Match in a sentence
Swansea and Arsenal fought to a hard earned draw courtesy of four second half goals, which sets up an intriguing third round FA Cup replay.
- Arsene Wenger set up his Arsenal side in a 4-2-3-1 that welcomed Olivier Giroud back into the fold as he led the line. Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey were on the flanks and Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny was the chosen centre back pairing.
- Michael Laudrup also opted to line his side up in a 4-2-3-1 that saw Danny Graham lead the line with Nathan Dyer, Wayne Routledge and Ki Sung-Yueng behind him. Former Arsenal centre back Kyle Bartley started alongside Chico Flores at the back.
- After losing to Swansea 2-0 earlier on in the season, Arsenal was looking to get revenge at the Liberty Stadium. Arsenal pressed high up the field attempting to force the Swansea players to make mistakes. Unfortunately, this seemed to play into Swansea’s hands, as they were able to play through the pressure. They also played long diagonal balls over the Arsenal high line, which created goal-scoring chances.
- Both sides dropped into 4-5-1’s when they didn’t have the ball and it worked to great effect, as neither side was able to create many goal-scoring chances which left the goalkeepers with little to do.
- Arsenal was playing quite narrow with Ramsey on one flank positioned more centrally and Walcott drifting centrally when Arsenal had the ball. Walcott was practically a second striker and he caused the Swansea backline problems when he received the ball in the final third and ran at defenders.
- Arsenal started the second half in fine fashion, pegging the Swansea defenders in their own zone, but they were unable to beat Michel Vorm.
- Laudrup replaced Dyer and Routledge and brought on Michu and Pablo Hernandez, pushing Michu behind Graham. Michu only needed a minute to make an impact as Arsenal’s high line was exposed yet again. Michu flicked the ball past Mertesacker and calmly placed his shot past Wojciech Szczesny.
- Although Michu’s introduction did provide the goal, defensively it left some holes in the midfield and it allowed Wilshere and Arteta to gain controlof the game. Swansea began to tire and they were consistently giving away possession cheaply. It seemed like Laudrup’s men were content on protecting their lead, but it nearly ended up backfiring on them.
- Wenger brought on Lukas Podolski for Ramsey, which gave Arsenal another goal scoring threat in the final third. As did Michu, Podolski smashed home the equalizer minutes after coming off the bench as Swansea were unable to clear their lines.
- Two minutes later Kieran Gibbs gave Arsenal the lead, playing a lovely one-two with Giroud, in which Dwight Tendialli and substitute Kemy Agustien were ball watching and Gibbs smashed a half volley past Vorm into the top corner.
- Arsenal looked certain to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup but Swansea pushed on for a late equalizer. Off a corner kick, Gibbs’ failed clearance fell to Ki and without any pressure being applied from the Arsenal defenders he passed the ball to Graham who thumped the equalizer past Szczesny.
- It was a game that saw both sides enjoy large spells of possession, but dearly lacking quality in the final third. It was far from a tactical battle and both coaches will be furious that they’ll be forced to play a replay. Laudrup’s team selection will be questioned but with a date against Chelsea midweek in the Capital One Cup semi finals, a draw will suffice.
1. Chico Flores
2. Kyle Bartley
3. Olivier Giroud