Arsenal Stumble Through Cup Terriers

FA Cup, 4th Round
Arsenal 2 – 1 Huddersfield Town

1 – 0 Bendtner (21)
1 – 1 Lee (66)
2 – 1 Fabregas (86 pen)

Arsenal progressed to an FA Cup Fifth Round meeting at Brisbane Road thanks to a late penalty from Cesc saving the day, a common theme in this season’s cup campaign. When Arsenal have played Huddersfield or Orient in the FA Cup, five of the six seasons has seen Arsenal reach Wembley for the final. That they have lost four of those finals is something we might want to forget. Or not think about. Curiously enough, those finals have all been against teams Arsenal has defeated in this season’s cup runs.

The effort Huddersfield put into yesterday’s match should not be undervalued. They threatened and played well against the ten men of Arsenal and will feel disappointed not to have come away with a replay.

That that there were only ten men on the Arsenal side is baffling. How Huddersfield were not reduced to a similar number when a penalty was awarded for a foul on Bendtner is beyond comprehension. Arsène said afterwards that he would be more lenient in his punishment in the penalty area. It is irrelevant the sector of the pitch an infringment occurs; if the last man is in the centre circle or the penalty area, they should be dismissed. That the referee was Mark Clattenburg says it all; he is the benchmark of inconsistency.

Of more concern is the injury to Samir Nasri. Arsène’s initial prognosis was that the French international would be missing for three weeks, removing him from the first leg of the Champions League tie with Barcelona. It is tempting to say that this was an avoidable injury. In that there was no need for Nasri to play, that is true. That the hamstring might have gone on Tuesday is an imponderable. Diaby and Rosicky in being fit enough for the bench, were surely fit enough to start?

Arsène has never lost to lower league opposition in the FA Cup; that record might quite easily have gone south with Sebastien Squillaci’s dismissal. A match of 10 v 11 is never an easy one for the reduced numbers to play but one that they are prepared for nonetheless. The Frenchman can have no arguments about his dismissal, Eboué was running in a straight line and in no position to cover the centre back.

Once that point had been reached, it was a case of retaining the ball, weathering Huddersfield storms and (hopefully) increasing the lead which had been established. It worked out for them, just about.

The opening phase had been indifferent for Arsenal, Arshavin raked the side-netting with a shot whilst Bendtner’s miskick revealed previously unnoticed comic timing. Within sixty seconds the Dane was having the final word for the derision heaped upon him by the visiting fans. Nasri repeated his accurate pass from the previous minute, Bendtner’s effort was goalbound before Lee’s intervention took it away from the goalkeeper’s grasp.

Lee almost responded immediately for the visitors whilst Denilson weakly gave the ball to the same opponent, who set Pilkington for a cross which evaded everyone and the far post. Arsenal had possession but were not wearing the Yorkshiremen down, Huddersfield looking the more likely to score at that point. Bendtner tried to rectify that with an effort which was blocked at the near post.

In the final fifteen minutes of the half, the afternoon would go from bad to worse. Nasri’s hamstring meant the introduction of Rosicky whilst Squillaci’s dismissal would eventually see Alex Song enter the fray, Denilson tried to make himself available to Arsène as the seventh centre back at the club. It didn’t work.

Huddersfield tried to capitalise on the numeric advantage, Pilkington headed wide adding to the pressure that the reshuffled Arsenal side had to contend with. Half-time was reached though with the scoreline still showing an Arsenal lead which despite the visitors endeavour was probably a fair reflection of the first half.

The second would be a different story. Denilson fluffed his audition in the centre of defence and Chamakh was replaced by Song, the Cameroonean partnering Koscielny. Huddersfield became more threatening and only an outstanding intervention from Arshavin prevented the scoreline showing parity. It merely delayed the inevitable.

Midway through the second half and Lee saw Almunia make an outstanding save from his header, the former would have the final word on the matter, powering home another header from close range. Lee was unmarked and unchallenged, the visitor had shaken Diaby too easily.

The introduction of Cesc was once more necessary to revitalise the team. It did so with Koscielny and Bendtner twice testing the visitors nerves. As the final minutes approached, Cesc drove into the area and squared for Bendtner. McCombe intervened illegally and Cesc calmly scored the ensuing penalty.

Much is being made of the Spaniard’s request that the referee show the red card; it is unfortunately detracting from the debate as to why Clattenburg only produced a yellow. Perhaps the PGMO might allow officials to explain their decisions post-match, transparency being such a big thing in football in recent years.

This was a performance that began tepidly and became distorted by the dismissal of Squillaci. It was too reminscent of the home match against Leeds; too many players performances were lower than expected. Some surprisingly so, Gibbs and Chamakh chiefly. It is an XI that rarely plays together and it shows. With two games per week for the foreseeable future, the players will need to up their performance levels as they will be required to play between now and the end of March.

Derision greeted the noted attendance when it was announced, the fact that 59,375 tickets were sold but not everyone turned up escapes people’s attention. What is the problem with this concept that has seen scorn poured on the club for reporting the ticket sales?

A forgettable lunchtime, subdued players, subdued crowd. Attention turns to Everton’s visit when an improvement from all is to be expected.

’til Tomorrow.

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254 thoughts on “Arsenal Stumble Through Cup Terriers

  1. Nasir Jones-Nasri says:

    How about Bill’s Chavs fellas? Looks like they got Torres AND a CB!!! I bet Bill can barely contain himself. Must be on cloud 9 right now.

  2. Irishgray says:

    Am watching the highlights again, Song. and Cesc really are playing great together this season and seem to have a really good understanding of their respective positioning when they try and break. Really enjoy watching that.

  3. Muppet says:

    If ever there was a statement of the genius of Arsene Wenger goonerwife, there it is.

  4. 1 loose cannon says:

    if Bendtner was english he will be worth 50 million and Chamakh who is in my opinipn a better footballer than Caroll is worth at least 60 millions. if these are the prices in the market today you can imagine how much Nasri and RVP are worth. lets not even mention Fabregas.

  5. JonJon says:

    yeah i agree
    the one this bollox does do is immediately rasie the value of some of our players beyond the realms of even thinking about

  6. Jo says:

    Well at least when Barca come sniffing around again we can just say give us $80 mil or fuck off!

  7. Bill says:

    How can we loan Kyle Bartley to a different club but we can not recall him from loan? That does not make much sense.

  8. dukegoonem says:

    How can we sell Fabregas for less then 50 mil now.

    Are we all going to stay up and wait for a defender???

    nah thought not goodnight all. may the injury gods be with us.

  9. JonJon says:

    we can tell them to fuck off even for that…
    we want a world record now…100+ or no chance

  10. Passenal says:

    He has never played in the PL Bill, clearly there must have been an issue about his current loan situation, and another loan will be of more value for his future development. What is the point of having a novice sitting on the bench just in case when he could be developing by playing somewhere else?

  11. dukegoonem says:

    Chelsea have today announced annual losses of 70million. so much for the fifa fair rules play shite then.

  12. Passenal says:

    dukegoonem | January 31, 2011 at 9:54 pm |

    That’s the attitude duke! Believe in the power of positive thinking or you will attract what you fear the most. All that dooming about red cards and injuries can only lead to one outcome.

  13. dupsffokcuf says:

    jack_wilshere on twitter
    BREAKING TRANSFER NEWS: I have just moved from the sofa to my bed!!

  14. dukegoonem says:

    just erd the scousers are burning Andy Carroll shirts now!

  15. Passenal says:

    This is one of my favourite Twitter comments tonight from Benik Afobe

    “Liverpool F.C will feature on BBC show Real Hustle tonight at 9pm … Hahahahaha”

  16. Bill says:

    Pass:

    I agree completely, wish he would go a PL team to get some real top flight experience. I never thought we should recall him but a lot of regulars had asked about that and the consensus was that we could not modify his loan

  17. JonJon says:

    i dont play on twitter but thanks for the updates those comments where hilarious…

  18. JonJon says:

    my pal made me laugh earlier
    he made a comment stating breaking news, manutd reject a world record bid for howard webb lol

  19. Muppet says:

    WHERE IS OUR ENGLISH CENTRE BACK ARSENE ?

  20. Dexter says:

    Jeeez the murdoch media love old twitchy, not one signing yet they have given that old carpet bagger mire air time than anyone.They’re even resorting to goin on about how van der vaart was the coup of the summer transfer to make it topical to keep on showing his butt ugly old twichy mug!

  21. Bradys right foot says:

    Gobsmacked by the events at Liverpool and Chelsea today. £50 million for a player who looks a shadow of his former self and £35 million for potential. £bramovic has to write off another £70 million in losses for a team in terminal decline and fund two transfers that will total somewhere over the terms of the contracts close in the region of £150 million. Imagine they fooked up and missed out on on the champions league and if Liverpool put a run together and got fourth it would be the end of Chelski .

    I expect Arsenal to be active in the market in the summer, it makes sense as that money will be accounted for as part of the fair play rules. A little will go an awful long way while the likes of city and chelsea wont be able to spend a penny.

  22. Dexter says:

    I bet Andy Carroll is on to his 12th pint of newcy brown, 5th line of charlie and 3rd hooker by now, giddy as a kipper at the news of his new wages. oh and playing for Liverpool is really nice too Im sure.

  23. JonJon says:

    the summer will be where its at for us
    its alwasy a busy one really,
    wenger is customed for his mini clear out..08 it was the midfeild, o9 we got shut of ade and kolo, 10 we changed the CB personell..
    11 should be another busy one….
    wenger has already said he thinks the squad is too large…judging by our cup teams this year and the quality of player out on loan i would agree
    making changes in halfway thru the season is not wengers style really and it would be counter productive…but i expect the summer will be different..
    oh well now its over we can get back to normal and lets just hope those CB’S hold out for another few months…

  24. Dexter says:

    I think bartley going to rangers is a great move for all concerned. Bartley will get even more experience and play uder a vey experienced coach who is well veresed in the dark arts (defending!)

  25. FunGunner says:

    @ dups

    That Twitter comment from Jack is hilarious. He has the right attitude to this transfer nonsense.

  26. JonJon says:

    im not sure to be honest dexter
    i think the championship is alot more competitive than the SPL..
    saying that, it will give him experience at a big club and he might win a medal or two..come back a ready made winner
    so now im going to contradict myself in the same comment and end up agreeing with you 😉

  27. FunGunner says:

    Be nice if Lansbury and JET came back, though. I really like those two. And of course JET can play CB as well… Tongue in cheek (my own), before anyone starts.

  28. els says:

    dups you are on form tonight mate haha.

  29. Dexter says:

    jonjon

    Yeah the championship is probably more compettive, but he’s been there, done that! Plaing for Rangers will be another step up I reckon, all good mate. And Rangers play celtic thi weeknd too.

    fungunner

    I think JET should stay on loan, he needs game time whereas lanburycould come in for us. I really like him and his tenacity and industry would be a real benefit to the team, not to mention his talent.

  30. els says:

    Hats off to Blackpool tonight. Looks like they’ve beaten off twitchy, keeping hold of Adam and signed a few bodies. Last few days i’m starting to have a bit of respect for that club.

  31. els says:

    Yeah please please let us get Lansbury for the first team next season.

  32. JonJon says:

    yup..
    all of those boys mentioned..
    and what about frimpong as well
    he was doing great in pre season and he’ll be back next season, maybe to study under song..
    i wouldnt like to be wenger in summer…some tough decisions but our academy is defo bearing fruit..

  33. dupsffokcuf says:

    The moaners will be out in force tomorrow after Arsenal announce the signing of Rio Miyaichi and no one else. We actually trialled Miyaichi in August so old news really.

  34. Gainsbourg69 says:

    GW:
    “Torres: £50m. Carroll: £35m or Szczesny, Clichy, Djourou, Vermaelen, Sagna, Fabregas, Song, Wilshere, Nasri, RVP, Walcott collectively= £44m”

    You can add Diaby, Denilson, Fabianski, Bendtner, Eboue and Chamakh to push above or at just £50 m.

  35. JonJon says:

    im hearing fabianski is out for the season??
    anybody else heard anything similiar..
    it would explain why almunia has stayed when it seemed not so long ago wenger was ready to let him leave

  36. OneOfUs says:

    Just look at our glorious leader’s record in recent years – no Trabelsi, no Cana, no Quaresma, no Veloso. The man has no eye for potential. When will he listen to the fans?

    Seriously, SSN was obscene tonight. “Money porn” was spot on – Dowie and Cascarino were certainly tumescent. And yet I couldn’t look away.

  37. OneOfUs says:

    Just look at our glorious leader’s record in recent years – no Trabelsi, no Cana, no Quaresma, no Veloso. The man has no eye for potential. When will he listen to the fans?

    Seriously, SSN was obscene tonight. “Money p*rn” was spot on – Dowie and Cascarino were certainly tumescent. And yet I couldn’t look away.

  38. dupsffokcuf says:

    Big Al – I cannot stand SSN most days but on deadline day it’s definitely a no no

  39. 1 loose cannon says:

    Abramovich is going to buy Chelsea again

  40. OneOfUs says:

    I think I’m above it most of the time, Steve, but Caught Offside told me there was a SHOCKING TRANSFER taking place, so I decided to check it out.

  41. OneOfUs says:

    He’s got a real problem but he’s in denial; he kept saying everything was dead and nothing was on the cards, but he wasn’t fooling anyone. He couldn’t fight the inner wheeler-dealer.

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