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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Giroud double helps Arsenal into next round of Cup

A brace from Olivier Giroud and a strike from Theo Walcott helped Arsenal reach the fifth round of the FA Cup thanks to a 3-2 win over Brighton on Saturday afternoon at the Amex. It was a far from convincing performance but Giroud put in one of his best displays in an Arsenal shirt as the hosts twice came from behind to draw level. However it was the Gunners that ran out victors and were through to the next round to play Blackburn. Wenger made a few changes from the mid-weeks win over West Ham in the League. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rosicky came in for Cazorla and Walcott whilst Diaby returned to the starting line-up in place of Wilshere. There were also changes at the back as Jenkinson, Santos and Koscielny all started as Mertesacker captained the side.
Olivier Giroud scored two great goals as Arsenal reached round 5
The first chance came on 14 minutes and it went Brighton's way. The ball was flicked into Barnes who was one on one with Szczesny but he stood his ground and made the save.

Arsenal were to take the lead though as a minute later they countered with Rosicky down the right hand side. He then found Podolski who layed it to Giroud and he curled the ball round the defender and into the back of the net from outside the box.

Brighton then thought they had grabbed an equaliser, however it was ruled out for offside. Santos lost the ball and then Buckley slid the ball across goal. It found Ulloa via the palms of Szczesny who was then left with a simple tap in but for the linesman who disallowed it.

However the hosts then did get their goal and it was more poor defending. Lopez received the ball from a short corner and then swung the ball onto the head of Barnes who got ahead of Szczesny unmarked to nod the ball home.

The score at half time was 1-1.

The first chance of the half came from an unfamiliar source as Jenkinson picked up the loose ball and then drove it towards goal but it was saved well by Ankergren.

Arsenal were then awarded with a free-kick after El-Abd brought down Oxlade-Chamberlain. It was Podolski who took it and he curled the ball over the wall and then against the bar.

Moments later it was indeed 2-1 to the Gunners. Abou Diaby played a brilliant ball over the defence and into Giroud who took a touch before firing past the keeper.

Giroud then had a chance to grab his hat-trick as Rosicky played the ball into him but this time Ankergren was there to make the save.

It was an end to end game and Brighton then got an equaliser. Barnes got the ball on the right and then picked out Ulloa inside the box who headed past Szczesny for 2-2.

The Gunners once more came close with a free-kick, this time through Giroud as he lifted the ball over the wall but just over the bar.

Giroud was in great form but then he wasted another chance, scuffing his shot into the ground after Podolski had pulled the ball back to him.

With 5 minutes left, Arsenal were ahead once more. The ball came out to Walcott following a corner and he struck a shot which came off Ankergren and found its way into the goal.

Walcott could have had another soon after as he raced to get the ball and was then fouled by El-Abd. However he got back up and managed to find a shot but it was saved. 

Brighton then had a claim for a penalty in the dying minutes as Jenkinson looked to have brought down Mackail-Smith but the referee waved away the protests.

The final score finished Brighton 2-3 Arsenal.

The teams lineups:

Brighton: Ankergren, Calderon, Greer(37), El-Abd, Bridge, Bridcutt, Hammond, Lopez, Buckley(45), Barnes, Ulloa(74).
Subs: Kuszczak, Painter, Dicker(37), Orlandi, LuaLua(45), Vicente, Mackail-Smith(74).

Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Santos(79), Diaby, Ramsey, Rosicky(69), Oxlade-Chamberlain(69), Podolski, Giroud. 
Subs: Mannone, Sagna, Gibbs(79), Wilshere(69), Cazorla, Arshavin, Walcott(69). 

My man of the match: Olivier Giroud

Referee: Michael Oliver
Attendance: 27,113

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