Drab Display in FA Cup Semi Final
A disappointing result and a very disappointing performance saw Arsenal los to Chelsea in the semi-final of the F Cup semi-final.
Eyebrows were raised when Wenger opted to leave Nasri and Arshavin on the bench and replaced Song with Denilson. Song in recent games has been our rock in midfield and Denilson failed to match his work-rate. Wenger went fro a 4-2-3-1 formation with Fabregas playing behind Adebayor and van Persie out on the wing. Diaby partnered Denilson in central midfield. To be fair none of the above worked out.
Adebayor was isolated up front, neither van Persie nor Fabregas got close to him, making Alex and Terry’s job easy. Van Persie posed little threat on the wing; he has played this role before and each time he has been ineffectual.
Wenger got the tactics wrong and refused to change things.
Arsenal took the lead when Gibbs, made one of many good runs, crossed the ball and Walcott scored. This was one small glimmer of sunshine in a very poor game. Arsenal were fortunate not to fall behind earlier when Fabianski rushed out of his area, again, only to be second and allowed Drogba to head towards an empty net only for Gibbs to clear of the line once more.
Our passing in midfield was slack, the players looked nervous and it was only a matter of time before Chelsea equalised. Eboue was caught ball watching as a long ball went straight to Malouda. Eboue was slow in closing down the Chelsea player whose shot beat Fabianski at the near post.
The second half saw no clear chances for either team, though Chelsea played the more controlled football whilst Arsenal struggled to find any rhythm. When Arsene made a change, it was Arshavin for van Persie, when we all thought either Denilson or Diaby should come off and we could revert to a 4-4-2 formation. With less than 10 minutes to go Bendtner was sent on for Adebayor.
Seconds later a hopeful long ball found Silvestre wanting as Drogba skipped past him and Fabianski rushed out like a maniac caught in no-man’s land Drogba waltzed around him to slot the ball into an empty net. The game was not the Pole’s finest hour and he was inexperience was there for all to see throughout the game.
Nasri was thrown into the fray with five minutes to go, but this was too little too late.
Our dreams of FA Cup victory were brought to an end with a very drab display. Walcott and Gibbs were two players who could hold their heads up high. They performed well whilst others were either stage fright or the system confused them.
What Arsene must not do is be scared of the opposition and change our personnel accordingly, which was the case today.