Lloris.
It was thoroughly deserved and capped his magnificent performance. Tomas is out of contract in the summer and rumour has it that a large pay-day in the MLS could be awaiting him. I hope these reports aren’t true; I’d love nothing more than to see Rosicky (and whilst on this topic Sagna) pulling on the famous red and white of The Arsenal next season.
And so our FA Cup journey continues. Next up en route to Wembley is a home time against League One side Coventry City. What did she wear? She wore, she wore, she wore a yellow ribbon…
Theo was at the centre of things on Saturday for both funny and ultimately sad reasons. In the 80th minute he caught his studs in the turf, twisting his knee. Whilst lying on the ground injured he was pelted with abuse and coins from the vermin in the away section. His game was over, but once he’d got himself sat up comfortably on the stretcher, he responded to the abuse with a cheeky smile on his face and a simple gesture to remind his abusers of the score.
Sadly for Theo that’s where the fun ended. Being on that stretcher has proved to be not only the end of his game on Saturday, but also the end of his season after Arsenal announced yesterday that he’s sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee.
It’s a massive blow. Walcott provides qualities that are so rare, not only in our squad but in football in general. The ability to find space, utilise it with intelligent runs and blistering pace, whilst having the ability to keep control of the ball to provide a finish or an assist; his statistics in these two categories over the last season or two are phenomenal.
Looking at our squad it’s hard to see a like for like replacement. Podolski can provide the movement and goals, but not the pace. Gnabry can certainly provide the pace and his appearances this season have been very good with a goal at Swansea, winning the penalty at Palace, and the assist on Saturday. But given his youthfulness can he provide consistency? And then there’s Oxlade-Chamberlain. He has the pace and is experienced enough to provide consistency, but he’s more direct than Theo, running at players as opposed to movement in behind. Also, how will he respond to his own lengthy absence through injury? Would we be asking too much too soon? I guess only time will tell. Here’s wishing Theo a speedy and successful recovery. Until next time, up The Arsenal.