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.
Latest News: Arsenal draw 3-3 with Liverpool, goals came from Ramsey and Giroud (x2) - match thoughts to come!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Arsenal drop more points with draw against Swansea

If the game against Chelsea didn't rule us out of the title race, then dropping points at home to Swansea definitely has. If we are to stand any chance we have to beat City at the weekend and hope that the big teams drop a load of points. The latter simply isn't going to happen though. We've now gone from the title race to the race for fourth place within a matter of days after one abysmal display and one distinctly average performance. We went behind to Bony's header early on but two goals from Podolski and Giroud looked to have won us the game. An own goal in the last minute from Flamini summed up our week though as we dropped points for the first time at home in fourteen matches. Wenger played a similar team to the one against Chelsea as Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain both managed to get away without being suspended. Mathieu Flamini started in place of Podolski whilst Vermaelen replaced the injured Laurent Koscielny.
Lukas Podolski came on and changed the game for Arsenal
Although we perhaps didn't deserve to win the game it was bitterly disappointing to lose it in the manner we did with an own goal in the dying minutes. We did fantastically well to get ourselves back into the game. I literally just thought to myself before the Podolski goal that I didn't have any belief that we'd get back into the game. The players lacked any conviction and we'd created one good chance in the match up to then. Everyone was looking for a pulsating response following a 6-0 drubbing to a rival but we got the opposite. It was an average performance and showed that we are no where near ready to compete for the title. It hasn't helped that Ozil, Wilshere, Walcott and Ramsey have been missing lately though.

Wenger got slated a lot for his tactics on Saturday lunchtime but his decision to bring on Podolski when he did was a great one. Oxlade-Chamberlain seems to have faded after his brilliant return from injury and as a result has been subbed early in our last two fixtures. Podolski changed the game and gave us a different dimension. Kieran Gibbs who I thought had a very good game, at least going forward anyway, provided the assist. He did brilliantly to get to the byline and then find Podolski who fired home for his seventh of the campaign. The second goal was pure brilliance though all round. Podolski got down the left hand side and then put in a fantastic ball on a plate for Giroud who couldn't miss. However, if you are looking for another reason to question the Boss then that could be the decision to bring on Sanogo for Giroud instead of a defender late on. He's gone defensive in the remaining minutes of games a lot this season so the sudden change was a bit bizarre.

Giroud had got a lot of stick throughout the match. His movement was very below par and his hold up play wasn't great but at the end of the day his goal almost won us the game. He's got 19 goals this season, an improvement on last season but if we're to really challenge we need someone that can score on a more regular basis.

Another man that was below par, and has been for a while now is Mikel Arteta. He's been a stalwart in the middle of the park since his move from Everton but this season his performance levels appear to have dropped. It's no wonder the likes of Lars Bender have been rumoured in recent days. He seems to give the ball away far too often and that has cost us a lot this season as he desperately tries to chase back and win the ball but fail. It may look as though I'm being a bit harsh on him, but I do like him as a player. I thought he was a cracking signing when we bought him on transfer deadline day in 2011.

If we're looking for positives in a big week of negatives then Kim Kallstrom is your man. He made a late cameo appearance in the game against Swansea and was very impressive on debut. His passing range and vision looks brilliant. One ball across the pitch to Giroud was of particular note. I didn't realise how big of a player he was. He looks like he could provide Arsenal with the power in midfield that has been much needed this season. He did the dirty stuff well but also plays an attractive brand of football, throwing in one or two fancy flicks at points too.

Next up is of course Manchester City at home. I can't see us winning it but who knows? If we are to win it, then a drastic improvement will need to be made in terms of quality, commitment and urgency shown on the pitch from the players.

The teams line-ups:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain(57), Rosicky(79), Cazorla, Giroud(88).
Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Bellerin, Kallstrom(79), Gnabry, Podolski(57), Sanogo(88). 

Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Taylor(73),  Britton, Shelvey(79), de Guzman, Michu(63), Routledge, Bony.
Subs: Tremmel, Amat, Davies(73), Canas, Hernandez(79), Dyer(63), Vazquez. 

My man of the match: Kieran Gibbs.

Referee: Lee Probert.
Attendance: 59,937.    

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Arsenal blown away in embarrasing defeat to Chelsea

Arsene Wenger's 1000th game in charge of Arsenal could not have gone any worse. A 6-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea in a truly terrible display from the players. It was like Liverpool all over again, but 10x worse. Time and time again the players seem to bottle it in the big games and this time was no different. Jose Mourinho's previous comments about the club and Wenger were proved right, which made the defeat even harder to take. The defeat now means that our part in the title race has come to an abrupt end. That's unless for some reason Liverpool, City and Chelsea themselves drop a few points between now and the end of the season.
Kieran Gibbs was sent off in rather bizarre circumstances
Wenger said he took full responsibility for the defeat, and people were accusing him of playing the wrong line-up. It was an unchanged team from the win over Spurs last weekend and because of the huge amount of injuries there wasn't room for many changes. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain once again started in central midfield but although putting in strong performances against Palace and Bayern in that position he seemed to give away the ball far too often. He was meanwhile at fault for the penalty. A quite bizarre moment. Eden Hazard's shot looked to be going wide but the Ox who at first glance looked to have headed it round the post actually tipped it wide like a goalkeeper. It was a penalty and a red card. The red card though, was given to the wrong man as Kieran Gibbs was shown red for doing absolutely nothing. The referee had simply got the wrong man.

The Ox is definitely better in a wider position where he can penetrate defences with his pace and power. Mathieu Flamini may have been a better choice in midfield alongside Arteta or had Kallstrom already played before then he may have featured, but was instead on the bench. Lukas Podolski was therefore sacrificed after only 23 minutes, but there was already no way back and the game plan had gone out the window.

Ultimately it was the players individual errors that cost us the game though. Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna were caught napping up the pitch which resulted in Chelsea finding the space to score their first two goals. Meanwhile giving the ball away far too often didn't help. It didn't appear at any moment that any player looked to have an inch of fight in them, not even the so called leaders such as Arteta and Mertesacker. We were totally outplayed, and the performance really was embarrasing.

Our best chance of the game fell at 0-0. Tomas Rosicky played a lovely ball in behind and Giroud hit a rather tame effort that Cech was able to get down to. Had the Frenchman buried that chance then the game could've gone very differently. As it happened, we got hit for six and now sit seven points behind the leaders.The game had gone from celebrating Wenger's tenure at the club to completely slating him. I have a strong feeling that whether or not we win the FA Cup will have a bearing on whether Wenger signs a new deal with the club.

In the build up to the game some of the players were talking about how they owed their career to the boss. This was a game for the players to stand up and be counted but they didn't show Wenger any of the faith he's shown so much in them. The team we fielded was good enough, but they just didn't show up. It was an inexusable performance and it'll take a big comeback against Swansea and then City to get ourselves back up and running again.

Next up is indeed Swansea City at home in midweek whilst we then face another very tough game in the form of Manchester City. A repeat of April 2012 wouldn't go a miss.

The teams line-ups:

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Luiz(72), Matic, Schurrle, Oscar(67), Hazard, Eto'o(10).
Subs: Schwarzer, Kalas, Mikel(72), Lampard, Salah(67), Ba, Torres(10).

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny(45), Gibbs, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain(45), Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski(23), Giroud.
Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen(23), Jenkinson(45), Flamini(45), Kallstrom, Gnabry, Sanogo.

Referee: Andre Marriner.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Rosicky thunderbolt seals derby win

Tomas Rosicky scored an absolute peach of a goal just over a minute into the game as Arsenal ran out 1-0 victors over North London rivals Spurs on Sunday afternoon. It was far from a classic derby but we managed to seal a crucial victory that ensured we stayed in the title race. Having lost to Stoke a few weeks back, we've bounced back in near perfect fashion beating Everton, drawing with Bayern and now also seeing off local rivals Spurs. However if we're to maintain a substantial challenge then we'll need to prove ourselves a lot more than we've done. In terms of the line-up that was played there were a few changes from Bayern in the week. Rosicky replaced the injured Ozil whilst Gibbs returned at left back in place of Vermaelen. Szczesny was back in the starting line-up having not started against Everton and being suspended in midweek. Meanwhile Lukas Podolski retained his place.
Tomas Rosicky's early goal sealed the points
A defeat for either side simply wasn't good enough. If we had lost then the title race would be all but over, and with a Spurs defeat a Champions League place now looks a very tough ask. Especially considering the top four are all gunning for the league title. A win over our North London rivals held an added significance to the game, if any was needed at this stage of the season. Every game from now on in is effectively a cup final. After last season's game against Bayern we went unbeaten for the rest of the campaign, lets hope the same happens this year too.

We couldn't have got off to a much better start. Tomas Rosicky, a man Spurs fans must be sick of the sight of having scored in the FA Cup tie and a game a few years previously, scored the opener. It was an absolute rocket of a shot just over a minute into the game. Arsenal won the ball back and managed to break away with the Czech international down the right hand side. He managed to find the Ox but his touch was poor and it bounced nicely for Rosicky to crash the ball home at the far post. It was beautiful technique and it was a cracking way to start the derby.

That early goal kind of killed the game off though. Spurs had the majority of the possession throughout the game and we hardly made any passes. A rarity for us. Despite being pegged back for the majority of the match, we created some brilliant chances. Tottenham played a ridiculously high line throughout and they were very lucky we didn't win by more than one. Chamberlain got beyond the defence in the first half and found himself one-on-one with Lloris. However he got it horribly wrong and dinked the ball wide. Meanwhile Lukas Podolski fired an effort into the side netting and the Ox fired another shot wide, although this time via a deflection.

The effort of the defence simply cannot be faulted though. Tottenham tested us with over 25 crosses which Mertesacker and Koscielny had a field day dealing with. They were absolutely sensational and once again reaffirmed why they are perhaps the best center back pairing in the league. There was a moment in the second half where Szczesny looked a little shaky. He spilt the ball at the feet of Chadli who was then met by Per and Koscielny who managed to create a wall and somehow deny what seemed a certain goal. It summed up the display of the two perfectly. Had it not been for them then a draw seemed a likely result.

Overall it was a very ugly win, and it wasn't great to watch. A wins a win though and you can't complain when you've just beaten your rivals in their own back yard for the first time in years. It was a real backs to the wall performance and summed up the resilience of the team this season. This campaign Tottenham have failed to score against us in three meetings. 4-0 on aggregate is the score for the fixtures between the two sides in 2013/14. A very satisfying thing to be able to read.

Tougher fixtures lie ahead though. We have Chelsea, Swansea, Man City and Everton in the League before an FA Cup semi-final tie against Wigan to look forward to. It really will be a testing and vital period which could potentially shape how our season will pan out come May.

we have Chelsea, Swansea, Man City and Everton in the League before an FA Cup semi-final tie against Wigan to look forward to. It really will be a testing and vital period which could potentially shape how our season will pan out come May. - See more at: http://www.arsenation.co.uk/spurs-v-arsenal-preview-must-win-game/#sthash.VCaw9GS5.dpuf
we have Chelsea, Swansea, Man City and Everton in the League before an FA Cup semi-final tie against Wigan to look forward to. It really will be a testing and vital period which could potentially shape how our season will pan out come May. - See more at: http://www.arsenation.co.uk/spurs-v-arsenal-preview-must-win-game/#sthash.VCaw9GS5.dpuf
we have Chelsea, Swansea, Man City and Everton in the League before an FA Cup semi-final tie against Wigan to look forward to. It really will be a testing and vital period which could potentially shape how our season will pan out come May. - See more at: http://www.arsenation.co.uk/spurs-v-arsenal-preview-must-win-game/#sthash.VCaw9GS5.dpufThe teams lineups:

The teams line-ups:

Spurs: Lloris, Naughton, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose, Sandro(69), Bentaleb, Townsend, Eriksen(82), Chadli(69), Adebayor.
Subs: Friedel, Walker, Paulinho(69), Sigurdsson(69), Lennon, Kane, Soldado(82).

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain(85), Rosicky(69), Cazorla, Podolski(77), Giroud.
Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen(85), Jenkinson, Monreal(77), Flamini(69), Gnabry, Sanogo.

My man of the match: Laurent Koscielny.

Referee: Mike Dean.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Arsenal out of Europe despite draw in Munich

Arsenal were knocked out of this season's Champions League, but they didn't go out without a fight, drawing 1-1 on the night but only missing out on a place due to Bayern's 3-1 aggregate lead. The damage had been done in the first leg where we were defeated 2-0. Arsenal went behind on the night but then managed to grab an equaliser, but we left it too late in the tie and Bayern were allowed to stroke the ball around with relative ease whilst our players were left chasing shadows. It was disappointing to go out at the same stage, to the same team for the second year in a row but there were plenty of positives to draw upon. In terms of the line-up Wenger put out it contained a few surprises. Mathieu Flamini didn't start in centre midfield as Arteta and the Ox were put together. Meanwhile Lukas Podolski also started. Due to injuries at left back Thomas Vermaelen deputised as Koscielny returned from injury at centre back.
Lukas Podolski's goal against his old club wasn't enough
Truth be told, the Gunners had lost this tie in the first leg due to various things. Mesut Ozil's penalty, had it gone in would've been a brilliant start. The most crucial thing though was the red card to Wojciech Szczesny. Without a doubt it was a red card but with it the whole tie was to swing completely. We'd matched Bayern with 11 men until that point and we had them on the ropes.

The second leg was a much tighter affair though. Bayern still dominated the possession, as a team would when under the management of Pep Guardiola. However we had our chances and may well have gone through if things had gone our way. There was poor marking for their goal as Schweinsteiger managed to find himself unmarked in the box to fire home. That gave Arsenal the kick that they needed, but it was too little too late. Moments later we found an equaliser on the night. Lukas Podolski had been relatively quiet until he rifled the ball home. He perhaps fouled Lahm in the build-up but Bayern's protests were waved away as the German smashed the ball home at Neuer's near post.

Arjen Robben, despite him being the most predictable player in world football managed to cause us problems. He managed to cut inside Vermaelen on many occasions and almost had himself two penalties, one he definitely did get though. The first one was a shocking dive that somehow went unpunished and then with Arsenal desperately trying to get the ball forward, Koscielny bundled him over late on. Thomas Muller had a chance to seal the win but Lukasz Fabianski made a brilliant save with his feet to see the third penalty of the tie missed. Although Wenger has said the Polish keeper is likely to leave at the end of the season, he's been brilliant in our last two seasons when called upon and I'd love to see him remain at the club.

The biggest positive that could be drawn from the game was that of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He was absolutely brilliant and showed in front of a huge audience what he could do. Playing in a deeper role to usual his surging runs forward were a joy to behold. Perhaps if he was allowed to play outwide then we could've created more. Needless to say he was our man of the match. In the first half he ran from just inside the Bayern half, beat a few players before being brought down on the edge of the area. He was a force against Everton and once again showed his quality on Tuesday night.

One man that seems to be mentioned after every single game though is Mesut Ozil. He returned to form at the weekend but was unnecessarily slated for his first half performance the other night. He revealed that in fact he picked up a muscle injury in the first two minutes, something that's now ruled him out for about a month. Many media outlets were on his back at how poor he'd been once more. The fact of the matter is you can't expect him to work wonders against the best team in the world  when he's injured. He helped us reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup and we can be grateful for that. We've done better with him this season that without him too. It's hugely frustrating that both him and Wilshere will miss our most crucial period of the season in terms of who we face in the League.

Like last year, I really hope that the performance against Bayern is seen as a plus. We managed to go to Munich and hold our own for the second year in a row. A draw against them is certainly nothing to complain about, other than the fact we're out of Europe. However it can be seen as a stepping stone to go onto greater things this season. We're still in with a fighting chance of the League and we have our best chance of winning a trophy in years with who is left in the FA Cup. Next up is Spurs in the North London derby. A game we simply cannot lose.

The teams line-ups:

Bayern Munich: Neuer, Lahm, Martinez, Dante, Alaba, Thiago, Schweinsteiger, Robben, Gotze(60), Ribery(85), Mandzukic. 
Subs: Starke, van Buyten, Boateng, Rafinha, Kroos(60), Muller(85),  Pizarro.

Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Arteta(77), Oxlade-Chamberlain(84), Cazorla, Ozil(45), Podolski, Giroud.
Subs: Viviano, Jenkinson, Hayden, Flamini(84), Rosicky(45), Gnabry(77). No seventh sub due to Miyaichi not being eligible.

My man of the match: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR)

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Wembley beckons as Arsenal beat Everton

Arsenal bounced back from their defeat against Stoke with a brilliant performance in the FA Cup on Saturday. Mesut Ozil, Mikel Arteta and Olivier Giroud all scored goals as Arsenal comfortably beat Everton as the Gunners reached the semi-finals for the first time in five years. Following our recent run in the high pressure matches, it was a huge relief to see us put in a such a great performance. We've had perhaps the luck of the draw in a sense that we've played every game at home, but we have now knocked out both Merseyside clubs, and Spurs. With Bayern Munich in the week in mind, Wenger made a few changes. Lukasz Fabianski continued as our FA Cup keeper whilst Thomas Vermaelen came in for the injured Koscielny. Sanogo got a chance up top whilst Ozil and the Ox both came back into the starting line-up. Flamini meanwhile replaced the injured Wilshere.
Giroud and Ozil were on the score-sheet as Arsenal reached the semi-finals
This was perhaps our most crucial game of the season, one that would determine the character of this side and would show whether we could finally put our Spring hoodoo behind us. Although we still have some tough games to come, reaching a semi-final of a Cup having just beaten a resilient Everton side should fill the squad with confidence. After the disappointing defeat last weekend it was important to bounce back like we have so many times this season, and that's exactly what we did.

One of the most pleasing aspects of our win was the performance of Mesut Ozil. He's been widely criticised recently and was even jeered off the pitch when he played for Germany in the week. However what he did on Saturday was a perfect response to his critics and to anyone who doubted him. He got the ball rolling with the first goal just seven minutes in. Cazorla led a break away and then fed the German who rolled the ball home. It was a precise finish from a man who now looked to have a new burst of life. It was the German play-makers first goal for exactly three months where he scored against the same opponents. He meanwhile assisted the fourth goal with a brilliant bit of awareness to pick out Giroud after a typical counter attacking move.

Moving onto Giroud it was good to see him bounce back too. He was brilliant against Sunderland but then truly awful against Stoke. Yaya Sanogo started yesterday and didn't do himself any harm but Giroud offered us something different. I don't know why, but he always seems to play better at home and make a lot more runs. His first goal was a brilliant piece of work down the right by Sagna and Giroud was then left with a tap in, meanwhile he also got himself into a good position to finish the game off for his second. It was a very good performance and should bring him confidence going into the game against Bayern.

The decision to play Arteta and Flamini together caused a bit of a stir because so far this season they've been incapable of playing beside each other. I don't know whether it was because he was against his old club but Arteta played one of his best 90 minutes all season. It was great to see him in his more preferred position, driving forward from midfield rather than holding back. He was busy in and around the penalty area and deserved his goal. However he was forced to take his penalty twice after Giroud was encroaching for the first one. Both were taken superbly though. Thomas Vermaelen meanwhile put in a solid performance in place of the injured Koscielny and shows the good squad depth we have.

Next up of course if Bayern Munich in the week. Last year's performance in Germany gives me the confidence that we can go there and achieve a result. Man City have already done so in this years Champions League so why can't we? It'll be a very tough game and one where we'll have to stop Bayern scoring, but score three times ourselves if we're to reach the quarter-finals.

The teams line-ups:

Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs(88), Flamini, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain(78), Ozil, Cazorla, Sanogo(61). 
Subs: Viviano, Jenkinson(88), Rosicky(78), Miyaichi, Gnabry, Podolski, Giroud(61). 

Everton: Joel, Coleman, Stones, Distin, Baines, McCarthy, Barry, Mirallas(76), Barkley(84), Pienaar(76), Lukaku. 
Subs: Howard, Hibbert, Browning, Osman(76), McGeady(76), Deulofeu(84), Naismith.

My man of the match: Mesut Ozil.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Arsenal's title challenge halted with defeat against Stoke

This was the type of game that I thought we'd got out of our systems, a tough away trip to one of the smaller teams in the League, but obviously not. Arsenal suffered a bitterly disappointing 1-0 defeat at the hands of Stoke on Saturday afternoon. It was a terrible performance and further backed up the point why we needed to strengthen in January. It was a game where nothing seemed to click, which was frustrating after a relatively easy 4-1 victory last weekend. It was a penalty that sealed our fate, and a rather harsh one at that. However, there were chances that should've won us the game before hand or even grabbed an equaliser late on. The Gunners made just one change from the side last week as Kieran Gibbs replaced the injured Nacho Monreal. Meanwhile Ozil and Vermaelen were back on the bench.
Jonathon Walters and Laurent Koscielny clashed for the penalty
With our tough fixtures coming up this month is was absolutely vital that we won this game, but our familiar Spring collapse seems to be in full flow once again after defeats to Liverpool and Bayern last month. Saying that, we are still in two Cups and are only four points off the leaders in the League. Writing this two days after the game has given me a chance to calm down a little and being only four points off the pace at the top isn't something we should be annoyed about. Something we should be annoyed about though is the manner in which we lost at the weekend. United, Chelsea, Everton and Man City have all failed to win at the Britannia this season too though.

To concede to a Jonathon Walters penalty was probably the worst way we could've lost. A man that's missed four of his last six penalties of course tucked it away when playing against Arsenal. Whether the penalty should've been given though is debatable. Walters himself kicked the ball into the flaying arm of Koscielny and the ref rather harshly pointed to the spot.

There were a few opportunities that could've prevented a defeat though. Lukas Podolski fired wide from a great position in the first half. Cazorla meanwhile passed on the opportunity to lay Podolski off at one point when he was in a great position, instead he shot at goal. The best chance of them all fell to Yaya Sanogo though. In the dying moments of the game, Oxlade-Chamberlain who should've come on before hand or maybe even started, got to the byline and pulled the ball back. Sanogo was standing about six yards out with the goal at his mercy but planted the ball high and into the crowd. It was a game of ifs and buts but we didn't deserve to win the game, a draw would probably have been a fair reflection.

One of the games poorest performances came from Olivier Giroud though. He looked to have regained some form last week after his double against Sunderland. However against Stoke he was back to his usual self. I may be being a bit harsh on him but all he seemed to do was attempt to hold the ball up, climb all over the defenders, fall over and then moan to the ref. The most frustrating aspect of Giroud's game is that he always seems to play with his back to goal. At the beginning of the season he was making a lot of runs, but at the moment that doesn't appear to be happening.

The team selection was criticised after the game and I must admit looking back on it there could have been some changes. Before the game. I was all for us playing a narrower style considering it worked so well earlier in the season when the likes of Walcott and Podolski were out injured. However, Oxlade-Chamberlain didn't have an influence in the game until he entered the fray in the 74th minute. His energy changed us going forward and had he been starting then we may have come away smiling. Mathieu Flamini meanwhile probably would've relished a battle against Stoke's physical midfield.

Up next is arguably our biggest game of the season yet as we face Everton in the FA Cup. Win and everyone involved within Arsenal is happy again. Lose and we can really start to question what's gone wrong so quickly. Many players will be away on international duty during midweek though which really isn't great preparation for such a game.

The teams lineups:

Stoke: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters, Nzonzi, Whelan, Walters, Adam(73), Arnautovic(88), Crouch.
Subs: Sorensen, Muniesa, Wilkinson, Palacios, Ireland(73), Etherington(88), Guidetti.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere(81), Cazorla, Rosicky(74), Podolski(67), Giroud.
Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain(74), Ozil(67), Gnabry, Sanogo(81). 

Referee: Mike Jones.
Attendance: 26,711.