Arsenal avenged their Anfield aberration with a 2-1 defeat of Liverpool in a pulsating FA Cup fifth-round clash at the Emirates Stadium.
Saturday started bizarre for the gunners with Olivier Giroud’s apology on twitter and the rumour of Sanogo making his first Arsenal start.
I had expected Bendtner to start since Giroud will be rested but Wenger had other plans as the Dane didn’t even make the bench. The lineup had Fabianski back in goal (our cup goalie), the defensive duo of Koscienly and Metersacker flanked by Monreal and Jenkenson. Flamini returned from his 3 match ban to man the middle with Captain Arteta with Ozil in front, Podolski on the left and Chamberlain on the right. Sanogo had Giroud’s place.
Prior to kick off, Liverpool and Arsenal had already known their opponents for the quarter final: Everton. In other draws, the 2013 FA Cup final will be replayed at the Etihad: Manchester City vs Wigan.
Arsenal started on the back foot with Sturridge missing two good opportunities to put Liverpool ahead. Oxlade-chamberlain put the gunners ahead after Sanogo’s shot ricocheted to his path. The gunners added another few minutes after the half with Ozil playing in the Ox who laid the ball for Podolski to finish.
Fabianski kept the Liverpool attack at bay but could do little as Gerrard tucked in a penalty after Podolski nicked Suarez in the box.
Alex Oxlade-chamberlain utilized his pace very well against the Reds. His pace was a thorn to Liverpool’s defense and two of them had cards to show for it. A goal and an assist was a nice outing for the England international, a sure bet to be in Brazil. Since the absence of Walcott, Arsenal has lacked pace and this seems to have limited Ozil’s through passes to in-runners. The Arsenal second goal shows Ozil’s insight and the Ox did well to cut back for Podolski to finish. Such pace and decisiveness will be needed on Wednesday against Bayern
There is a kind of joy that comes with watching Flamini play. It is unexplainable. Flamini made tackles upon tackles and was unlucky to get into Webb’s books. His dexterity is awesome and his presence lifts the spirits of others. He worked well with Arteta in the middle to shut down the Liverpool midfield. When he falls, he falls like a heap, rolling over, pullin his sleeves up , shouting instructions and running around. The only fear is that, he may go over the edge.
Fabianski Saves the Day.
Sturridge twice failed in the early minutes of the game but had a late opportunity to equal the game but Fabianski was on ground to collect the ball from his feet. Szczesny’s deputy, both at the club and for their nation was my man of the match. His positioning was intact and his saves were perfect. He could do nothing as Gerrard sent him the wrong way from the spot but this is one of the best performances for Arsenal. It is quite sad that he is leaving this summer. He saved the day and thanked Sturrigde for lacing his shoes for him
Howard brandish 5 yellow cards in the first half but had some questionable decisions that would have twisted the game in favour of both sides. Liverpool’s goal came from a lesser foul compared to the foul not given by Webb some minutes later. Webb was standing in front as the Ox fouled Suarez. Suarez’s added theatrics may have aided Webb’s decision.
Minutes later, Gerrard fouled the Ox for what seems to be a yellow card offense but the ref overlooked his books which would have been a second booking for the Liverpool captain. Sometimes you wonder how consistent consistency can be.
Arsenal even had a case for a penalty when Skrtel studded Cazorla in the box but Webb played on. It was a bad Webb day at the Emirates but the gunners won’t mind. They are through.
This victory will boost the confidence of the players. It was nice seeing Sanogo playing after his holiday with Diaby. He was bullish but needs to perfect his game. Raw talent. Happy to see Podolski score.
So Arsenal will host Everton in the quarter finals. Bayern Munich visits on Wednesday.
Did you see the english press post that read “SPECIAL FAILURE”? Mourinho knows better.