Showing posts with label FA Cup semifinal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FA Cup semifinal. Show all posts

24 April 2017

About this 3-4-3 of ours, is it the Arsènor's New Clothes?

It was a shift borne of desperation. Having conceded 25 goals across nine fixtures, some kind of shake-up was desperately needed, if only for the sake of shaking things up. After all, it's one thing to conceded five to Bayern. It's quite another to concede three to West Brom. Or again to Crystal Palace. Whatever the case, the shake-up had to happen. The only real question was whether this would happen in the squad or the front-office. With Arsenal's fortunes fading fast, we at least got the former. Whether the latter is still necessary is an open question. For now, let's take a closer look at how well this 3-4-3 worked. After all, we won two in a row for the first time since January. Surely, there's something in it?

23 April 2017

The FA Cup: where Mancs' hopes go to die...

It wasn't supposed to be like this, not after trudging just barely past Middlesbrough and being embarrassed at Selhurst Park. We were supposed to fold, to crumble, to pull up tent-stakes. The early signals were there: we went down 0-1. City had a goal wrongly disallowed and struck woodwork not once, but twice. That new 3-4-3 formation was getting picked apart. However, from somewhere, from the deepest of depths, we summoned something. Maybe it's the magic of the FA Cup. Maybe it's something to do with Wembley. Maybe Guardiola's a bit of a fraud. Whatever the proximate cause, the effect is that Arsenal's going to Wembley for the FA Cup final! Whether that's enough to resurrect a season is another question for another day. For now, it's enough to announce that we defeated Guardiola's Man City squad, denying him silverware for the first time in his managerial career. Whatever. For now, let's get to the player-ratings poll!

21 April 2017

Urgency, Intensity, Desire: can Arsenal one-up Man City?

Be careful what you wish for, the tired old saying goes. And so it is with the FA Cup semifinal. Given a selection of drawing Tottenham, Chelsea, or Man City, how many of us heaved a sigh of relief at drawing City? At this stage of the FA Cup, of course, it's rare that one gets to choose a non-League side. Still, such are the state of things that we'd prefer to avoid our North London rivals, at least for now, preferring to face a side that was finished first or second in the Prem in four of the last five seasons. Man City may not intimidate the way they used to, and we've actually done tolerably well against them of late, perhaps well enough to engender a bit of hope if not confidence?

18 April 2015

In which I rant against those who whinge and whine. We won. On to Wembley—again.

We're through to the final. No, it wasn't glorious, and, yes, we failed to steamroll Reading as we'd done so many times before. After having scored 16 goals in our last three outings against them, expectations were sure to soar. However, it didn't take long for the hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing to set in as we struggled to break down a side that looked bound and determined to hang on by the skin of their teeth until penalties. It's almost enough to make one pine for that time a year ago when we waltzed confidently past Wigan to—oh. Right. Anyone who expected a cakewalk to the final doesn't get the FA Cup.

Reading 1-2 Arsenal: Vote for Player Ratings/MotM

Alexis found his way through after a brilliant pass from Mesut Özil, but it was a scrappy first-half that ended 1-0. Shortly after half-time, sloppy defending gave Reading's Garath McCleary a chance to squib a shot through Gibbs's legs and past Szczęsny, who really should have done much better. From there, things opened up as Reading gained confidence. Gabriel hit the post with a header, and Ramsey had a golden chance in the 83rd but hit the post from close range while being mugged. That's where regulation ended. In extra-time, Reading dropped deep to hold out for penalties, to the point that Coquelin was subbed off for Walcott as we pressed for the winner. Of all the ways to find a goal, Alexis's shot squirted past Federici, who had been massive throughout. The Royals came out angry, though, and created a few chances for themselves. Ultimately, though, they didn't have quite enough to overcome the deficit, and Arsenal are through to the final. Give our lads what they deserve in the ratings-poll below...

FA Cup Semifinal: Can Arsenal run rough-shod over Reading?

Mention “Arsenal” and “Reading” and thoughts surely flash back to that rather-infamous 5-7 League Cup clash, in which Arsenal a 1-4 halftime deficit into a scintillating, breath-taking and heart-breaking (for Reading) 5-7 win, courtesy of a Walcott hat-trick and a brace from Chamakh. Fast forward more than two years and only (a few of) the names have changed.