Monday, 17 February 2014

FA Cup 5th Round Matches, Analysis + Review:

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post where I have analysis and a review of all the FA Cup 5th Round matches that were played over the weekend:

Manchester City 2 Chelsea 0
This match was played at the Ethiad Stadium as City took revenge from their disappointing 1-0 home loss against The Blues in the EPL a few weeks back to secure their place in the Last 8 of the FA Cup.

Goals from striker Stefan Jovetic and midfielder Samir Nasri on either side of half-time gave Pellegrini's men the last laugh after some interesting pre-match comments made by Mourinho earlier in the week. It was the hosts after all who started brighter, with good defensive work from Toure and Garcia along with creative build-up movement from Silva and Jovetic culminating with Chelsea being unable to handle their counterparts.

Silence the crowd: Jovetic celebrates his finish against Chelsea (below)

Low and hard: Jovetic broke the deadlock in the 16th minute with a low effort past Cech

The Blues were lacklustre in the first-half and despite a few flashes of good footwork from Belgian winger Eden Hazard on the flank they failed to trouble goalkeeper Pantilimon even after £15million pound forward Mohamed Salah replaced Eto'o at half-time.

Nasri came off the bench to secure the win, coming back after injury (knee) against Newcastle before linking-up with his team-mates to slot past Cech into the net on the counter attack.

Pass and move: Nasri slots past Cech to make it 2-0 in the second-half.

2 easy: Nasri celebrates his goal after coming off the bench in a comfortable City display
My MOTM: David Silva - looked silky, good ball control under pressure and created many chances for his team-mates to latch onto. 

Chelsea look fatigued and it seemed as if they relied on talisman Hazard to help them win the tie, where he was unable to see much of the ball on the flanks and had to keep rotating his position. They failed to test Pantilimon even, and did not score as a result. 

City's opponents in the Quarter-Finals - Wigan.
An interesting tie between the holders and the runners-up from last season, in an entertaining cup final last time out, with the underdogs and now Championship side Wigan taking advantage of their chances, with a slender 1-0 win thanks to Ben Watson's header past Hart in a crowded penalty area.

Everton 3 Swansea 1
The Toffees announced themselves as potential underdogs to win the FA Cup this year after sealing their place in the quarter-finals thanks to a promising display against The Swans at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon. 

They broke the deadlock after 4 minutes thanks to loanee striker Lacina Traore who scored his debut goal after some improvisation to backheel the ball into the net off-balance past Tremmel into the bottom corner. 

Backheel it: Traore used good improvisation to flick the ball behind him into the net.

Promising: Traore celebrates his debut goal for Everton after just 4 minutes.
Swansea showed resillence to equalise soon afterwards though in the 15th minute, thanks to good movement into the box from midfielder Jonathan de Guzman who ran unmarked before hitting a power header (from a cross) into the net.

Taking advantage: de Guzman heads Swansea level in the 15th minute.

Leveller: de Guzman celebrates his header after taking advantage of being unmarked.

The rest of the first-half was end-to-end (attack then defend for both sides) and stayed 1-1 until a costly mistake from Swansea's young left-back Neil Taylor who made a backpass under pressure to give substitute and striker Steven Naismith a golden opportunity to put Everton back in-front. Which he did to make it 2-1!

No mistake: Naismith takes advantage of Taylor's costly backpass to slot past Tremmel

Mixed emotions: Naismith celebrates his goal with delight as Taylor sits down annoyed

Not too soon afterwards some sloppy defending by Swansea allowed Naismith to weave his way into the box before he was brought down by full-back Richards inside the penalty area - with the referee having no choice but to award a penalty.
Leighton Baines made it 3-1, sending Tremmel the wrong way with a thumping hit into the net to confirm their place in the QFs.

Confident: Baines has scored his last 11 penalties, missing none.

Through to the Last 8: Baines and Naismith celebrate with the Everton faithful

The Swans were unlucky but ultimately paid the price as they stopped pressing in the second-half, with virtually their second string players on (thinking about their Europa League tie against Napoli on Thursday night)

My MOTM: Seamus Coleman - He was solid for Everton, bombing down the wings to offer support when needed and was able to track back when called upon to avoid any Swansea counter attacks. His work-rate was 100% and his passing was also accurate, important to avoid costly mistakes in his position.

I could have also given the MOTM to Steven Naismith, who was an inspired substitution for Roberto Martinez, coming off the bench to score a goal and set up another before limping off injured towards the end as a precautionary measure from a suspected aerial collision.      

Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1
This was the final FA Cup match of the weekend, with The Gunners having a point to prove against the side that beat them 5-1 last Saturday at Anfield in the league.
Both teams fielded slightly weaker teams going into the match at The Emirates, with Arsenal remembering their first leg tie in the Champions League against German giants and defending champions Bayern Munich on Wednesday night... 

FACT: Yaya Sanogo played his Arsenal senior debut in this match. U-21 French startlet and strong striker - one for the future.

Liverpool started the match better in the first 5-10 minutes with Sturridge having a few clear cut chances which he was unlucky not to take, being denied by the side netting and second string goalkeeper Fabianski who did well to keep his side in the match at times throughout with solid saves under pressure from the Liverpool frontmen.

Arsenal stepped up their game after this, desperate not for a repeat of what happened last weekend with good play from Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who combined together well before the latter opened the scoring with a low drive into the bottom corner of the net out of the reach of goalkeeper Brad Jones after 16 minutes of play.

Slotted: Oxlade-Chamberlain broke the deadlock with a calm finish past Jones

Making up for lost time: Chamberlain celebrates his third goal since recovering from injury

The Reds tested for an equaliser before half-time, while The Gunners stayed strong at the back with Mertesacker, Koscielny and Flamini each doing their job for the team to make sure they ended the first-half at 1-0. 

Arsenal started the second-half almost instantaneously with a goal, doubling their lead in the 47th minute after great play by Chamberlain to bomb past full-back John Flanagan on the flank and feed Podolski to strike past Jones into the net. 1 goal and an assist for the returning young English midfield talent, but Liverpool came back fighting. 

Oxlade-Chamberlain's involvement was key as Arsenal made it 2-0 just after half-time.
Power strike: Podolski applies the finishing touch after a good move from the Ox.

2 but not easy: Podolski celebrates his finish which fired up Liverpool even more!

Suarez won a penalty just inside the area as Podolski clipped his heel, with Gerrard making it 2-1 from the penalty spot sending Fabianski the wrong way before the Uruguayan striker was denied a second penalty as the Ox accidentally collided with him in an attempt to win the ball. Suarez went down theatrically according to the referee Howard Webb, who waved play on and denied Liverpool an obvious opportunity to level the match.     

Controversial: Suarez was denied a penalty after an accidental collison from the Ox.

Arsenal did well to hold on, making substitutes along the way despite good pressure from their opponents. Coutinho's sublime pass to Sturridge was pushed away well by the hands of Fabianski who did well to deny the English striker from equalising towards the end. Gerrard kept pressurising the Arsenal defenders with 40-yard passes and inviting set-pieces for his team-mates.

Coutinho was lively in the second-half, Suarez tested Fabianski throughout always keeping him on his toes and young English winger Sterling troubled full-backs Monreal and Jenkinson on the flanks with his blistering speed and close-control dribbling near the touchline. 

My MOTM - The Ox. 1 goal and 1 assist for the Ox, who played like one too. Driving through the midfield with pace and confidence, he was the reason why The Gunners won on Sunday and showed some of the pace injection that Arsenal have been missing since Walcott's injury.  

Sanogo looked good at times, linking up well with the Ox and Ozil well at times and worked hard for the team (tracking back when Liverpool had possession of the ball).  
His composure on the ball needs improving, he has to work on his ball footwork in difficult situations to imrpove as a player. He did not have too many shots at goal, which is an area that he needs to work on if he wants to star in more matches for Arsenal towards the end of the current season as he looks to gain more first-team experience ahead of the future. 

He is relatively quick and agile even for someone who has such a tall presence as he does - was fighting for balls and bullied Agger and Skrtel at times when he pressed for the ball. 

The match was an entertaining one, open, competitive, heated at times because both sides were frustrated at different points, too close to call the outcome of the match and showed the true desire and hunger of the players who were desperate to see their team progress to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. 

Arsenal defended well against Liverpool, however the big question is whether they will be able to replicate this against Bayern?  

The Gunners stayed firm and sealed their place in the quarter-finals, where they play Everton next month.   

Thank you for reading my blog post today, I hope that you enjoyed it. I apologise in advance again if any of my blog posts are published late between now and July - simply because I am focussing on my schoolwork at the moment up until the end of the school year which reduces the amount of time I can blog for at one time.

If I do not publish a blog post every few days then it means that I am working on one, to give you the best possible content with good quality so you can actually enjoy what you read. With that in-mind, I hope you enjoyed this review today.

I appreciate all of the daily support from page views and my followers, do not forget to follow me on Twitter and add me on Facebook with the message "blog" or "I have read your blog" so I know who you are - do not hesitate to comment with feedback, opinions and suggestions on what to write next.  

Thank you for your continued support, I will make it up to you! 

UEFA Champions League and Europa League knock-out round begins shortly... enjoy the matches!