WTTGT Reporter: Tashan Deniran-Alleyne
ARSENAL 1-0 LEEDS UNITED
(F.A Cup 3rd Round)
Arsenal progressed to the fourth round of the F.A Cup after a 1-0 win over Championship side Leeds United thanks to a goal from Thierry Henry who scored his 227th for the club to mark his return by setting up a clash with Aston Villa.
The much anticipated team news for the Gunners saw the club’s all time record goalscorer start on the bench, whilst there were starts for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andrei Arshavin, Francis Coquelin and Ignasi Miquel.
Arshavin had the first real chance, three minutes into the game but he blazed over after being played in by Marouane Chamakh. The hosts dominated possession in the opening 15 minutes and went close to again but Sebastien Squillaci headed Mikel Arteta’s free-kick wide.
Good work from Arshavin and Chamberlain eventually presented a chance for Aaron Ramsey who saw his effort blocked for a corner. Sloppy defending from the Gunners after a set piece allowed Luciano Becchio space but he could only blast high over the bar from close range.
After a bright opening 20 minutes from the home side very few opportunities followed for either side as the teams went in at the break with the scores goalless.
Chamberlain went close at the start of the second half, cutting inside the fullback, but could only drag his effort wide of the post, as the Gunners set about getting the first goal of the game. The young winger was growing into the game and his run down the left and crossed for Chamakh who laid it off for Arteta but his first time shot was kept out by Andy Lonergan.
With less than 20 minutes to go both Henry and Theo Walcott were summoned from the bench to try and force a winner.
And it was the Frenchman who put Arsenal ahead with a calmly taken finish that will surely bring back memories for many Arsenal fans, as he took Alex Song’s pass in his stride and finished into the bottom corner.
Moments after the goal Ross McCormack went close with header and with the game nearing its conclusion, Leeds substitute Mikeal Forssell threatened to spoil the party but his effort was well saved by Wojciech Szczensny.
But the night belonged to Arsenal and Henry who proved that form is temporary but class is indeed permanent.
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