27 January 2014

Weekend in Review: FA Cup Glory for Arsenal

Firstly (and most importantly), the Arsenal came away with a much-needed 4-0 victory against Coventry City in the 4th round of the FA Cup on Friday night. Based on the starting eleven that we put out on the pitch– including the likes of the Wizard of Oz, BFG, Kosc, and Jack– it was clear that the boss felt that this was an important match for us and the boys really produced (despite a rough patch in the first part of the second half). I sat in the comfort of my dorm room (alias Arsenal lair) to watch the match via some random live stream and was immediately baffled when I heard the announcer say something along the lines of, "They see what Chelsea has been doing, they see what City has been doing, Arsenal need to start performing." Really though? Can we just stop and take a moment to think about that statement? 

Anyways... We may have missed watching our beloved boys in EPL action this weekend, but this game really had it all: not only did we see four excellent goals (Poldi at the 15' and 27', Oli at the 84', and my Spanish maestro love Santi Cazorla at the 89'), some of the floodlights at the Emirates went out (at which point "Sh*t club, no lights" chants from Coventry supporters proceeded to ring around the stadium), Ozil had a superb assist to Poldi (anyone really surprised by that though?), a "buffoon" Coventry fan ran onto the pitch and delayed the match, and 16-year-old Gedion Zelalem made his debut for the senior team after being subbed on at the 71'. What blows my mind the most about that last bit is that this 16-year-old kid was on the same pitch as his country's best footballer of 2013, Mesut Ozil. Can you even begin to imagine? That's like if I was four years younger (and at some absurd skill level that I'm clearly not at) about to be subbed onto the pitch to play alongside Abby Wambach or Clint Dempsey or something. Unreal.

Podolski's first goal vs. Coventry

I could go on for a while about this game, but one of the most important thing that I took away from it is the fact that my boy Santi Cazorla is definitely back in form. After being subbed on at the 71', Santi's energy was just phenomenal and he was a real game changer for us. With Bendtner as painfully slow as ever we were in dire need of a little pace in our attack, and Santi pulled through. I'd like to even go as far as saying that his passes in the buildup to the third goal were even better than the goal itself (not to mention the fact that he ended up scoring afterwards as well). 

To round out the Arsenal news for the week, we now look ahead to the important game week that starts for us on Tuesday as the Gunners take on Southampton at the Friends Provident St Mary's Stadium. Each and every game is of vital importance when you're top of the league, so we'll certainly be hoping to maintain our position at the top and come back to London with three points.

Perhaps even more exciting is the FA Cup 5th round draw that took place Sunday afternoon. The Gunners will take on Liverpool at home on February 15th, only three days after we will have defeated United (February 12th), and four days before what will be our demolition of Bayern Munich (February 19th). For more information on the 5th round draw, check out the various match ups on Arsenal.com

Aston Villa: Villa were not in action this weekend, but sitting in 10th place they look forward to their match vs. West Brom on Wednesday. In the meantime (if you feel so inclined), check out why El Ahmadi believes that the front three of Benteke, Weimann, and Agbonlahor are so dangerous. 

Cardiff City: With a 1-0 win over Bolton Cardiff secured a 5th round FA Cup match vs. Wigan. After being introduced at the start of the second half, Frazier Campbell was able to lift the Bluebirds into the next round with his goal at the 50'.

Chelsea: So we all know the crazy antics of Jose Mourinho (aka the living embodiment of pure evil/the man who attempts to ruin my life by any means necessary). Well, even though Chelsea got past Stoke 1-0 with a goal from Oscar in the 4th round of the FA Cup and will now move on to face Manchester City in the next round (WOW what an excellent match), the more exciting news is that which involves Mourinho mind games and the transfer of Juan Mata to Manchester United. Jose Mourinho's comments on Wenger and the Gunners must have gotten at least a few people as fired up as I was, right? Check here for our boss's original comments on the strangeness of the Mata transfer (all of which I whole-heartedly agree with).

Crystal Palace: Palace suffered defeat at the hands of Wigan by a score of 2-1 in the 4th round of the FA Cup, but I think that the real question we're all curious about here is whether or not the living Moroccan legend Chamakh scored? The answer is unfortunately a no.

Everton: Everton won a comfortable 4-0 match vs. Stevenage over the weekend in FA Cup action and will face Swansea in the next round. Unfortunately for them the victory was somewhat bittersweet, as the Costa Rican Bryan Oviedo suffered a terrible double leg fracture. Everton are currently sitting in 6th in the EPL– just one point out of the top four– and face Liverpool at Anfield in a hugely important match on Tuesday. 

Fulham: Honestly there's not much to report on Fulham recently, as they were only just able to come up with a tie vs. Sheffield United on Sunday. Rodallega tied it up at the 75' to keep Fulham's FA Cup hopes alive.

Hull City: With a 2-0 victory vs Southend United over the weekend Hull City will move on to face Brighton & Hove Albion in the 5th round of the FA Cup. Currently sitting in 11th, they will face 16th ranked Crystal Palace this game week. 

Liverpool: The Reds secured a trip to the Emirates for a 5th round duel with the Gunners after defeating Bournemouth 2-0 in the early Saturday morning game (our time). For more on Liverpool's FA Cup action, click here. A win vs. Everton this week will be a top priority for the Reds as they try to maintain their position in the top four, but with the January transfer window coming to a close another topic of great importance is who they're being linked with. 

Manchester City: After going down 2-0 to Watford Manchester City was able to come away with a 4-2 victory thanks in large part to the efforts of Sergio Aguero whose second half hat trick sealed the deal. Deadlocked at 2-2 all the way up until Kolarov's goal at the 86', this game was certainly one of the more entertaining matches of the weekend. City head to White Hart Lane mid week to take on the Sp*rs.

Manchester United: Perhaps the most exciting news of the weekend is the transfer of Juan Mata from Chelsea to Manchester United for a fee of £37.1 million. Although the prospect of going up against the Spaniard in his new Red Devil garb is frightening, I for one am actually glad that he will see time on the pitch now as opposed to sitting unused on Mourinho's bench. For more information on the transfer, click here.

Newcastle: The Magpies were not in action this weekend and were instead looking forward to their match vs. Norwich City this game week. Despite not playing there certainly isn't a lack of news around the Toon this weekend, as The Telegraph is reporting that PSG are getting ready to put in a second bid for Yohan Cabaye.

Norwich City: Not much to report from the Canaries this weekend– 12th on the table and 5 points out of the relegation zone, a win vs. Newcastle would help them distance themselves from the bottom of the pack.

Southampton: With a 2-0 victory over Yeovil Town the Saints secured a matchup vs. Sunderland in the 5th round of the FA Cup. Guly do Prado was one of the goal scorers, scoring his first goal for the side in over two years. Let's not dwell on Southampton news though– even though I have a soft spot for them and really like to watch them play, Shaw and Lallana will surely be benched from my fantasy squad as they take on the Goon squad Tuesday (because why would I ever keep someone in my lineup who was going against the Arsenal?!).

Sunderland: The Black Cats defeated Kidderminster by a score of 1-0 over the weekend to secure a spot in the 5th round of the FA Cup. For a match report, click here. Sunderland are currently second from the bottom and stuck in the relegation zone, so a win vs. Stoke this week would be a good boost and a step in the right direction (up). 

Swansea City: With a 2-1 win over Birmingham the Swans move on to the next round of the FA Cup where they will face Everton at Goodison Park. They take on Fulham this week at home with only two points separating the sides on the table. 

Tottenham Hotspurs: On a two game win streak (after their North London Derby loss), Tottenham take on Manchester City with a revived and rejuvenated Sergio Aguero back in action and dangerous as ever before. Other than that, Sp*rs primary focus continues to be making their way into the top four, as they currently sit just outside in fifth, even with Liverpool at 43 points but far behind on goal differential.

West Brom: West Brom hope to jump ahead of their neighbors Aston Villa at Villa Park in this week's derby that promises to be full of emotion (as much emotion as can come from a match between Villa and West Brom). The Baggies seem determined to make up for losing their 2-0 lead against Villa in their last meeting.

West Ham: West Ham welcomes two new signings, as they announce the arrival of AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino on loan and AS Roma's Marco Borriello on loan.

No comments:

Post a Comment