Momentum is hard to generate when you are under pressure and every performance is examined, dissected and picked at liked volovants on a 1970′s party buffet.
Arsenal have made a recent history of making things hard for themselves in games, starting off games and refusing to play until the second half begins. As a fan its frustrating to see us struggle so up until halftime, then a few stern words from Arsène puts their heads on straight and they come out as world beaters. If we didn’t give teams the head start our season could be very different.
You can only play who is in front of you and Saturday saw us take on the Seagulls at the spangly new Amex stadium. Confidence was high following the excellent victory against West Ham in midweek.
Arsène made several changes, resting Gibbs, Sagna, Cazorla, Wilshire and Walcott whilst Vermaelen missed the game through injury. Rosicky returned to the line up along with Santos, Jenkinson, Ramsey, Koscielny and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Per Mertesacker took on the Captain’s armband.
The game against Brighton and Hove Albion promised to be a corker and it didn’t disappoint. Arsenal and Brighton both started brightly with Arsenal edging the early pressure, but the first real chance fell to Brighton when they broke through in the 14th minute, Sczcesny saved well and that started the move which culminated in the first Arsenal goal. Direct running from Rosicky created space, Podolski played the ball off smartly to Giroud in space on the edge of the box and he finished with aplomb high into the corner of the net.
Brighton were not so easily despatched however and they kept up their swashbuckling raids and despite early Arsenal pressure equalised before half-time with an Ashley Barnes header. They targetted our left-back area and exploited Santos’s lack of match fitness.
Halftime came and went and the second half started well with more great goals. Diaby hit a great ball over the top, bringing back memories of Alex Song’s hollywood passes to RvP. Giroud watched the ball drop over his shoulder took a touch to control and then buried it past the ‘keeper with his second. He is getting better and better and that bodes well for his Arsenal career.
Santos continued to find himself the focus of Brighton’s attentions and it wasn’t long until it bore fruit when Barnes hit a cross that bamboozled our centre-backs and the debutant Ulloa headed past a rooted Sczcesny. We should have soon much better on all aspects of that. Santos should have stopped the cross, he didn’t stop one all game. The BFG should have been goal-side of Ulloa and Sczcesny could have claimed it.
Sensing the Arsenal still had plenty to give, we began to turn the screw and Arsène seeing the opportunity to put the tie to bed introduced Wilshire and Walcott for Rosicky and the Ox. Walcott’s raw pace immediately made the Seagulls nervous and it was no surprise when the ball fell to the inform Walcott he shot on sight and a deflection saw it past the ‘keeper.
Arsenal saw the game out with confidence and march on to the 5th round and a home tie with Blackburn.
This is a winnable competition now with interesting results in this round leaving this a real opportunity for silverware with the Spuds, the Bin dippers, Villains and Chelski facing an unwanted replay.
Come on you Gooners!