By Steve Kessel
Following Saturday’s crazy string of results, I watched the game against Brighton with equal levels of excitement and anxiety. The upsets that occurred the day before left me feeling like we have to be favourites to win again and retain the cup, regardless of whether or not Man U and Liverpool come through their replays. That was my reason for excitement. I was anxious as I can never shake the feeling that we too may fuck it up and lose, and towards the end of the game I was worried we might.
The game of course started very well. Theo scored a great instinctive goal after some phenomenal wing play from Chambers down the right. Chambers, had a solid game throughout and gave Bellerin some welcome competition as a stand in for Debuchy. You could see from Theo’s reaction that he shook the monkey off his back with that goal.
However, following the goal he did seem hungry for more, which resulted in a little selfishness. All in all he played well though and the claim for a hand ball would have been a great layoff if it wasn’t interrupted by a bicep.
Was great to see Ozil score too and he took his goal well. Generally he played well throughout, retained the ball well and I even saw him get back and make an interception. Let’s hope that isn’t a collectors item and that the Sanchez ethos is starting to rub off on the whole team. I have to say I wasn’t too convinced by Szczesny’s performance, I think we may be seeing Ospina back between the sticks for the Villa game. Another that didn’t impress me all that much was Akpom. I was excited to see him come on, but he seemed pretty selfish with the ball, much to Sanchez’s frustration, and also didn’t seem to offer all that much work off the ball.
For me, the man of the match was Rosicky. Not just for that blinding volley, but also his all round play and work rate. His assist for Ozil was beautiful and he was always available to receive a pass. He must be almost as much of a pleasure to play with as Sanchez. Wenger summed it up perfectly in the post match press conference, “If you love football, you love Thomas Rosicky”. A superb captain’s performance and a stake for a place in the team against Villa. Suddenly our bench is looking a little fuller and when Jack returns we will have great depth in midfield.
I wasn’t sure that it was the best decision to risk Sanchez, but after that second goal went in for Brighton, I was very glad he was on the pitch. I was also very worried when I saw Rambo limping, but he seemed to run it off. All in all, I was nervous at the end, but we got a good win away from home and we are in the draw tomorrow for the next round. The hardest draw we could get is Man U or Liverpool and I do believe we can beat either and retain the cup. We have a good run of five winnable games now, so let’s keep up this momentum and keep moving up the table.
Up the Arsenal!!!