Swansea 2 - 2 Arsenal: FA Cup match report

Ben Hoskins

There will be a replay at the Emirates after a wild second half sees both sides score twice.

1 - 0 Michu 58'
1 - 1 Lukas Podolski 81'
2 - 1 Kieran Gibbs 83'
2 - 2 Danny Graham 87'

Arsenal had a bit of a rough first half but were able to play much better in a wild second half that saw Swansea take the lead, then Arsenal come back and take the lead, and then Swansea equalize before both sides took a draw and a replay at the Emirates.

Arsene Wenger opted not to rotate very much this afternoon, but he did make a couple of changes. He slotted Aaron Ramsey in on the left in place of Lukas Podolski, while Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott both saw the pitch at the same time. Arsenal would start the brighter, pressing Swansea when out of possession. swansea managed to work through that press fairly easily 10 minutes in, but Bacary Sagna able to head their cross away. 13 minutes on, Kyle Bartley played Danny Graham in over the top, Per Mertesacker trying to keep pace. Graham let fly from 20 yards on the half-volley, but Wojciech Szczesny saved.

Swansea were starting to come on, passing extremely well through the midfield or over it when necessary. Swans had a corner on 20 minutes that Arsenal cleared, Walcott's shot after the counter blocked. Arsenal won a free kick on 23 minutes which Walcott hit into the wall, but overall, their play had steadied again, maintaining possession into the 27th minute, when Mikel Arteta's cross found nobody. Ramsey had a good opportunity on 30 minutes, but opted to try to shift the ball onto his right rather that shoot with his left, and Ben Davies was able to recover for Swansea.

Swansea came up the other end, and Arsenal had to clear Ben Davies' cross. Arsenal came up the other end, and Santi Cazorla put Kieran Gibbs' cutback over. Ramsey couldn't keep up with his runner a minute later, brought him down, and earned a yellow. From the resultant free kick, Bartley--former Arsenal man--outjumped Mertesacker and headed his shot off the crossbar. It was a narrow escape.

Swansea were on the up again, although no further shots were forthcoming. Santi Cazorla had an attempt on 44 minutes which Michel Vorm saved easily. The half fizzled out, and Howard Webb blew for halftime.

0 - 0.

The second half started up with no changes. Olivier Giroud had a shot that is best not mentioned again; his effort on the counter on 51 minutes was much better, but Vorm saved well. This kicked off a good spell from the Gunners, who begain attacking with some tempo. 54 minutes on, Giroud attempted a great half-volley which Vorm saved well, and then Chico Flores trod on Giroud's knee, opening it up something fierce.

Pablo Hernandez replaced Wayne Routledge for Swansea, and Jonathan de Guzman came off for Michu.

It would be a good sub, that, because a minute later, 58 minutes on, Michu collected a headed-on pass, flicked it over Mertesacker far too easily, bore down on goal, and slotted home past Szczsesny.

1 - 0 to Swansea, 58'.

Swansea were looking for more on 64 minutes as Arsenal misplaced a pass directly to Michu. A minute later, Ramsey crossed beautifully for Giroud, but the Frenchman headed well wide, strangely.

Leon Britton departed for Kemy Agustien on 69 minutes. Lukas Podolski came on for Aaron Ramsey on 73 minutes. Arsenal were pushing for an equalizer, but Giroud's first touch was not great, and ten seconds later, Theo put it wide of the far post on 75 minutes. Podolski put it wide two minutes later, but was offside anyhow. 80 minutes in, Bartley earned a yellow for fouling Wilshere right on the edge of the area; Arsenal's free kick hit the wall.

But swansea were reeling a bit, and finally, FINALLY, FRIGGING FINALLY, Arsenal made them pay. And it was Podolski. Koscielny knocked a corner back into the area, and Poldi spun and hit it with his left, hard, very hard.

1 - 1, 81'. Game on.

If that goal was good, though, what was coming was better. Gibbs played it to Giroud, and Giroud's floated return was unbelievable. Gibbs ran through the defense to meet it on the volley with his left, and by God, he met it.

1 - 2, 83'.

But it wasn't over. Swansea came alive again and earned a corner, and from that, the ball came to Danny Graham. There was no marking at all, and he was able to finish over the stranded Szczesny.

2 - 2, 87'.

Arsenal had a corner on 90 minutes, and Koscielny headed well, Vorm saved, and Koscielny put the rebound over the bar. It was a great effort. There would be five minutes of added time. Both sides would have near chances during that time, but the time ran out on both of them, and Webb blew up for full time.

There will be a replay coming at the Emirates. Not ideal, but hey, these are the breaks.


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