4 Talking Points From Arsenal’s 2-1 FA Cup Win Over Liverpool
Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-1 at the Emirates on Sunday to book their place in the quarter finals of the FA Cup. Here, Gunner333 gives us 4 thoughts from the game.
Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-1 at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon to book their place in the quarter finals of the FA Cup. Here, Gunner333 gives us 4 thoughts from the game.
Following on from some disappointing league displays of-late, the Gunners were preparing to bolster their domestic campaign with a win over Liverpool in the FA cup. With the Champions League Last 16 clash with Bayern on Wednesday, Wenger made several changes to his starting eleven as 21-year-old Frenchman Yaya Sanogo lead the line.
There were some universal concerns with Wenger’s line-up, the young forward one dilemma whilst the decision to play both Flamini and Arteta together in midfield was also seen as a potential weakness.
Among an anxious Emirates atmosphere, it was Liverpool who started the brightest. Seconds in Gerrard unleashed an excellent long pass up to Sturridge, who was denied by Fabianski. It was just moments later when Liverpool’s quick movement opened up the Arsenal defence yet again. This time Sturridge going round Fabianski, only to fire his effort into the side-netting. Nervy times for a rather loose Arsenal back-line.
For arguably the first time in the game, Arsenal got themselves in to a dangerous attacking position and took full advantage. Mesut Özil lofting a ball back into the area from a free-kick, Sanogo unleashing a bullet which was blocked by Gerrard, but the rebound was cooly dispatched by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. A great start for Arsenal, who led 1-0 after 13 minutes.
As the majority of play came at Arsenal’s defensive end, it gave the home side the opportunity to counter. Coutinho was robbed of possession, as Arsenal burst forward with Oxlade-Chamberlain. The youngster was taken out by a cynical Gerrard foul with a booking rightfully dished out.
The game resumed after the break and Luis Suarez broke clean of the defence with some top dribbling, but his final effort denied by an in-form Fabianski. A break-up in Liverpool’s play handed Arsenal the chance to strike at the other end. Ozil sent The Ox once clear with an inch-perfect ball before the youngsters pull-back allowed Posolski to convert for 2-0.
With the game proposing an end-to-end philosophy, it looked as if we were still in for an exciting encounter. The ball fell to Suarez in the area, signalling Podolski to make minuet contact, causing the Uruguayan to flop like a fish. Webb pointed to the spot and Steven Gerrard easily buried a sublime penalty past Fabianski for 2-1.
Liverpool mustered up another scare, Sturridge again going close as he slipped through the centre but his attempt to round Fabianski was blocked by another excellent stop from the Pole. Despite some late pressure, Arsenal held on to progress to round six where they will face a home tie with yet another Merseyside club, Everton.
Here are four key talking points from the game;
1) Fantastic Fabianski
Had the Pole-in-Goal Lukasz Fabianski not started this fixture, the scoreline could have told a completely different tale. Exhibiting world-class reflexes and athleticism, he consistently denied a dangerous Liverpool front-line. Many clubs choose to stick with a back-up keeper in Cup clashes and Wenger’s decision to do so was an expert one.
Although Szczesny has been in superb form this season, we must recognise the ability shown by Lukasz and he’s got to be pushing for more regular action. It is inevitable that Wojciech Szczesny will start against Bayern on Wednesday, but it is great to have an equally reliable keeper ready to step in, if need be.
2) Winning ugly
Despite earning this victory, it is fair to say it did not arise in typical Arsenal fashion. We looked on the back-foot for most of the game, but managed to win despite not being at our best. Liverpool are a strong unit this season but their frequent need to attack with pace left them very susceptible to quick counters and we had enough up front to hurt them.
Not only can we take great confidence out of the result, but also the manner in which it was earned. Wenger had faith in his squad and it should give the players a boost for the remainder of the season.
3) Mathieu/Mikel Combo
With Jack Wilshere surprisingly left out, Wenger called for Mikel Arteta and Matthieu Flamini in holding midfield. It is certainly a debatable decision as neither of the two possess the speed or agility of Wilshere and the ‘double pivot’ has rarely worked in the past. However, in this game they both played well.
Against Liverpool, Flamini was deployed in the deeper position with Arteta asked to push a little further up and do more pressing, which surprisingly worked a treat. Perhaps we should hold greater faith in the two.
4) Yaya, Lukas, Olivier or Nicklas?
Yet another surprise package in the Gunners’ starting eleven was the inclusion of Yaya Sanogo. The forward seemed comfortable with the pace of the game and the deflection from his rifled effort lead to our first goal. Meanwhile, Podolski’s cool finish was a statement of intent from the German who would love a run down the centre.
Nicklas Bendtner wasn’t involved and Olivier Giroud only got 2 minutes near the end. Obviously the Frenchman was being rested for the Bayern clash but it’s interesting that Sanogo got the nod ahead of Bendtner and he took his chance to impress which could now see him installed as No.2 behind Giroud for the rest of the season.
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