Arsenal Held By Spirit Of The FA Cup

FA Cup 5th Round
Leyton Orient 1 – 1 Arsenal

0 – 1 Rosicky (53)
1 – 1 Téhoué (89)

Leyton Orient showed the spirit of the FA Cup is alive and kicking, snatching a late equaliser at Brisbane Road to gain a finanically lucrative replay at The Emirates next week. For Arsenal, it is no doubt a game that they could do without as it robs the squad of any chance of a rest in this hectic spell of fixtures.

Uncomfortable questions are being asked after another below-par performance by the ‘second string’ in this competition. The previous rounds have seen them rescued at home and away by sufficient numbers of the normal starting XI to get the club this far.

Even so, the makeshift team had the better of the majority of the match and were within minutes of achieving their objective, a win at the first time of asking. The lead which could not be established in the first half arrived courtesy of Tomàš Rosický’s first goal in over a year, not piledriver from distance for which he is perhaps more noted, instead a deftly guided header inside the far post from the edge of the area.

That it took until the 53rd minute for the first goal to arrive sums up some of the wretched luck that the forwards are suffering from. Chamakh might have had a hat-trick if he had arrived to connect with the ball a second earlier following good work on the left by Keiran Gibbs. Or if he had been able to connect more completely with a shot. Or if his header in the opening minutes had been directed more powerfully than looping into the arms of the Orient goalkeeper. It was that sort of afternoon for Chamakh; everything was a second out of sync.

He was not the only one. Bendtner snatched at an early shot, driving wide rather than on target. Arshavin had an effort which was not held onto but no-one could capitalise on the mishap. It all summed the first half up; lots of effort, control and possession for Arsenal; no goals scored but then none conceded to counter that.

Rosický provided the breakthrough eight minutes into second half. Bendtner had a shot blocked, regathered possession and forged his way to a decent position by moving to the right of the area. The cross came back and the diminutive Czech international provided much needed guile in his finish.

At that point, the thought must have been towards a quarter-final date at Old Trafford, the chance to relive some beautiful FA Cup memories and erase the nightmare of the last visit at that stage of the competition.

Orient would not let Arsenal minds wander. The desire for an equaliser and the same prize drove them on, the hosts becoming more threatening than before Arsenal scored, the introduction of the lively Téhoué a catalyst for the Eastenders.

And yet Arsenal could have secured victory around that time. Arshavin strode purposefully down the Arsenal right and as lone striker took on shooting responsibility, glancing the outside of the post with the goalkeeper beaten.

The first warnings of a frenetic closing phase of the game came when Téhoué fed Revell whose shot inched wide of the post with Almunia scrambling. Orient then claimed a penalty, the referee had a good view that Squillaci had put his face in the way of Téhoué’s ferocious drive.

It seemed that Arsenal might hold on. That proved false hope as Téhoué shuffled between two defenders with sublime close control and drilled his shot under Almunia. The equaliser arrived and credit to the French player is being lost in criticism of Almunia and Miquel for not stopping a thunderous drive or being beaten in the first instance, forgetting that Sagna also missed his tackle if that is the case with the young Spaniard.

The reaction to the draw has been almost one of defeat. Blame is being cast around individually, forgetting that this is a collective sport. Moments of brillance and madness impact the outcome but teams win and lose together. Instead old prejudices are surfacing against individuals which bear little or no semblance to the truth of yesterday’s performance.

Quite simply Arsenal missed a creative spark. Rosický, before injury robbed him of prime playing years, might have been able to fulfil that role. Now he is marginalised too often to be a major influence in such fixtures, better suited to the wider midfield positions.

Crucially though this is a side that rarely plays together and it shows. A lot of the questions being asked can be answered by a team not playing together much, understandings not being forged with a lack of time spent on the pitch together.

The result and performance are not a condemnation of the lack of depth of the squad, most if not all could seemlessly integrate into the first Xi. The impact of that is not the player coming in but the one dropping out.

It is also becoming more apparent that the three-pronged attack does not work as effectively with Bendtner and Chamakh; the Dane dislikes playing on the right and the Moroccan is surrounded by same fug which obscured Andrey Arshavin’s footballing world until a few weeks ago.

With the replay three days after the Carling Cup Final, Arsène will look to rotate once more. It is a relatively quick chance of redemption for this XI and with home advantage, they ought to take that chance comprehensively.

In the meantime, the rather important matter of a Premier League fixture with Stoke City on Wednesday is to the fore. Even before that, there is a live blog at 8pm tonight with Real Social Dad joined by myself, Arseblog and Arsespeak. Click here to join the chatter.

’til Tomorrow.

151 thoughts on “Arsenal Held By Spirit Of The FA Cup

  1. consolsbob says:

    Look NJG, you are like a blindfolded man in a dark room trying to build Tower Bridge out of matchsticks.

    Best leave it alone.

  2. mj_gunner says:

    LOL Bob, I just didn’t know how to tell him that..

  3. LimparAssist says:

    Ha! Harsh, Cb… I think NJ’s getting there… sort of… as far as can be expected… considering the blindfold.

    I’ve heard baseball fans say the 360 degree batting in cricket is the bit that makes them a tiny bit jealous… because that really does open ‘hitting’ up into a real artform where pretty much anything is possible. I think I’d probably like baseball because pitching and hitting both look so fricking difficult… I just need to watch it with someone that loves it.

    I think we pinched the term ‘chin music’ from baseball didn’t we?

    Cb, ‘I.T. Botham’ sounds like he’d be quite handy with a laptop. I agree with you… the same has happened to rugby. Really strange to see sport dehumanised like that. I don’t like it at all. (On yorkers though – they are so hard to score off – they would seem to me to be a good ‘percentage ball’ – when used sparringly – as an ‘other one’ in an over of quick stuff. But what do I know. I know they are also incrediby hard to get right so maybe that’s it). A lot of the skill has gone out of rugby… and that’s to do with sports science and every fucker being built like a brick shithouse… and no room in the team for quick hands and nimble feet which is the best bit about rugby. Thankfully you can never see that happening with cricket… and certainly not football (*genuflect*).

    …sorry, I could talk about cricket all day… especially after a 1-1 draw with Leyton Orient.

  4. LimparAssist says:

    I have mj… haven’t seen much of him though… but have heard he is rapid. Does he bowl a good yorker?!

  5. dukeGoonem says:

    bob’s just trowing NJG a googly.

  6. mj_gunner says:

    Bowls a fantastic yorker, although not his speciality. He’s known for mixing up out & in-swingers. Not too rapid either these days..

  7. consolsbob says:

    Throwing duke! Throwing!

    I may have bowled a few googlies in my time as taught me by my dear old Dad but never have I thrown one.

    The problem to me is that Cricket and baseball are not much alike. Just because there is a bat and ball involved in both sports doesn’t make them comparable and that is what many Americans try to do.

    Cricket, and I know this doesn’t go down well on this site, is the most sophisticated, and nasty, game in the world. Mind you, with the format of this current World Cup, I might start doubting that by the end of next month!

    Apparently cricket was the most popular team sport in the USA for much of the 19th Century. I don’y know why Baseball became so popular. Easier to prepare the ground perhaps, so you could play it anywhere?

  8. consolsbob says:

    The fast stuff was never my game Limpar, so I’m the wrong one to ask.

    I never minded facing it much, just couldn’t get the ball to do anything at pace.

  9. JonJon says:

    good post as usual yogi….balanced…a fair view
    the magic of the cup does spring these results…but the main issue for me is that we have struggled against the last four teams we have played..
    not one..but four..we seem to be a magnet for the cup magic this season..which is a good sign i suppose 😉
    now i think this could be a result of two things
    a…the squad players cant cut it when they all play together..tempo and cutting edge is lost…
    b..they dont take the opponent too seriously due to their ‘tiddler’ stature..concentration lapses and we get caught out too easily by teams who are ‘up for it’

    it could be argued its a good mixture of both but i think the majority percentage of the mixture is in the b category…
    the squad players could have beat any of those teams easily…even though some of them arent good enough for the PL team and we lose shape when they play, they are good enough for teams in lower tiers most definatley..
    its just lack of application and costly needless errors…if AW doesnt respect his oppo then i doubt the players will…so its gotta be b…

    we will do them at the grove but we really shouldnt need two games to beat the likes of ipswich, leeds and orient…hudds was a real struggle as well and we really shouldnt need the likes of cesc, nasri, rvp and jack to help take us through against these teams..
    thankfully we didnt pick up any injuries and the first team will not be affected and it gives us an extra game to get diaby and rambo back, as well as get some much needed confidence into chamakh….we didnt get beat either and it wasnt like it was a crap performance, we dominated them yesterday apart from a few individual errors we were pretty tidy… so the positives outweigh the negatives massively…
    thank god weve got manutd in the next round…. no more tiddlers left to frustrate the hell out of us… 😉

  10. LimparAssist says:

    For a while now I have thought cricket to be the ultimate team sport. As you say, Bob, infinitely subtle yet warlike when it wants to be. Football though, has the potential to elevate sport into art. And art trumps war… no matter how subtle.

  11. LimparAssist says:

    Prententious much? I’m going to have a shower…

  12. dukeGoonem says:

    cricket! the only sport where you play 11 of the other team and 10 of your own.

  13. vaardo says:

    Spirit of the FA Cup my arse. Almunia’s howler was the difference. The Orient player shot it straight at him and he managed to elude the ball an acrobatic dodge-ball player. AW needs to drop Almunia. Forever.

  14. Evil says:

    What is your opinion on Szczesny’s howler against Barcelona?

  15. dupsffokcuf says:

    Seems vaardo knows little about football. This line says it all.

    “The Orient player shot it straight at him and he managed to elude the ball an acrobatic dodge-ball player.”

  16. JonJon says:

    why do ppl continue to compare the barca goal to orients??
    its not even a strong arguement..its tosh…ches was megged by a few yards manny was megged by more than 12..
    by comparing the goals your just belittling one player to defend another

  17. Evil says:

    No, I am merely pointing out the hypocrisy. If Szczesny had conceded that goal yesterday you wouldn’t find half a dozen posts the day after talking about his “howler”. Case in point, the offside goal against Everton was quite similar to the one we conceded yesterday. The shot was a bit weaker but a bit better aimed.

  18. JonJon says:

    there is no hyprocrisy tho evil cos ches didnt conceed that goal..manny did..
    defend manny by all means but dont make out ches is making the same mistakes in the process..cos he aint…

  19. Evil says:

    But I pointed out an instant where he conceded a similar goal and where no one would have even pointed out that it might have been a shot that could have been saved.
    And of course there is hypocrisy. Szczesny, together with Jack, is one of the “golden boys”, so to speak. No matter what they do, they can do no wrong. While Jack has grown immensely over the course of the season in the beginning he had his fair share of mixed performances. But you wouldn’t have seen him criticised for that. However, when Diaby, Denilson or one of the other usual scapegoats performed like that, the same people that did not criticise Jack would be out in full force to heap the blame on those players.

  20. JonJon says:

    it wasnt even a similar goal mate
    and of course they are everyones golden boys..
    they are doing the biz…even AW thinks so just look at his team selections..
    denilson and almunia have been forced out of the team….and now ppl want the likes of jack and ches to be given the same gametime almunia and denilson got (which would allow them about 3-4 years worth of mistakes)…and while we are fighting for everything and not just for fourth it looks like they’ll get it…silver ware included…

  21. JonJon says:

    its not just them who are the golden boys..
    rvp, nasri, cesc, sagna, koz, jd, song…
    the whole entire first team are the golden boys..

  22. bill says:

    haha dups that should be the definition of shit defense/keeping. funny how W-Ham doesn’t have a goalkeeper crisis a la the arsenal. i crack myself up with the irony seriously. or not seriously.

  23. Joshua says:

    You got to laugh really… RVP was being slated less than two months ago for being injury prone by Arsenal bloggers up and down the web, some wanted him sold FFS. Song is being slated NOW for his supposedly uninterested performance against Orient (go figure). Kosceilny was whipping boy for a whole load of bloggers until very, very recently including the likes of the the lady at Highbury House where JonJon goes to get his views confirmed. Even Nasri was being described as a fat French waste of money only last season! And JD was around when the likes of Jonjon were baying for a new CB signing at the start of the season!

    That’s the problem with most of these folk… it’s not just that they are clueless about the particular issues (Almunia is most definitely not to blame for the goal we conceded against Orient) but they forget the very things they were saying less than a few weeks ago. Now Jonjon feels able to list all the players that he and his fellow travellers spent ages slagging off as Golden boys! If that isn’t hypocrisy I don’t know what is…

  24. team spirit says:

    That was identical to the goal scored by villa. i knew straight away that big Al, would be made a scape goat of. It is was tech9, it would be that the player had a moment of brilliance. I was glad for al’s sake that he was not the keeper versus Newcastle, else, many would have almost excused the ref just to have a go… in that game, squilachi who was not directly responsible for any goal conceded was taking the heat for the pass to diaby, that cause the tackle by barton, like barton ever needed an excuse to misbehave?

    irony was that big Al may have actually saved one or two of those pens.

    I really wish like Joshua and others have said, this selective scape goating would stop

  25. JonJon says:

    joshua i laugh at you all the time…
    ive tried to see things from your point of view but i honestly cant get my head that far up my own arse…..

    and id like to agree with you on almunia but that would make us both wrong…

    as for ‘the list’..lets just see what AW does in summer shall we son??? 😉

  26. JonJon says:

    team spirit?? eh??identical?? whatever
    im finished on this subject if some of you continue to make daft comments
    newcastle had something like 19 shots in that second half bombardment..ches let two in…cant count pens they just a lotto…he was amazing in that game..thats why he never got knocked
    it seems to me that some of you just want the likes of ches and jack to fail…
    i find it bizzare to be honest that certain players can get years of chances yet when a top player does come along you seem somewhat jealous….and are determined to pull him down in your own justifications of a no more than average performer…

  27. Joshua says:

    Team Spirit…

    I totally agree about Newcastle. I wanted to say something similar but TBH arguing about these things is often not worth the time because the people you are arguing against are not making any valid points to begin with and often there’s logic or rational thought to what they are saying just some emotional guff. Squillaci got blamed for the us giving up that 4-0 lead despite the fact that none of the goals were directly attributable to him! That’s how the scape goating thing works… find an unpopular player and blame him, it doesn’t matter whether they are blameworthy or not. I bet you that if Eboue was playing last night that some of our bloggers would have found a way to blame him for this too!

    And you are correct about the two penalties Tech9 faced against Barton… I too suspect that Almunia may well have saved one or both because he is an outstanding penalty stopper… I still remember his save against Tottenham from Robbie Keane… it’s ironic that his troubles really exploded when he injured himself saving a penalty against West Brom! I bet he wishes he’d taken himself off after the 1st half in that match now.

    Don’t get me wrong Almunia has his weaknesses and even Wenger had gotten tired of his errors but the guy is entitled to some respect and some fairness… and frankly you have to ask how many better No2 keepers are playing in the league right now. I hate this piling in on players that some people just seem to enjoy. For me it is both cowardly and fairly brainless.

    Goodnight all.

  28. JonJon says:

    fabianskis a better no.2
    too bad hes injured
    and AW has shown manny no respect either..trying to sign a ‘stop gap’ in summer…dropping him to third choice and then saying hes in no mans land in jan..
    is AW clueless also???? mmmmmm… something to ponder while you sleep…

  29. team spirit says:

    @jon jon

    that was a dramatic response to my comment. No, calm down and go back and read my comment, then read urs. where did i say newcatle was same as yesterday? i said david villas goal was similar against tech9 as yesterday.

    just give a balance criticism is all we re saying. exaclty what do i have to gain with tech9 not doing well? and Jack? where did that come from? all i spoke abput was it being made out that al was at fault for the goal and the tech9 was at fault for villa (thats barcelona’s villa not aston villa. LOL)

    just use the same yard stick for criticism… what made tech9 amazing in that game letting in 2 goals and al the worst keeper ever letting in one?

  30. team spirit says:

    it is the way u guys go about criticising certain [layers that drawa the comparisms being made. make no mistake i am happy for tech9, he is taking his chances which is what i did advocate when he was delaying signing his contraact… he would have missed out to the chance that ahs currently been presented to him.

    just the same way AW has gradually brought jack and teck 9 into the team rather than rush them in response to clamour from the fans is how i want u to trust him on the others. yes he is man and can make mistakes and some players can let him down at times, but just the way arshavin is getting back to form, is how the others should be allowed to find their feet again coming back from injuries and all that.

    it is not an attempt to say tech9 is not due the chance he has gotten, just allow the others to be, they are not as bad as u guys make them out to be

  31. JonJon says:

    nah mate you said it was identical…when it wasnt
    and you brought up newcastle asserting the irony that manny might have saved the two pens..
    thats what you said you need to read your own comments…

    look we can do the scapegoat thing all day but the fact remains that your scapegoats are not getting the games they once did… they are out of the team so unless AW is scapegoating them too then i dont see what your asserting with all this ‘if jack did this’ and ‘but if chesny did that’

    it just looks like the green eyed monster to me…

  32. Gainsbourg69 says:

    Limestone: “Might be the best thing for Ryo not to have got that visa right now. He is getting first team action; I know it is “just” the Eredivisie but he is very young and doesn’t need to be playing in such a physical league right now as he grows into his body.”

    Romario and Ronaldo played in the Eredivisie at one point in their career before becoming superstars at Barcelona. That league may be small but it punches way above its weight as far as competitiveness is concerned. Not to mention that it produces some of the best players on the planet.

  33. team spirit says:

    That was identical to the goal scored by villa… that’s my starting line… identical to villa’s goal not identical to the new castle match.

    how does this relate to your comment
    “team spirit?? eh??identical?? whatever
    im finished on this subject if some of you continue to make daft comments
    newcastle had something like 19 shots in that second half …”

    newcastle was brought up by me as a typical example of a game where the keeper was hardle at fault, but because it was tech 9, this was easy to see. if it had been Al in goal, u can bet he would have been declared the cause of the collapse in exactly the same way squillachi was taking the blame for coming on for an injured JD, even though he hardly caused any of the goal…. that was not to compare the two matches, rather the blame thing…. read it again

  34. shottagunna says:

    Firstlady | February 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    – I am not biting but to set the record straight, in all my posts I avoided the D- word like a plague. However I despise the mindless scapegoating of Almunia and Denilson and I don’t hesitate to “smack down” the perpetrators.
    – I may have disappointed some (Paul N?) by revealing honestly how I felt about yesterday’s game but I make no apologies. Time will tell. If Rosicky proves wrong I will be the first to apologize.
    – Strange thing though is how many are longing for the return of Diaby and Ramsey. Seems something is lacking in that midfield when Cesc or Nasri are out.

  35. Limestonegunner says:

    Gainsbourg, I know that. That is exactly why I put “just” in the quotation marks. Thanks for the memories particularly of Ronaldo as he has just retired, but you could have pointed out more relevantly that RvP played in the Dutch league at Ryo’s age.

  36. Limestonegunner says:

    You can admit it, Shotta. You were a closet doomer, and coming out isn’t always easy, so I support you in your courageous decision to be yourself!

    But seriously, it is a reasonable point to raise though it isn’t sufficient to explain the problems we have had with lower league sides, particularly when we make wholesale changes. Many of the other reasons have been suggested. My own sense is that Song-Denilson isn’t a very dynamic pairing and that Chamakh and Bendtner seldom seem to combine well on the front line. Maybe the rust will be shaken off for the replay. In the meantime, we have to support Rosicky like all our players for the rest of the season, look forward to his better play on the right, and hope that they all do well, as they all have important roles to play in our four competition season.

  37. shottagunna says:

    Limestonegunner | February 22, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    L/G – I read something elsewhere by Ole Gunner, a veteran of this blog but who doesn’t post as much these days (I wonder why), bluntly stating that Song was our worst player on the pitch. I too was critical of his awful passing during the game and in some respects I think my Rosicky point is way too focussed. My general point is our midfield was blunt and lacked creativity.

  38. Limestonegunner says:

    Shotta, you don’t need to cite Ole as an authority to me, since I already agree that your point was a reasonable one to raise in discussion. In fact, I added to the issue about our midfield by my own observation that the Song-Denilson partnership hasn’t been as dynamic as other pairings, imo.

    It seems you missed it, so I’ll point out that the first part was a joke.

  39. Henristic says:

    Shotta is a closet doomer? Hmmm, now that you mention it, he has had some unsavoury words to say about Nasri too in the past, e.g. slating him for not shaking Gallas’s hand in our match against the Totts.
    How could you shotta, you’ve been fooling us all these years! 😉
    Maybe thats why you spew so much venom against doomers on this site. Some kinda self hate issues going on….? lol

    On a slightly more serious note, I think you’re missing First Lady’s point, which is that you can’t slate Rosicky in one breath and then accuse JJ of doing the same to Almunia in another.
    Now, I don’t think for a minute you were criticizing rosicky in a thoughtless, ‘doomish’ way. You kinda backed up your opinion of him with some ‘evidence’. But so did JJ. Why then are you on his back for doing something you’re also doing?

  40. Ole Gunner says:

    Song was dreadful but the problem is expecting 11 players who’re not physically sharp (they don’t play a lot of games) to come in cold and be fantastic.

    But we can’t have it any other way. We have too many games, so it’s an advantage to rotate. As the ‘business end of the season’ approaches, it’s necessary to get the rest of the squad involved as they will invariably be called on to fill in for the XI that features frequently.

    It’s a bit of chicken and egg. They need to be playing frequently to be sharp and play at their best, but if they’re not at their best they can’t play frequently.

    There are some attitude problems involved as well of course. But there’s no reason any XI selected at Arsenal shouldn’t beat League 1 sides.

  41. ZimPaul says:

    I thought well done Orient, good goal too, passing their way at the death. Nice team I thought.

    Other than that the exciting thing for me was to watch Miquel (I haven’t seen him play before), and I really liked what I saw. This is a talent! I do wonder Eastmond isn’t getting some game time. Is he out on loan.

    The team wasn’t too impressive, Bendtner’s touch a little sloppy, Chamakh rusty and even usually so impressive Gibbs not up to his standard. Song was fine on the whole, and acted as pivot to a number of attacks.

    I’m pretty sure Wenger’s analysis would have been disappointment on the attacking side, not the defensive side, but Orient played their part in that.

    Just for the record 22 Feb and still in all 4 cups, a magnificent achievement.

    COZ (world cup).

  42. Gadget says:

    Joshua’s got more patience than me! I definately would have told Jon Jon to fuck off with far less respect and rather aggressively for his last comment! In fact the mere suggestion that we argue vehemently for Almunia and Denny to be some kind of perverse subtle player bashing is grossly stupid, incorrect and offensive.

  43. Gadget says:

    It occurs to me that the team which played against Orient, while not winning, they generally don’t lose games. They just need something to take them over the edge, be it a moment of individual brilliance or telepathic team dynamism.

  44. dukeGoonem says:

    yeah well done gadget, tell jon jon to fuck off coz je brings his opinion to the tabel which is different to yours. he isnt telling Wenger to fuck off unlike them cunts over at le groan.

    I had a read after the barca game and not one fukin comment praised Wenger for his tactics or subs but as soon as we drew with orient the old Wenger is a cunt he didnt make no subs shit came out, tell you what gadget why dont you go over there and tell some proper doomers to fuck off.

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