Wembley looked stunning yesterday with half the stadium in our light blue colours and the other half in red. Not everyone agrees on Wembley for these semi final fixtures, but when you get beautiful Sunday afternoons like that and games like that it does make it a sublime spectacle. Unfortunately we were on the end of a defeat ourselves.
We started quite brightly to be fair and with on changes to the team from the Southampton game we looked composed from the off. Times are a changing of course but it’s great to still see Kompany, Silva and Yaya out there from our team that won the FA Cup back in 2011. Arsenal have had various FA Cup teams playing at Wembley in recent years after their own success, but I don’t think they would have ever expected to come into this game with a back three central defense partnership which included Rob Holding. With Monreal and then Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain deployed as wing backs.
Koscielny hit a superb finish early, but thankfully some good defensive work from our back line who got out quickly to catch him offside. Correct decision. We did however have a few other decisions on the day that were not clear-cut and good have as easily gone our way. Those incidents were penalties not given and goals disallowed after the ball had apparently gone out.
Despite Silva going off for Sterling after just twenty minutes or so with a suspected hamstring, we were easily the better team with the more dominance in the first half. We never managed to get a goal though, but just as Arsenal started to come into the game more in the second half we took the lead. Aaron Ramsey lost the ball on the edge of our area, Toure got hold of it and with a superb ball over the top that took out the whole of their defense to find Sergio. Our man Aquero then ran clean through from the half-way line and just when it looked like he’d taken it too far, he dinged it past Czech.
It didn’t take them long to get level though, just ten minuets later in fact and from an unlikely source. Even worse when you see where it was created from. It can’t be too often you one wing back cross from deep and the other winged back gets on the end of it to smash it home. Well that’s what happened, Oxlade-Chamberlain crossed from their right-hand side to Monreal coming in on the left-hand side and he volleyed it home with his right foot. His first goal in two years, the last one being an FA Cup quarter-final goal.
Despite that set back, we should have still won the game, Yaya’s great volley from outside the area was excellently ike saved by Cech with his fingers tips. Fernandinho’s header then hit the bar and it looked as if it might not be our day as we headed into extra time and so it proved.
A Ozil free-kick which was whipped in like a corner to the back post to find Koscielny and he headed the ball back across goal. Welbeck missed it but Sanchez took his time to control it and put it in the back of net from about 4 yards. If that wasn’t bad enough, their fans mocked us with a Poznan like dance celebration. Gutting afternoon which was only made worse when I celebrated when I thought Delph had scored to equalise.