Arsenal vs Liverpool
Kick off: February 16, 2014 4.00 PM BST
The Gunners were perhaps fortunate to take the lead after two clear-cut chances for Liverpool in the opening quarter, however they controlled the middle portion of the game with two well-taken goals from the Ox and Podolski.
The German made it interesting for the Gunners when he conceded a needless penalty, but Arsenal held on despite the barrage of Liverpool attacks to qualify for the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup.
Next up Everton.
Here are the player ratings:
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Lukasz Fabianski | 8.5 (MotM): Shame he’s leaving in the summer. Had a solid first half, coming out and dealing with the danger while also producing strong saves from Sturridge and Suarez. Was nothing short of brilliant in the second denying Suarez time and time again, while coming out to quell Sturridge who was clean through. Was lucky not to concede from Agger late in the match after a dangerous free-kick and poor decision making that was reminiscent of his ‘Flappy-handski’ days. But overall kept the Gunners in the game.
Carl Jenkinson | 6.75: Struggled with the pace of Liverpool’s superb strikers at times, especially the extremely quick Sterling. Was unable to get forward as much as he has done in the past, but at the end of the day a good, encouraging performance from the Englishman.
Per Mertesacker | 7.5: Some solid clearances from the BFG and commanded his backline well. Coped with Liverpool’s pace well and would have earned a cleansheet had it not been for Podolski’s stupidity.
Laurent Koscielny | 8.0: The Frenchman did a brilliant job of keeping Liverpool’s famed SAS partnership quiet, providing some vital interceptions and strong challenges.
Nacho Monreal| 7.0: A much better performance from the Spaniard. Was a lot more menacing on attack but also managed to not get turned inside out as much as last week.
Mikel Arteta | 7.0: It appears using the Arteta-Flamini double pivot works well at home. The Spaniard was much improved and worked hard in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield. Staying on his feet whenever possible, Arteta didn’t look too leggy today.
Mathieu Flamini| 7.25: Arsenal needed his bite in the Anfield fixture last weekend, and he proved his experience and composure with a controlled performance. However yet another yellow card for the Frenchman after a over-excited challenge on the Liverpool skipper.
Mesut Özil | 7.75: Özil was brilliant today. Wasn’t always involved with Arsenal often sitting back and without the driving force of a Wilshere or Ramsey in midfield but it’s moments of pure class that makes him un-droppable. A superb defence-splitting pass helped The Ox cut back for Podolski’s finish. Almost got on the scoresheet with a neat inter-change with his compatriot and always looked lively.
Lukas Podolski | 6.5: The German interchanged well with Monreal at times but failed to get much going in the first half. However scored an excellent goal in the second to extend Arsenal’s lead. Would have deserved a higher rating had it not been for the pathetic, ‘striker’s’ challenge on Suarez in their box which earned Gerrard a penalty and Liverpool a way back.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | 8.5: Enjoyed a superb outing scoring Arsenal’s opener and was the Gunners most lethal attacking outlet. His pace was a huge asset and demonstrated that with an assist for Podolski’s finish in the second. He also put in a solid shift coming back in to defend when needed. Was substituted later on to help sure up the game and offer the Englishman some rest.
Yaya Sanogo| 7.5: A surprise inclusion, but was a good focal point of the attack. Demonstrated some excellent strength to play a vital part in Arsenal’s opener and worked hard. Played some nice one-two’s with The Ox, but is still quite a raw talent with some wayward passing in situations where you would expect him to do better. Overall an encouraging game from the youngster.
Santi Cazorla | 6.0: Had acres of space to finish the game after coming on but smashed it sky-high. Would have expected the Spaniard to bury it. Took a nasty boot to the ankle from Skrtel and failed to do much else.
Keiran Gibbs | 6.0: Came on for The Ox to help sure up Arsenal’s lead. Played in a more advanced role, put in a dangerous cross and made some decent runs forward.
Olivier Giroud | N/A: Subbed on for Sanogo late on.