Brighton 2 (Barnes 33, Ulloa 62) – Arsenal 3 (Giroud 16, 56, Walcott 85)
Man of the Match – Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)
More apologies after yet another delayed match report. Life has become so hectic. Or not. I watched the Brighton game, with Bangalore Gunners, second time in as many weeks, and then enjoyed an extended vacation in Bandipur, a large tiger reserve in South India.
Which is not what you want to listen to of course. Arsenal’s performance, against Brighton, was not in the least bit tigerish than it should have been, but you cannot deny the fact that they managed to get the job done in the end.
With Thomas Vermaelen injured, Laurent Koscielny returned to the starting lineup. Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs were given much needed rests, and Carl Jenkinson and, er, Andre Santos started in their place. There were returns to the starting lineup for Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky, along side Aaron Ramsey, as Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla got much deserved rests as well. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski completed the side.
A record crowd saw Brighton dominate the early exchanges. Under the tutelage of Gus Poyet, Brighton have become a good footballing side, and it was clear to see. Ashley Barnes’ miscued a volley, which was saved by Szczesny.
Arsenal, took the lead, completely against the run of play on 16 minutes. A quick attacking move ended with Giroud finishing perfectly past the deputy of Tomasz Kuszczak, Casper Ankergren. It was the Frenchman’s 12th goal in all competitions.
However, Brighton responded positively, and seemed to be extracting every pound of misery possible from the completely out of sorts Andre Santos, as they launched a barrage of attacks from the right, through Will Buckley.
Brighton’s response drew the goal it merited as Barnes headed in from close range, to level scores. Brighton were suffering from injuries, as Gordon Greer and Will Buckley had to be taken off, and were replaced by Gary Dicker (yeah!) and Kazenga Lualua. (Not sure if he is related to Lomana LuaLua!)
Arsenal came out with some more intent in the second half, with Lukas Podolski hitting the post with a brilliant free kick. However, Arsenal did not have to wait long, as Diaby and Giroud bought back memories of the Song-van Persie combination of last season.
Diaby played in a perfectly weighted ball over the top, into Giroud’s path, who held off the lanky Adam El-Abd, to slot past Brighton’s goalkeeper to make it 2-1. Giroud ran off to celebrate with the Arsenal fans, enjoying a warm and cuddly moment and was shown a yellow card.
Brighton, however, proved their possible Premier League credentials, as they drew level, when Argentine striker Leandro Ullea, making his debut for the Seagulls, headed from close range, with the Arsenal defence having gone to sleep.
Arsenal threw on Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott in place of Tomas Rosicky and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, in order to inject some urgency, while also taking off the hapless Andre Santos for Kieran Gibbs.
It clearly proved to be the perfect tonic for Arsenal, as a poor punchout from Ankergren fell right into the path of Theo Walcott, who slotted the ball home, to make it 3-2 to Arsenal. Brighton threw some bodies forward, including striker Craig Mackail-Smith, but Arsenal held on nervously to ensure progress into the 5th Round.
Not many positives from a classic cup encounter for Arsenal. Aaron Ramsey had a decent game, and showed he can be effective as a deep lying midfielder. There were lesser mistakes, and his passing was neat
Defensively, Mertesacker looked out of sorts against Ulloa, and will have to get his act straight, before he is up against some Uruguyan bloke pretty soon. Giroud looks to have settled in well, over the past two games, with two well taken strikes, which would have done his confidence wonders.
Lukas Podolski looked lively, and Theo Walcott really seems to be in the form of his life, which can only be positive for Arsenal!
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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