FA Cup third round: The best and worst of Arsenal against Swans, 2-2


By now Arsenal are unhappy to Michu. They wish he had never come to the EPL because he is getting quite the reputation for punishing them. To add insult to injury he’s exactly the sort of signing Arsene Wenger would have been proud to make. This was his third goal in two matches against the Gunners following his two goal outburst in Swansea’s win against Arsenal. The London team were on the front foot pressing hard as the second half began dominating possession but lacking the finishing touch. The first half had seen some neat but fairly sterile stuff with the Swans looking more threatening in their sporadic attacks.
Michu came on and it all changed in a matter of minutes as Dwight Tiendalli flicked on Michael Vorm’s goal kick towards Danny Graham and as the striker tangled with Laurent Koscielny he turned the ball to Michu. The Spaniard brushed aside Per Mertesacker clumsy attempts at thwarting him for a nice finish. However Arsenal did not retreat to lick their wounds and pressing hard forced the Swansea defense into a number of cheap giveaways.
Lukas Podolksi was brought on after Kieran Gibbs and Olivier Giroud (for a centreforward that was a poorly directed header) came close. With the German on the pitch, Arsenal kept the pressure increasing the tempo. Theo Walcott with a very good look at goal flashed wide and Giroud was guilty of a heavy touch that robbed him of a goal opportunity. It was a matter of time and it came when Walcott’s corner which sailed away from the goal mouth was kept inbound by Bakary Sagna and on the bounce Koscielny swept it towards Poldolksi who wheeled around to smash with his left foot.
Two minutes later came an even more delectable goal as Gibbs crossed square to Giroud and kept running into the box. The striker returned an inch perfect pass which was volleyed with venom by Gibbs past Vorm for the lead. Could Arsenal hold on and see off Swansea? That would be the natural thing to do but we have seen Arsenal shoot themselves with a hideous lack of composure at the back. A long corner that sailed over the middle of the box saw Ki latch onto the ball and push it forward to Graham who on the left channel fizzed the ball past Szczesny. There was no pressure on Graham as Mikel Arteta turned his back instead of attempting to block his shot and Szcz instead of staying tall and increasing the odds decided to go low.
There was controversial moment when Tiendalli appeared to have clipped Aaron Ramsey with the midfielder entering the box at pace. As the midfielder tumbled down, he appealed for a penalty. However on replay, it appeared he had clipped his own feet. Howard Webb was not impressed and waved play on.
So Arsenal now load their schedule with the additional match to be played Jan 16th sandwiched in between Man City and Chelsea EPL fixtures. Not what Arsene Wenger wanted. There were about a half dozen clear chances and this match should have been put to bed quite some time ago. On the other hand, the Swansea and Arsenal fixtures are getting quite a bit of traction.

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