‘Behind every great man is a great woman’ goes the old saying, or is it just a part of a Eurythmics song? Anyway, the woman behind Arsenal’s man-of-the-match against Man City in the FA Cup semi-final was definitely Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards, who was dancing in the stands following her boyfriend’s outstanding performance. The love of her life, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain delivered a beautiful cross, which was converted by an unlikely scorer in the shape of Nacho Monreal. Making this equaliser a real collector’s item was the fact the Spaniard volleyed home with his right foot. Perhaps the keeper should have done better, but it was a good goal by any standards.
The Ox caused City a number of problems during the game, so it was no surprise that he was Arsenal’s saviour when the Gunners fell behind to Aguero’s opener. Monreal had been the defender left in the Argentinian’s wake in his solo run on goal, but the Spaniard wasn’t to blame. Instead, it was the largely ineffectual Ramsey, who was robbed. Yaya Toure’s pass to Aguero led to a goal that it looked like Arsenal could not recover from.
However, this new-look Arsenal seem made of sterner stuff than anyone expected, with the likes of Holding emerging from the back three with the ball like a marauding Beckenbauer. Meanwhile, Gabriel’s heroic blocking also helped keep Arsenal’s goal intact thereafter.
In short, with Holding, Gabriel and the Ox stepping up to the plate, it was a day of unlikely heroes for Arsenal. Well, apart from an obligatory goal from Sanchez, who stabbed in the winner after a miss-hit from Welbeck.
Let’s not forget Cech’s contribution, as he managed to fingertip a Toure shot onto the post and watch helplessly as Fernandinho’s header cannoned off the crossbar.
Indeed, Arsenal had Lady Luck as well as their own endeavour to thank for their victory, particularly as an earlier City strike from Sinclair was ruled out. It was incorrectly decided by the officials that Sane’s cross had gone out of play. If ever there was a moment when it seemed that Arsenal’s name was written on the cup it was then.
More dogged defending and a lack of little mix-ups needs to be the order of the day when Arsenal meet Chelsea in the final to give the team any chance of victory. Based on this performance, despite being underdogs, you’d have to say Arsenal have a chance.