Arsenal Olivier Twice In Cup Victory

Brighton and Hove Albion 2 – 3 Arsenal

0 – 1 Giroud (16)
1 – 1 Barnes (33)
1 – 2 Giroud (56)
2 – 2 Ulloa (62)
2 – 3 Walcott (85)

On a day of cup upsets, Arsène Wenger’s reshuffled pack progressed through to the FA Cup Fifth Round with a hard-fought but deserved victory. Twice Olivier Giroud gave Arsenal the lead, twice their hosts pegged them back and with a replay looming, Theo Walcott’s deflected shot proved decisive. It was a typical cup-tie with Brighton pushing their more illustrious visitors to the final whistle.

The manager had an eye on a busy upcoming fixture list with the visits of Liverpool and Stoke to The Emirates this week, resting those who have been heavily involved in recent months albeit to the bench, bringing in those whose seasons have stuttered through injury. It was to mixed success, with lack of match sharpness noticeable in some and disjointed teamwork at times. In the end, the objective was to win and that was achieved; the flame of honours is flickering in the wind but far from extinguished.

After the match, the manager was examined on his intentions in the transfer market, specifically on signing Jovetic. Denying an enquiry or offer, he rightly put forward the case of Olivier Giroud. You understand why questions are asked of the depth in the squad. If Wenger fields his strongest XI, he has no alternative central striker. He needs someone else in the squad; one injury of any note would leave him woefully exposed. The numbers are short indeed, Arsène.

But Giroud is not going to be easy to leave out. As he has settled into life at the club, his confidence and performances have markedly improved not that the former seemed to suffer any problems when goals were hard to come by; repeatedly, he put himself back into positions where he could miss. Now those misses are becoming less frequent as yesterday’s brace took his total to thirteen for the season. A touch more composure from Theo Walcott and the Frenchman’s maiden Arsenal hat-trick might have arrived.

The game sprang to life fifteen minutes in. Barnes forced Sczcesny into an outstanding save and from the ensuing corner, the Pole fed Rosicky. No doubt Brighton had been cautioned about the speed of Arsenal’s counter-attacking but the marauding Czech gave them an object lesson as he combined with Podolski to create the opening for Giroud, whose sumptuous shot arced through the air into the net. The first meaningful attack from the visitors led to the deadlock being broken.

Brighton took time to regain their composure but as the half edged toward the interval, they levelled. Ulloa had warned Arsenal with a goal rightly disallowed for offside before Barnes stole a march on the Arsenal defence and unmarked, he headed home before Szczesny could meet Lopez’s cross. Their right flank was proving to be a productive avenue as Santos was clearly off the pace of the game; that might have changed had he been more accurate with his shot before the interval as Arsenal offered more threat than their hosts.

The second half followed the pattern of the first, Brighton quicker to settle than the visitors yet it was Jenkinson whose effort came closest to separating the two sides. From their Arsenal took to stamping their authority and the sense that a goal was going to come as Podolski curled an exquisite freekick onto the bar, usurping Theo Walcott’s right to take set-pieces in future. Three minutes later, Giroud’s run gave Diaby the time to pick the pass, the Frenchman getting a poachers goal as he flicked the ball wide of his marker to give himself time to score. A third would have sealed the game but Ankergren foiled Giroud from close range.

Brighton pulled level when Ulloa scored, once more unmarked, three minutes later but even then, it never felt like a tie Arsenal would lose. Mainly because the manager decided to bring on his ‘big guns’, or ‘big gums’ as that was initially typed. Walcott, Wilshere and Gibbs entered the fray and impacted the outcome, Giroud teased with his attempts at getting a hat-trick, firing high, wide or occasion, both; anywhere but the net.

The decisive moment came with five minutes to go. Ankergren met a corner but did not get enough distance on his punch and Walcott skilfully guided the ball onto a Brighton defender and into the net. The fight left the hosts with five minutes to go, a deflating blow to their hopes.

Post-match, Wenger acknowledged this was a match with inherent risks attached to the rotation. Had it gone wrong, the scapegoat had already been selected, Andre Santos occupying that berth. It did not backfire in the end and whilst the scoreline was tighter than it ought to have been, Arsenal achieved their objective. They are through and are awaiting the flick of the wrist when the balls to be drawn this afternoon’s fifth round draw.

’til Tomorrow

222 thoughts on “Arsenal Olivier Twice In Cup Victory

  1. The important thing is that he is coming on strong now. Much more to come from him, I think we’ll both agree!

  2. LSG

    Diaby playing the last game of the season…wow that right there is optimism defined 😀

    It would be more than awesome fun if we did though..Or alternatively we could just beat them 8-2 in normal time 😀

  3. Just read the article in FT.

    I found it informative, with a logical conclusion (although I’m not a big fan of FT).

    A properly implemented FFP would lead to one team winning all trophes year after year in England.

    (Hint: the team is from Manchester, and it’s not blue).

    Hardly exciting, isn’t it?

    But will not happeen anyway.

  4. The FT article is quite an entertaining piece of journalistic knockabout. But its conclusions are as tenuous as its logic.

    Are we really supposed to take seriously the claim that Arsenal has been waiting for all the other clubs to go bankrupt so that it could buy all the world’s best players on the cheap?

    Or that building a team from a Youth Academy is a doomed enterprise because not all promising youngsters turn out to be as good as Gareth Bale?

  5. A lot of posters on here have been waiting for just those rather wild scenarios: our rivals collapsing financially or bridled by FFP and our youth academy rolling out talent at a level that makes the hated transfer market obsolete for Arsenal. Certainly can’t imagine the club hierarchy being quite that off base. But then, that’s not exactly what the article alleges–at least not in the exaggerated way you’ve put it, Merlot. But you are right that the many posters who’ve suggested these scenarios routinely over the last several years are a bit absurd.

  6. That article is pure hackery imo. The same recycled crap we’ve been reading for ages. I think we’re really close to winning prizes actually, and I just dont buy this story that Wenger is past it as that piece of crap article and YW have suggested many times this season.

  7. Loomer

    Can you point out where I’ve said Wenger’s past it? I’ve suggested that this feels like the end of an era which is nowhere near the thought that you’ve just accused me of peddling.

    excellent post on why AARON was played where he was played and why he is being played in his natural position now. Tend to agree with every word and this not benefit of hindsight. This is exactly why he was deployed up front for a while and now when closer to 100% he is back where he belongs .

    So now we have six or is it seven EPL teams. That have succumb to so called giant killing sides from lower divisions.
    at least the GUNNERS took their opponent Bradford to extra time and PK before exiting the league. Cup tournament..
    I think it’s safe to say there is another reason for all these exits other than the proposed reason given here by many that the team they support is
    crap and their manager is crap and the organization is crap.
    oh wise ones. Any theories or are we still satisfied with dumping on our supported team. Supposedly supported team.
    The real reason is in plain view.

  9. Strength of character, that’s what’s needed. Our London rivals and many others will be waking up this morning wondering what precisely the disaffected members of the AFC crowd are bitching about.

  10. LG at 3.18am,

    Brilliant post! Another attempt at a strawman argument nipped in the bud. I was thinking about responding but you’ve done way better than I could have.

    I honestly don’t get why some fans are so prickly and sensitive to even measured criticism. Of course they all agree that criticism isn’t bad in principle, so in order to have a good moan, they gotta paint any perceived criticism in the worst light possible, usually without careful thought. This often leads to amusingly counter-productive outcomes, like you just pointed out.

    Guys we are all on the same side. Quit being so precious and direct your energies at the supporting the club as you often profess to do. Picking pointless fights with other fans (who also clearly love the club) is NOT support!

  11. Goonerkam/Kadigah,
    How would you know why AR was played as wide forward? Why do you think your opinion is any truer than LG’s?

  12. Henristic @ 7:07am

    Your description of what Kumar wrote as a strawman argument is right on the button. Reassured that we are all on the same side.

  13. An article that muses about economics in football whilst ignoring the politics and context is poor.
    You can attempt to accuse anyone of being an extremist with that rapier wit of yours Henristic but it is what it is. The Hull FC chairman made a great quote the other day about the importance of owning a Stadium for football clubs, something quite important outside of Germmany for Football teams. But why mention context or regulation! That’d be an extremist position, obviously.
    An absence of any context for his topic does not flatter the author of the FT article. The immaculate Dein was the chap who introduced players’ names onto the back of player’ shirts. Did this individual, and the others that he teamed up with at AFC the most forward thinking* group of board wallah’s in recent times not have the Football brain cells between them to consider the way Football was growing, the increase in TV markets in Asia especially?

    I may need to put my thinking cap on (It has a great big D on it) and try to think about this one. Thinking…thinking…still thinking…this may take a while.

    *we can say that with he benefit of hindsight, have any other clubs built their own stadiums so successfully? No? Oh!

  14. Did anyone ever mention that old DD had a role in bringing both Billionaires to the club? Oh! They did. Phew. It is vaguely relevant.

  15. LG @ 3:18am

    His exaggerations, not mine, LG, cited as club policies, not as the views of over-enthusiastic fans.

    journalistic licence, I’m sure, but rather undermining the thrust of his argument.

  16. I Can’t think of anyone, offhand, who wants Dein back on this site. There have been one or two but, in the main, he is sen as yesterday’s man and a tarnished man at that.

    What the club do need is one or two Board members who are football people and, very preferably, with Arsenal in their hearts.

    That article was actually discussed briefly a couple of days ago. It doesn’t say much to disagree with but I failed to see what it’s actual point was. The man is an Arsenal fan and clearly has his knickers in a twist about something.

  17. Just to be clear, I’m not keen on the return of DD! It’s hard to have an opinion on a (ongoing?) board room civil war that I know nothing about.
    But I don’t deny that DD had a big role whilst at the club, and not only did he see the growth in markets, but he seemed to anticipate the arrival of the Oligarchs, of the rise of clubs like Anzi Makaklashnikov* FC better then most.

  18. Cbob,
    Even if there was, it hardly a reason to paint that view as predominant, or typical of certain group of posters. After all Yogi has repeatedly said he doesn’t want Dein back, whereas Frank, on the other hand, does.

    Kumar? Or you mean Kadigah? In any case can you kindly (without resorting to pendantry) point out where/how I’ve used the strawman? I’ll readily apologize if that’s shown to be the case.

  19. Thanks to Fellovergen for a link on Usmanov,

    A new tactic, using Henry overtly as a ‘prompter’ for his involvement in the club. Will it work? If it is, Usmanov needs to do his homework better since Vieira was sold by Wenger when he was ready, not at the player’s behest. Indeed, received wisdom is that Vieira didn’t want to leave Arsenal by that time.

  20. Apologies, H. I meant Kuper. Too early in the morning here.

    Your use of the word strawman, though. I guess you know what you meant.

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