Arsenal v Wigan
FA Cup Semi Final
Kick off: April 12, 2014 5.07 PM BST
We certainly did it the hard way, but a win is a win, and we’re into the final. We left it late to equalise after conceding a penalty, but made it all the way through to the penalty shoot out. Lukasz Fabianski was the hero of the hour, saving Wigan’s first 2 penalties and taking some of the pressure of the rest of the boys. Here are the player ratings:
Lukasz Fabianski | 9.0: (MotM) While he wasn’t troubled for a lot of the game, he stopped everything that came his way. When it came to the penalty shoot out, he saved the first 2 Wigan pens, taking a huge amount of pressure off his side.
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Bacary Sagna | 7.25: Bac didn’t get forward as much as he normally does, but was solid at the back. He was unlucky not to score in the first half, shooting just over from a tight angle. And also hitting the post in the second half.
Per Mertesacker | 7.5: Per conceded a sloppy penalty, giving Wigan the lead. The ecstasy in his celebration when he levelled things up was fantastic to see though, and you could see how much it meant to him. His defending was decent for the most part, although Wigan didn’t offer much going forward.
Thomas Vermaelen | 6.75: He struggled with the trickery of McManaman a few times, and wasn’t as dominant as he should have been. He made some important clearances and tackles however, and almost set up a goal for Sagna.
Nacho Monreal | 5.0: Really struggled with McManaman, and was caught out of position at times. Due to his lack of confidence with his positioning, he often stands off attackers, causing problems for his team mates. He gets forward well at times, but his end product is usually poor. His shortcomings were more obvious when Gibbs replaced him, the team looking instantly stronger and more fluid.
Mikel Arteta | 8.0: I thought Arteta was quietly fantastic today. He put in a number of fantastic tackles, played several great long balls, and broke up play in midfield when he needed to. He could have picked a more adventurous pass a couple of times, choosing to go backwards instead of forward. Nonetheless he was a rock in midfield.
Aaron Ramsey | 7.0: He, along with Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, looked the most likely to make something happen early on. His link up play was fantastic, and at times looked like he had earlier on in the season. He clearly, and understandably, tired as the match went on, and his passes started to get a little sloppier.
Santi Cazorla | 5.0: He scored the winning penalty, but he was largely anonymous for a lot of the match. In big games you need players like him to step up and create things, but he was largely ineffective.
Alex Oxlade Chamberlain | 8.0: A stunning performance from the young Englishman, and he is truly becoming an integral part of Arsenal’s squad. He was a key player for the Gunners, his driving runs and pace adding something that they were lacking in other areas. He almost set up Yaya Sanogo early on, and was massively unlucky to see a long range shot smash into the crossbar late on.
Lukas Podolski | 4.5: Just like Cazorla, largely ineffectual. He was subbed just before 70 minutes, and did very little in his time on the pitch. He saw a free kick sail just wide, and was incorrectly flagged offside after a great run, but that was about it.
Yaya Sanogo | 6.5: A mixed performance from the youngster. On the one hand is movement was good, which got him into several goal scoring positions. On the other, his finishing and several other aspects of his game were severely lacking. Should have scored several times, but despite wasted opportunities, he certainly looks like a great prospect.
Keiran Gibbs | 7.5: His impact on the game was far more than was obvious. He stretched play well, creating space for other players, but also solidified the back line fantastically. He was a massive improvement over Nacho, and the team is a completely different animal with him in it.
Olivier Giroud | 7.0: He gave the team a boost when he came on, putting in massive amounts of effort and giving a slightly better out ball. The hold up play of him and Sanogo combined was much better, and he made the whole team look more threatening. He dispatched his penalty coolly and calmly, giving Carson absolutely no chance.
Kim Kallstrom | 7.0: A solid cameo performance from the Swede, helping the team with a great penalty to win the shootout.