A few Arsenal reflections part II
Last week I penned a few reflections on the 5-1 drubbing of Arsenal at Anfield so I thought I’d put down a few Arsenal reflections take two: of the FA Cup clash at The Emirates yesterday.
I have to admit to not being able to follow the first half as closely as I’d have liked, firstly not being at the game itself and then secondly being on the road back from a family Christening. So Sturridge’s early chances and Arsenal’s subsequent first half goal were received through a pretty poor 5Live signal. However I think the first thing to note, is that anyone who thought this game was going to be anything like Anfield a week ago, is an idiot.
Arsenal were never going to be as poor as they were at Anfield, and having got a pretty miraculous three points at a sodden Craven Cottage in midweek, I couldn’t help feeling that perhaps today wouldn’t be our day. Football seems to move in those sorts of ways. And so it proved to be. Sturridge wasted the opportunity, or opportunities to give us another blistering start and I think that pretty much set the tone.
I can’t say that I’m all that disappointed, and I won’t be too hard on Sturridge. He has been immense this season and you can forgive him some slight fatigue.
I was able to follow the 2nd half properly in front of the TV and after going 2 nil down, we certainly rallied. We threatened more than Arsenal, and Fabianski was immense in keeping us out. The penalty was deserved and Gerrard dispatched it in the manner that we’ve come to expect. I have to praise Rodgers for a very positive substitution in bringing on Hendo for Cissokho, which very nearly had the impact intended. Although Joe Allen performed admirably and he clearly needs a bit more match time, I think it was pretty clear that we missed Henderson’s drive and work rate; which just underlines how far he has come and what a player he now is. I like Allen as a player and he seems like a good guy, but I wonder if he has the quality or presence to survive Rodger’s revolution in the long run.
Sturridge missed another great chance, which again compounded the fact it wasn’t going to be our day. There is no doubt that we should have had a 2nd penalty, and I’ve yet to mention our good old friend Mr Webb… who had a completely shocker from a Liverpool point of view. It’s what we’ve come to expect.
We can certainly feel aggrieved, if not downright unlucky to not have progressed to the quarter finals, but all in all I don’t feel overly distraught. We are having an incredible season and we will have the odd off day and disappointing result. The FA Cup was a fantastic opportunity to bag some silverware this season, but now we have the chance to focus solely on the league; which is a luxury that most of the sides in the top 6 or 7 don’t have.
It’s Swansea next up at Anfield, and just like every game between now and the end of the season, it’s a massive one. We need to bounce back and ensure we pull further away in fourth. Isn’t it nice to be enjoying a season where at this stage of proceedings, a home game against Swansea has so much riding on it? Viva Rodgers, Viva la Revolution.