It’s Ben today giving his thoughts on last weekend and the FA Cup in general. I’ll be back tomorrow with a dissection of what Arsène said in his pre-villa presser.
We’ve been told in recent weeks that The FA Cup has been becoming secondary and it’s losing it’s appeal. Last weekend begged to differ. We witnessed an incredible alignment from the footballing gods. Most of the major contenders went out. We had Manchester United draw at League 2 Cambridge City. Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea lost a 2 goal lead to concede 4 goals to League 1’s Bradford. If superficial analysis is universally applied, Jose must be burnt at the stake. Immediately. Also, Man City and Spurs crash out. If it is losing it’s appeal, It’s definitely going down swinging.
After infuriating the footballing gods by actually enjoying the apocalypse, Brighton could of been a fixture that ‘Our beloved Arsenal’ could have flunked, terribly. But thankfully we didn’t allow that to happen. The last two games on the Arsenal calendar have been fun. like, really fun. They’ve both had something delightfully in common; A player has played out of his skin. Against Man City Santi Cazorla ran the show. At the weekend it was Tomas Rosicky.
The Little Mozart conducted our performance against Brighton and he did a pretty good job of it too. He set up Özil beautifully for our second goal and scored the third. He won the ball back high up the pitch, gave the defender his exaggerated ‘no-look’ pass which allowed Giroud the space to chip (he’s bloody good at those) it back to the edge of the box, at which point he lashed it into the back of the net.
Tomas has this great ability to control the ball, turn away from his man and drive forward four or five metres all in one movement to open up space and he did so all game. He’s 34 years of age but bursts around the pitch like a man half his age. Pressing, harassing the opposition when we don’t have the ball, then when we do have the ball he’s got one thing on his mind and that’s to go forward and make something happen. As Arsène said, if you love football, you love Super Tomas Rosicky.
But it wasn’t all about Rosicky. The rest of the motley crew put in a good performance. Ramsey made a huge impression on the game and played well; he ran himself ragged. Martin Keown said something interesting this week on our young Welshman and summed up my feelings perfectly on him:
“For me he (Ramsey) gambles too much, he doesn’t wait till the possession is secured enough and he is the key. If he can get the balance right from [when] he becomes part defender to part attacker, then Arsenal could go on and do particularly well because everyone else in that team was prepared to put a stint in defensively but Ramsey was bursting forward sometimes far too often and that could be a problem in the future.”
I agree wholeheartedly. I’d like to make it clear it isn’t a dig at Ramsey because he’s still young and learning his role, his position in the side. He can just be very frustrating to watch. He seems to do something incredibly intelligent and then he will do something equally ignorant. He’s really flirting with the idea of being bloody good at football.
There’s no doubt that the early goal at the weekend helped us control the first half. Theo will have gained massive confidence from such a sublime finish. But Theo Walcott is a player who continues to trick my eyes with his sorcery of playing styles. You watch him play and it looks like every performance is his first on a football pitch. Then you look at his stats for goals and assists and he’s up there with some very good players. I think it’s very clear at this point that Theo is a player who will get you goals as an instinctive finisher and pacy outlet, rather than a genuine creative winger. Bearing all that in mind it’s hard to work out our starting XI at the best of times, but with Theo contributing the way he did against Brighton, can he really sit on the bench playing like that?
To say something out loud that may sound silly – Theo’s goal encouraged us as much as it seemed to deflate Brighton. It was huge for us to start in such a positive way, considering the changes we made to the starting XI, as Theo said after the game (sensibly I might add). We were good in patches but, in the wake of three consecutive clean sheets, we need to look closely at the two goals we conceded. With a good number falling at the fourth hurdle it has been a great round for us. There are still some good sides left in who could easily cause an upset but providing we can beat Middlesborough we will be well on our way.
Bloody love the cup.