ARSENAL 4 COVENTRY 0
We cruised into the next round of the FA Cup with a comfortable 4-0 victory over League One Coventry City. Two first half goals from Lukas Podolski and second half goals from Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla saw The Arsenal earn a Firth Round tie at home to Liverpool.
There’s not too much you can say about the game really. Arsene understandably rotated players, an assured performance was given, Coventry caused us a few scares in the second half, but ultimately Arsenal were playing in second gear and when we stepped it up just a little (as their legs tired) we added another couple of goals to round off the evening.
As mentioned we face Liverpool at home in the Fifth Round, with the tie to be played on Sunday 16th February. What did she wear? She wore, she wore, she wore a yellow ribbon.
SOUTHAMPTON 2 ARSENAL 2
Southampton are a very good side, especially at home where they have beaten Liverpool and drawn with Man City. And we found it equally as difficult, dropping two points after a 2-2 draw.
The first half was absolutely woeful, quite possibly our worst half of football this season. Southampton pressed very high, closing us down and stopping us from playing. If we were going to overcome this approach it was going to need our finest quick and incisive passing, which sadly wasn’t forthcoming.
As a result Southampton deservedly went in at half time a goal to the good. Although, that said, their goal came after Mertesacker was unfairly judged to have committed a foul and from the resulting free kick Southampton worked it wide, Shaw put in an excellent cross, and Fonte rose high (helped by being all over Monreal) to head home.
It could have easily been 2-0 when a Monreal clearance was blocked and ricocheted into the path of 18-year-old debutant Gallagher, but thankfully he shinned it wide. Equally it could easily have been 1-1 when our near post flick-on corner routine worked a treat, but Boruc kept out Koscielny’s header. And when the ball was worked back into the box seconds later Yoshida hauled Koscielny to the ground, but Lee Mason waved away the Frenchman’s penalty appeals.
But we didn’t have to wait too much longer to get on the score sheet. Just after the half-time interval we were level. We started the second half with much more promise and purpose and got our reward when Sagna won the ball back inside the Southampton area and he squared it for Giroud who eloquently flicked it home. That’s 4 goals in 5 games for Giroud who is quietly returning to goal scoring form; long may it continue.
And not for the first time this season, The Arsenal scored again within minutes. This time it was Santi Cazorla, who’s strike was extremely well placed and helped him go one better than Giroud by making it 5 goals in 5 games.
From there I was hoping to see the resilient Arsenal who have ground out many good results this season, or better still the Arsenal who can take the game away from opponents in the blink of an eye, with another attacking burst perhaps stretching our lead.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Instead it was Southampton with the immediate response. Perhaps still not fully concentrated after our second we switched off, giving away a rather soft goal from a long ball up the line and by not picking up the midfield runner. 2-2.
From there the game seemed to peter out, not for the want of trying from Ozil, whose superb run wasn’t rewarded when his deflected shot hit the crossbar. You’d like to think we’d have gone for the win late on, but when Flamini stupidly went into a challenge two-footed and received a red card it was very much a case of holding on to the point.
Thanks to a couple of very good saves from Szczesny that’s exactly what we did. We may have gone there wanting more than a point, but sometimes these things aren’t to be and when that happens you just have to not lose.
CALM BEFORE THE STORM
This Sunday sees us host Crystal Palace in what really is a must win game. It’s a silly expression I know, but when you see what’s on the horizon you really do feel like we could use a comfortable win at home this weekend.
As everyone will know it’s Liverpool, United, Liverpool, and Bayern after this (not to mention an even more daunting March, when the fixtures are not only hard but also mostly away from home), so a straightforward three points this Sunday would be most welcome. Until next time, up The Arsenal.