Arsenal Progress to the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup.
Arsenal took revenge on Liverpool for the 5-1 drubbing they suffered at Anfield last week by knocking them out of the FA Cup.
Arsenal‘s season hit a low point last Saturday when they were given a football lesson at Anfield with Liverpool piling on 4 goals in the first 20 minutes. Chelsea overtook them at the top of the table and Arsenal were unable to take advantage of Chelsea‘s subsequent draw at West Bromwich Albion, when they faced Manchester United at home in mid week.
Although Arsenal kept a clean sheet, which was huge improvement on the weekend’s result, they were unable to score themselves either.
Jose Mourinho embarrassed himself during the week by referring to Arsene Wenger as a specialist in failure, then failing to qualify for the next round of the FA Cup himself, going down 2-0 at Manchester City.
So one week later Arsenal face the same opponent that inflicted the huge embarrassment on them. Having already played two games this week and facing Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday, many wondered what sort of side Arsene Wenger would pick. But this season the Arsenal squad is strong and most of the second string options do not mean much of a dip in quality.
Szczesny was replaced in goal by Fabianski. Fullbacks Sagna and Gibbs were replaced by Jenkinson and Monreal respectively. Flamini was back from his suspension and Yaya Sanogo was given his first start at Centre Forward. All of these players gave a good account of themselves. On the bench were the big guns Wilshere, Giroud and Cazorla, should they be needed.
Arsenal pressed early but Liverpool came back quickly with Sturridge failing to convert two chances before Arsenal scored. But Fabianski should be given credit in both instances.
Arsenal took the lead in the 16th minute through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after a Yaya Sanogo shot was blocked by Steven Gerrard. The Ox pounced on the rebound and converted.
Early in the second half Chamberlain was back, this time creating the perfect cross for Lukas Podolski to power past the Liverpool keeper.
Liverpool applied plenty of pressure from then on, but the Arsenal defence and Fabianski especially, was solid. That was until a clumsy challenge from the goal scorer, Podolski, on the Liverpool captain, Gerrard, saw Liverpool awarded a penalty. Fabianski had no chance as Gerrard powered the ball right in the far corner of the goal.
At 2-1 things were on a knife edge. Wenger brought on Cazorla, then Gibbs to sure things up. Sanogo was replaced by Giroud in the 88th minute and received a resounding reception from the Arsenal fans.
Fabianski rounded off his game by missing a clearance from a Liverpool corner and punching Agger in the head, as he headed wide. It was Fabianski‘s only real mistake of the game and I believe that he should be the Arsenal man of the match.
Arsenal will host Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday and have drawn Everton at home in the next round of the FA Cup, while Liverpool have only league fixtures to look forward to.
By Max Power