Category Archives: FA Cup

The Morning After that Disappointing Cup Exit

Arsenal players rue missed chance

For a season that promised so much, things are looking rather bleak for Arsene Wenger and his team. After so much unnecessary talk of how the players held some top secret closed doors meeting where nuclear launch codes were shared among the lads, it was back to the same feeling of frustration and despair as Arsenal allowed Watford to come to the Emirates and leave with a victory – a game the Gunners dominated from start to finish. We all know possession of the ball isn’t enough – it’s what you do with it that matters.

There were the missed chances, as you expect from a pathetic profligate team like Arsenal. Mohamed Elneny was culpable for the kind of misses we the fans usually throw abuses on Aaron Ramsey. Then there was the goal from Olivier Giroud that was rightly ruled offside. Could he have timed his run better? Of course, yes! With more missed chances I feared that the visitors would show the Gunners how to finish and sadly, I was right. Odion Ighalo used his strength to shove off Gabriel before placing the ball past David Ospina. Its moments like that they showed how important Laurent Koscielny is to the team because I would have been confident that he would not allow a forward bully him like that, inside his box.

After waiting for Wenger to find a replacement for Thomas Vermaelen, Gabriel Paulista has shown that he has a lot to learn and it’s unfortunate to see how his naivety is costing us games. Not like I’m a fan of the blame game but there have been games were better basic defending from a better defender would have been enough to quell a lot of attacking threats. He may grow in strength to become an Alessandro Nesta or something in the future but at this moment, he’s looking more like a liability than an asset.

With the Gunners chasing the game, Watford hit them on the break and I wondered where everybody was when Guerdiora was allowed to pick his spot to send a piledriver through Ospina into the net. A part of me feels that the Colombian shot stopper could have done better but with the Gunners trailing with two goals, I knew the game was over.

Wenger ‘responded’ with three substitutions of Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott. Two of the three made their presence felt in the game, while Walcott proved yet again to be a waste of a substitution. Welbeck huffed and puffed but finally made his mark when he latched onto a brilliant back heeled pass from Mesut Ozil to side-foot the ball home. Iwobi and his Fransceco Totti-esque socks showed great movement and confidence with the ball. His moment of glory almost arrived when he fired a shot that hit the post and ricocheted off the goalie but Welbeck’s rebound was poor to say the least.

At the end, it was Watford that went to the semis and the Gunners are set for more misery with the fact that Tottenham are closing the gap on Leicester with another win over relegation-bound Aston Villa. Everyone will be waiting for Rafa Benitez to work his magic on Newcastle as they take on Leicester tonight but one wonders where the Gunners will go from here.

I like Arsene Wenger and everything he has done for this great club but I’m really scared for him right now. The team has become so impotent in front of goal, especially at the Emirates, and so many players are underperforming below what they are usually capable of.

I am filled with sadness today but as an Arsenal supporter, I must keep the faith that something, could still happen in the Premier League. I have already written off our chances in the Champions League because of the sheer brilliance of FC Barcelona but as long as it is still mathematically possible to win the Premier League, I will not give up hope.

Sayonara.

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Gunners Demolish the Tigers at a Great Cost

The France international does the 'rocking baby' celebration with team-mates following the birth of his son on Monday night

Hull 0-4 Arsenal

Match ReportMatch Highlights Post-Match Press Conference

With the Gunners failing to do the job at home, they were afforded another chance to make things right against Hull and with the team such in a wretched run of form, it was a welcome game. Arsene Wenger had confirmed that he would rotate his squad and he was true to his word with the likes of Calum Chambers, Mathieu Flamini, Alex Iwobi, Joel Campbell, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud all returning to the side. Many believed that it was a game for Giroud and Walcott to make their marks because from the look of things, they have been usurped from the center forward berth by Danny Welbeck.

The game had a dull feel early with David Ospina showing good reactions to make a double save to spark the game into life. However, Arsenal suffered their first casualty of the night when Per Mertesacker and Nick Powell clashed heads and the BFG came out second best, suffering a laceration on his eye. A couple of treatment from Gary O’Driscoll, the captain signaled to the bench that his time was up and he was replaced by Nacho Monreal, a player just returning from a knock of his own.

The match opener arrived when Giroud latched onto a mistake by David Meyler and he did well to send the ball through Eldin Jakupovic’s legs to put the Gunners ahead. It was also a personal milestone for the French striker that had been in a lengthy goal drought but he was motivated by the birth of his son, Evan.

At the start of the second half it was business as usual but there was another cause for concern when Gabriel Paulista suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury, forcing the manager to summon Aaron Ramsey. With Ramsey arriving on the pitch, Chambers was drafted back to his favored  enter back role, with Flamini playing as an auxiliary right back. Arsenal’s second goal was scored by another player in dire need of them and the Walcott of old was on show as he kept his composure to receive Campbell’s brilliant pass before side footing the ball home.

After spending just 16 minutes on the pitch, Ramsey signified to the bench that he had suffered an injury too, forcing Wenger to make the final substitution of the night, as Jeff Reine-Adelaide made a cameo appearance. Arsenal scored their third when Giroud reacted quickly to Walcott’s cross and he used his right foot to flash the ball past Jakupovic to put the game beyond doubt. Walcott added the icing on the cake when a shot that beat the goalie in his near post.

After his goalkeeping heroics at the Emirates, Jakupovic was brought back down to Earth as he was on the end of some battering by Arsene Wenger’s men. The gaffer provided some updates on the injury-stricken players in his press conference,

“Mertesacker is just a cut on his eye and looks to be very short. Gabriel is a hamstring and Ramsey is a thigh problem. To me, the most serious looks to be Ramsey. He has a thigh problem, I think it is a thigh strain.”

Per Mertesacker

With a cut on his eye, Mertesacker can be patched up and ready to lead the team out on Sunday when the Gunners host Watford but Gabriel’s hamstring injury can see him sidelined for a couple of weeks. Ramsey’s thigh strain is a problem because I remember how it kept him out for close to four months in the 2013/14 season. Injuries always pave the way for other to make their marks and with Laurent Koscielny still struggling for fitness, I expect Chambers to play alongside the BFG on Sunday while the medical team would be sweating to get the French defender fit for the Barcelona game. Ramsey’s injury will afford Mohamed Elneny a chance to get an extended run-out in the team and I’m hoping these injuries come to a halt.

It was a wonderful win for the team but it came at a great cost.

Sayonara.

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Hull Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

Arsene Wenger is expected to rotate his squad for the trip to the KC Stadium after a 0-0 draw at the Emirates last month

With Arsenal’s Premier League title challenge fading away, the FA Cup represents the club’s best chance of silverware, as it has been for the past two campaigns. Following the disappointing draw with Hull last month, the Gunners have earned themselves a replay with the victor heading to the quarterfinals to take on Watford. Arsenal and Hull know each other all too well as they have played each other for the past three seasons.

When both sides met last month, Hull’s shot stopper, Eldin Jakupovic made an astonishing 11 saves, earning the Man of the Match award. Sometimes I wonder whether it was a case of superb goalkeeping or profligate finishing or a combination of both but sometimes, the Emirates tends to bring out the Manuel Neuer in an average goalkeeper.

Arsenal Team News

Wenger has confirmed that he would rotate his squad to keep the right balance but he has confirmed that he will select a side capable of winning the game. I strongly suspect that there would be starting roles for the likes of Joel Campbell, Alex Iwobi and maybe Calum Chambers at the back.

The team will obviously be without Francis Coquelin that receive his marching orders from a needless tackle on Harry Kane but he has apologized to the fans for making things really difficult for his teammates. The Gunners will be without Petr Cech for a lengthy period and the boss has also stated that this game would be too soon for Laurent Koscielny.

Arsenal Injury / Suspension News

Jack Wilshere (ankle), Santi Cazorla (knee), Tomas Rosicky (thigh), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Carl Jenkinson (knee), Petr Cech (calf), Laurent Koscielny (calf)

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Hull Team News

The Tigers are flying high in the skybet Championship with 15 games to go, and they battling hard with the likes of fellow Premier League hopefuls, Middlesbrough and Burnley for promotion to the Premier League. They lost four away games in a row away from home in December but since then have won four out of five on the road.

They earned a place in this round after a win over Brighton and Hove Albion but they had their goalie to thank when they visited the Emirates. Arsenal loanee, Chuba Akpom, scored a hat-trick but he may not be available for selection, especially with Uruguayan striker, Abel Hernandez, in such fine form this season.

Hull Injury / Suspension News

Robert Snodgrass (lack of match fitness)

Hull Predicted Lineup

Hull City 4-5-1 football formation

Team Form

Arsenal

  • Last Five Games: W D L L D
  • Last Result: Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal
  • Leading Goalscorer: Olivier Giroud (18)

Hull

  • Last Five Games: W D W D L
  • Last Result: Birmingham 1-0 Hull
  • Leading Goalscorer: Abel Hernandez (17)

Gooner Daily predicts a 3 – 1 win.

Sayonara.

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