FA Cup Fourth Round
Cardiff City 0 – 0 Arsenal
If Arsene was raising valid concerns about the fixture list, he will be less than enamoured with a cup replay against Cardiff. At least the bean counters will be happy. The hosts started quickly as you would expect, creating chances but the finishing was any combination you choose to pick from high and wide. Indeed it set a pattern for the game as I can only recall Fabianski making one save of note although the woodwork intervened late on to deny Cardiff another improbable cup victory over Arsenal.
In the opening spell, the Arsenal defence had several moments that they will not want to remember, McCormack finding space readily during the opening quarter of the game, Djourou and Toure not picking up their ‘man’ as diligently as one would expect. Curiously, Cardiff found a lot of joy on the right in this time, Bacary Sagna having an exceptionally rare off-day. Inevitably, Arsenal took a foothold in the game and before the half finished, Nasri, Bendtner and Gibbs had forced work out of Enkelman. Nasri’s miss was perhaps the worst of the quartet that the trio forced, similar to the position that he found the back of the Hull net from, he gave the Cardiff custodian a relatively straightforward save.
The second half found Alex Song becoming the dominant midfielder. Ramsey and Eboue offered little in the way of attacking options, the decision to rest Denilson not looking the best that Arsene has made in recent times. The second half though continued as the first half ended, Arsenal looking increasingly like breaking through. The best chance to fell to Adebayor who made a complete pig’s ear of a volley following RvP’s excellent cross. It is easy to criticise from the comfort of the armchair but expectations of the Togolese international are lot higher than the final product on this occasion.
Overall, a draw was a fair result, no complaints from Arsene on that score in his post-match interviews. Disappointing from the supporters point of view but the carrot of a home tie against WBA or Burnley is incentive enough for them to finish the job at The Emirates.
Away from the FA Cup, the ever-reliable and not in any way sensationalist, News of the World informs us that Arsenal have been shocked by the wage demands of Robin van Persie, reporting that because the Board have not already agreed to £65k per week, the Dutchman wants £80k per week to bring him to parity with the top earners, at least until Cesc gets offered a new deal. The shock felt by Fiszman was not seismic as they are going to agree to it, so the Bastion of Truth tells us. Which probably means that was the offer he was given in the first place. No doubt reeling from PHW’s decision to make Daily Star back pages the official club mouthpiece, NotW hacks went into overdrive, telling us that Micah Richards is Emirates-bound for a mere £7m. Richards has subsequently denied this so it must be true then. If the transfer market took 2% of Arsene’s time last week, the coming seven days will see him spin like a whirling dervish headfirst into action, 98% of his time signing all those we are linked with.
Much as I missed Florentino Perez bringing a smile to my face with his outlandish pre-election claims, Peter Hill-Wood does not share those sentiments. PHW, a stickler for Old School Manners and in no way associated with derogatory comments about Stan Kroenke in the past, claimed that Perez was being a tad rude and disrespectful, although he fell short of claiming that Wenger was being ‘tapped up’. Lord Peter took comfort from the fact that Arsene has never walked away from a contract before, had one with the club until 2012 and that Arsene would be a puppet in the political games played in Madrid rather than the puppetmaster that he is at Arsenal.
Oh, and apparently there’s been a breakthrough in the Arshavin deal. This is presumably in no way related to previous breakthroughs that promised to seal the deal by the weekend.
And on that rather cynical note, we end today. ’til Tomorrow.