Well what an exciting second half we witnessed on Sunday at the Liberty Stadium, and if you were anything like me, then I’m sure that you were exhausted at the end of the proceedings.
That final ten minutes was enough to shorten my life expectancy, but having been behind, ahead and level, Arsenal left Swansea with a 2-2 draw and an FA Cup third round replay at the Emirates.
Before the game I wasn’t too optimistic, given the Swans recent good form against us, especially with the latest defeat to them coming at home last month. And at 1-0 down, having squandered a million chances (approx.) I thought that we were dead and buried and our season was over.
But on the whole, Arsenal were probably the better side throughout the 90 minutes. A defeat for Swansea would have been harsh but neither side deserved to lose an enticing cup tie.
I was relieved to see Michu start the game on the bench but, wouldn’t you know it, he came on in the second half to score the game’s opener within two minutes of his arrival.
At that point I thought it would be typical Arsenal to go out with a whimper, but credit to the side as they continued to dictate the play and create plenty of chances. It did seem like one of those days though that we would just not be able to put the ball in the back of the net, with Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud all missing great chances throughout the game.
However, we had a super sub of our own, off the bench came Lukas Poldolski to level the scoreline with a quick turn and finish inside the box. A great goal.
Talking of which, what a screamer from Gibbs. A Podolski-esque strike, as he played a pass to Giroud, before the Frenchman dinked the ball over the top of the Swansea backline for Gibbs to thunder home a remarkable volley. 2-1.
But then , Arsenal didn’t waste any time in throwing away the lead, as from a corner two minutes after Gibbs had put us ahead, our shoddy marking allowed Danny Graham the time to control and slam home the leveller at the far post.
The Gunners will certainly be frustrated not to have won. They controlled large periods of the match, but failed to take their chances, which could have put them out of sight, and as much as you can commend Arsenal for coming from behind to go in front, you should criticise them the same amount for letting their lead slip with poor defending.
Swansea were mainly playing on the counter-attack and to some effect. They didn’t control much of the game, although they did have their spells of superiority. One thing with Swansea is that they always looked dangerous on the break, and put in a very commendable display against a strong Arsenal team.
It is very tough to give this award to one player today, as several players could be given the honour. However, Michu turned the game when he was brought on, instantly putting Swansea ahead with a brilliant solo effort before terrorising the Arsenal backline for the remainder of the match.
But my Arsenal man of the match has to be Kieran Gibbs. He made a slow start, and was beaten far too easily by Nathan Dyer on several occasions. But as the game went on, Gibbs grew stronger, and he bossed the second half. He got forward at every opportunity in what was a fast and frantic second period, created numerous chances, and scored a wonderful goal that any striker would have been proud of.
A replay doesn’t really suit either side but, with it being our easiest and in many eyes only chance of silverware this year, it will have to do. While the replay may be at home on Tuesday, January 15, it does add to what is an already hectic schedule.
But what the hell, we’re still in the cup and if we can beat the Welsh side on home turf then we can turn our attention to Brighton & Hove Albion in the fourth round.
The Gunners face a real tough schedule for the remainder of January, starting with a match against Manchester City next weekend.