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Arsenal can kick-off from FA Cup victory against Wigan

SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 13 Apr 2014, 17:29 IST
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Arsenal players celebrate beating Wigan Athletic to qualify for the finals of the FA Cup

Arsenal players celebrate beating Wigan Athletic to qualify for the finals of the FA Cup

After Wojciech Szczesny took that rather cheeky selfie at White Hart Lane, Arsenal failed to win a single game up till last night where, worryingly, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey fancied one of those shots as well. Let’s just hope that the forthcoming implications aren’t the same.

After yet another disappointing display of football by a drained out Arsenal team, Wenger was found praising the opposition in his post-match press conference. However, the frown that was quite evitable in the past weeks was missing and instead, he smiled at the end of it and hoped it would rejuvenate this squad that’s lacking some true strength at what would be the most important part of their season.

Arsenal beat Wigan Athletic thanks to back-up goalkeeper, ?ukasz Fabia?ski. The Pole made two astonishing saves for Arsenal at the penalty shootout after both sides failed to score in extra time after ending the ninety minutes a goal each.

Arsenal started strong, for a change, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finding Yaya Sanogo with a perfect cross only for the young Frenchman to head it straight at the goalkeeper’s feet. After that, Wigan took over and Arsenal looked just like themselves from the past few weeks.

Jordi Gomez struck a fine penalty after big Per Mertesacker brought down the tricky Callum McManaman inside the penalty box. Just as Wigan celebrated the goal, tweets started flowing as to whom Arsenal should sign in the summer and exactly where they should put the pike with Arsene Wenger’s head on, a la Game of Thrones.

Throughout the game, Oxalde-Chamberlain remained our only source of attacking threat with Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski being mere bystanders. Sanogo tried and tried and you’ve got to give it to the young man, he kept going; be it three at the back or four, Sanogo was trying so hard to create something for the side that by the end of it, he couldn’t even run to congratulate Fabia?ski.

No one knows what’s happened to Podolki. The German made an explosive start for us last season but that enthusiasm, we so regularly saw, has turned stale and is by no means as effective as it was.

I, surely along with all of you, was delighted to see Aaron Ramsey in the starting eleven. Our Welsh Wizard hasn’t started a game since Boxing Day and the he played nearly a hundred and ten minutes which scares me. On the pitch, however, he wasn’t as effective as before but you couldn’t expect more from him. He played his part and judging by some of his turns and that little flick to get Oxlade-Chamberlain into the box, his confidence is intact and we could use some of that for the remainder of the season. How I wish he scored a goal.

Our defence was solid apart from Nacho Monreal who, just like Podolski and Giroud, has lost of that panache he brought into the team in the beginning. He was taken off just before they scored and on came Kieran Gibbs to replace him. If it wasn’t for Fabia?ski making those saves, I’d give the Man of the Match to young Englishman.

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He rampaged on the left constantly acting as a left winger and almost scored an incredible goal only for their goalkeeper to push away. He offered us another outlet in our attack with his strength and pace and that’s something Monreal should work on. He’s decent defensively but this is Arsenal and we love our full-backs to not be full-backs.

Speaking of full-backs, Bacary Sagna was once again solid at right-back and didn’t allow too much movement from them but offensively, contributed as much as Podolski.

Mikel Arteta had mixed game in midfield, he kept intercepting and knocking them down as they counter-attacked, which was good, but when he has the ball, he didn’t look front too often which was one reason our attacks were sour. Our midfield is where we start our attack and they were very stale and that could’ve been better.

Overall, Arsenal could’ve performed better, much like previous weeks, but they’ve won a spot in the finals of the FA Cup and that is something to cheer about. Don’t listen to Roy Keane; he’s a teddy bear stabber.

Published 13 Apr 2014, 17:29 IST
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