By Daniel Brock
I arrived at Local 616 about 10 minutes late for the Arsenal thrashing at Anfield, and we were down 2-0 by the time I darkened the door.
I was running behind again yesterday– having fulfilled my religious obligations in the Sunday morning service – and walked in as celebrations were dying down following Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s opener.
Such is the power of prayer, I suppose.
The Ox turned provider early in the second half when he squared for Lukas Poldolski, who slotted home, as is his wont.
From what I gathered, Liverpool had a pair of early Daniel Sturridge chances that could have turned our 2-1 FA Cup 5th Round win into Merseyside Mauling Redux. Alas, it wasn’t to be for the Scousers, who hilariously felt “bitterly disappointed” by the result and Howard Webb’s refereeing, in particular.
Webb awarded a penalty for a Podolski challenge on Rodent Suarez in the 60th minute (which Gerrard converted), and there were shouts from the Reds for another when Chamberlain clanged into the Uruguayan in the area minutes later.
To be honest, the latter was a penalty. The first one, for me, wasn’t. Seems that all shakes out, then.
Suarez likely has himself to blame for not getting the second call. Aside from his notorious, well-documented and entirely accurate reputation as a biting, diving, cheat, he, in this instance, flopped around on the ground like a trout being pulled into a fishing boat.
Webb, astonishingly (given his statistics when it comes to Arsenal and penalties), was having none of it.
Still, I fail to sympathize with Brendan Rodgers' post-match moaning. In fact, if anything, Arsenal came out on the short end of the officiating stick. Raheem Sterling should have been sent off in first half stoppage time for making contact with Webb, Gerrard should have received his marching orders for what was surely a second bookable offense, Martin Skrtel dropkicked Santi Cazorla in the box and the penalty Webb did award was soft enough to feature in toilet paper ads.
And, yet, we’re through.
I’ve said over the past couple of weeks that this match was the lynchpin for the season, at least at this time. Now we’ve avenged the Anfield abomination, progressed to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup and head into the Bayern match on the heels of our best performance in more than a month.
Well played, lads.
Man of the Match:
Lukasz Fabianski: Came up huge time and again, save for one flappy moment late. Should have kneed Sturridge in the face when the Liverpool forward offered his shoe-tying services. The Pole, who looks set to leave this summer, made himself a bit of money today, I’d imagine.
Chamberlain! Ozil! Sanogo!
Flamini makes a world of difference.
Right now, we’re a better side without Jack, methinks.
Wenger 1, The Silly One 0