Monday, 26 January 2015

Arsenal See Off Brighton And Face Middlesbrough Next

Arsenal's defence of the FA Cup has got off to a good start with wins over Hull and Brighton so far and they're through to the last 16. The draw has been pretty kind to them up to now with Hull at home and a trip to a team from the Championship followed by tonight's fifth round draw at home to Middlesbrough. Their passage to the last eight is clear and their hopes of retaining the cup are quite high.

After all the shock results on Saturday Arsenal went to Brighton and put in a relatively good performance to beat Brighton 3-2. There were plenty of positives from the game with both Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil getting good game time and getting their names on the scoresheet too. Tomas Rosicky again got to show exactly how good he is and what he has to offer the team when he gets his chance.

Arsenal scored three very good goals and managed to hold on without too much trouble towards the end when Brighton tried to get back into the game. The two goals Arsenal conceded may not have covered the defence in glory, but winning away to Brighton is infinitely superior to what happened both Chelsea and City. Their defeats showed the beauty of the FA Cup but it also served as a warning to Arsenal and Arsenal managed to heed that warning against Brighton.

Arsenal play six times next month and four of those six games are at home while they don't have to leave London for the other two. Those six games are across three competitions and they are all games which they are more than capable of winning. If they're going to do something this season they're going to have to win all or at least almost all of those games.

After playing Villa next Sunday it's the second North London derby of the season away to Spurs and then a home game against bottom club Leicester. On paper the FA Cup game at home to Middlesbrough is one Arsenal should have little to fear in, but Middlesbrough showed they are a team to be reckoned with when they won away to City on Saturday. They're pushing for promotion to the Premier League and have a very good work ethic and a strong defence too. 

After playing 'Boro and a trip to Crystal Palace it's back to Champions League action to finish the month off when Monaco come calling. They might not set the world alight with thrilling football, but they have an incredible defensive record at the moment and will prove to be a huge test. I think Arsenal can will all six of those games in February and set themselves up for a great end to the season. 

Of course the team have let us down so often in recent seasons just as it looked like they were finally getting somewhere. It's the life of a football fan to expect the best from their team and end up getting disappointed time after time, but this Arsenal team have got the talent to win another trophy this season. The win over City has hopefully given them the belief which they need and it might just have given us fans some of that belief too.

Finally for today it looks like Arsenal are just about to tie up the signing of Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal and add to their rather small collection of central defenders. He looks like he could be a very valuable addition to the squad and he's already good enough to fit right into the team. Both Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker will have to be at their best to keep their places and hopefully Nacho Monreal will not have to be called upon to play centrally again. Speaking of Monreal he started against Brighton and that makes it nine games in a row Arsenal have won when he has started.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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