Welcome to my Arsenal blog for the 2015/16 season; here you can check out my thoughts on the current goings on at the club.
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Monday, 17 February 2014

Arsenal avenge defeat last week to reach quarter-finals

Arsenal responded in perfect fashion as they bounced back from a thrashing last weekend to knock Liverpool out of the Cup. Losing 5-1 last weekend and drawing 0-0 in the week meant the side had something to prove and they certainly did that by beating Liverpool 2-1 in the last 16 of the FA Cup. It was an improved performance from what we've seen in recent weeks and it was quite a response. I must admit I was little worried when I saw who Wenger had decided to name in the starting line-up but he clearly proved a lot us wrong. Yaya Sanogo was a strange inclusion as he started his first game for the club. Meanwhile Carl Jenkinson started for the first time since mid December along with Lukasz Fabianski who continued as our 'Cup keeper'.
Fabianski was in inspired form as Arsenal beat Liverpool
Unlike our previous two matches there have been some standout performances to talk about. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's form since he's returned from injury has been brilliant. To make the cliche saying of he's been like a new signing is quite right though. With Theo out injured, the Ox has been the perfect replacement. He carried on his great run in the side with both a goal and assist yesterday in a performance that was certainly inspirational in us reaching the quarter-finals. His first goal was a well controlled finish from close range. A rare goal in the first half of a match at the Emirates.

Our second goal was a thing of beauty though. The Ox fed Ozil the ball who then played a brilliantly weighted through ball back into the path of Chamberlain. He left Agger for dead with his pace before picking out Podolski to slide the ball home on his weaker foot. Another signal of intent from the German as to why he should start more often. He now has six goals in twelve appearances this season.

Another sparkling performance and a contender for man of the match was our sub keeper Lukasz Fabianski. Often left out in the shadows he has been brilliant when called upon this season. Last season when Szczesny had a spell out of the side he was quite brilliant and yesterday he showed his class once again. The Pole was on hand to keep out several chances that fell to Suarez and Sturridge, something that not many goalkeepers have been able to do this season. Fabianski managed to keep us in the game and was a huge reason as to why we won. It's a shame he's leaving at the end of the season but you can't blame him, he's a quality keeper and he needs to be playing week in, week out. It was the second game in a row where our goalkeepers have shown their class. Szczesny was awarded the man of the match award in midweek remember. 

Yaya Sanogo did himself no harm on his first start for the club either. He was perhaps a surprise inclusion as Nicklas Bendtner wasn't even included in the match day squad. However the tall French striker played a big part in the first goal and was a presence up front. He was often isolated and was a little clumsy but he made some good runs in behind and didn't always play with his back to goal like Giroud does.

After a week of negatives in terms of not beating the same opponents last weekend and not beating United, this was a big big win, especially going into the game against Bayern. It should bring us a lot of confidence and you could see what it meant to this group of players when the final whistle went. The draw was actually made before our game kicked off and we'll play the blue side of Merseyside in the form of Everton, and once again we'll have home advantage in the quarter-finals.

The teams line-ups:

Arsenal: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Arteta, Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain(75), Ozil, Podolski(69), Sanogo(88). 
Subs: Viviano, Sagna, Gibbs(75), Wilshere, Cazorla(69), Gnabry, Giroud(88). 

Liverpool: Jones, Flanagan, Skrtel, Agger, Cissokho(62), Allen, Gerrard, Coutinho, Sterling, Sturridge, Suarez.
Subs: Mignolet, Toure, Kelly, Teixeira, Henderson(62), Moses, Aspas.  

My man of the match: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Referee: Howard Webb.
Attendance: 59,801.

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