From a blistering first half to a backs-to-the-wall finale, it was a game that had all the signs of a typical Arsenal performance. But by the standard already set over the past two days of this incredible FA Cup weekend, this was by no means a bad result. Arsenal have now won 250 FA Cup games, but that is the least amongst the things learnt today.
- Szczesny: Still in Shrouds
How does a goalkeeper, whose team is managing to hold on to a lim away lead, towards the last minutes of a game, bowl to a defender about 30 yards from his place while the goal is absolutely gaping? It was generous of Wenger to have handed him a chance to redeem himself and while he may not be culpable for any of Brighton’s goals, he certainly has not shown enough to deserve retention going into next weekend’s game. Ospina wasn’t in the squad today but Vic Akers would be hanging his shirts and cleaning his gloves to return in goal against Villa.
- Defence Needs a Voice
Mertesacker had played every game between Everton and City, except the League Cup, and it was maybe right that he had sometime to regain some freshness, but it almost proved costly. When Hughton’s lads got courage to attack the fragile Arsenal back four, there was no one to control or address. Koscielny was individually brilliant but there was no symphony with Monreal. It was a shocker too from Chambers, bar the assist in the 90th second of the game, making strong claims for Bellerin to be crowned the right-back for League games.
- Rocking Rosicky
Yes, he should have made a better clearance before Brighton’s first goal but was this any less a masterful performance than Santi’s was against City? The Albions are an inferior team you say, but then Rosicky should be 34 and not running the whole length of a pitch, closing down defenders in their area and hitting a football so hard into the back of the net! Wenger has Cazorla, Ozil, Wilshere, etc, but Rosicky is something none of those players can have. Genius.
- Expect more from Akpom
If it was to give the 18-year old match time that Wenger has let three strikers go out on loan this season, then he did nothing to undermine that vote of confidence today, Akpom. It was necessary to have a quick player who could help take the ball upfield while the pressure was being soaked by the back four and it was exactly what the youngster did. A first League start cannot be too far away.
- Sign Da Ting, Coquelin
It was markedly different when he came on and the aggression matched with technical brilliance is light years ahead of his French senior, Flamini. There is no way Wenger will allow him not to sign that contract NOW especially if a defensive midfielder won’t be signed soon. He is the chief defender of the defenders and must be kept at a good cost.
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