FA Cup Rewind: Oxlade-Chamberlain Shines For Arsenal, City Oust Chelsea, Everton Advance, More

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BY MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

The Gunners needed a response after a poor performance against Liverpool and a lackluster one against Manchester United during the midweek league fixtures. They got just that with a victory over The Reds in the fifth round of the FA Cup, beating Liverpool 2-1.

Arsene Wenger sent out a side missing several regulars, resting some key players for the upcoming Champions League match against Bayern Munich midweek. The gamble paid off as Arsenal did enough to get the win.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put in a man of the match effort, scoring the opener in the first half and assisting on Lukas Podolski’s eventual winner in the second. Oxlade-Chamberlain was always a threat on the counter attack and his pace posed Liverpool problems throughout the match, several times being hacked down by the Red’s defense.

Another Lukas put in a very good performance for the Gunners as Fabianski made several crucial saves to keep Liverpool from leveling the match. The Polish keeper’s only blight would be not saving Steven Gerrard’s penalty kick after a silly Podolski foul in the box. However, Gerrard is just about automatic from the spot and Fabianski cannot really shoulder the blame.

Liverpool can feel a little unlucky as contact in the box should have resulted in a penalty. Oxlade-Chamberlain made contact with Luis Suarez with Howard Webb in a good position to see the play. However, the referee waved it off and Liverpool’s shouts for a penalty were denied.

Liverpool is now knocked out of the FA Cup and their pursuit for a trophy is over, but they can take some solace in their performance. The Reds took the game to the home side on several occasions, but were unable to apply the finishing touches to go ahead. Daniel Sturridge in particular was culpable for his lack of clinical finishing, especially early in the match. However, it was still a performance that Liverpool can build upon in their next league match.

Other Results From The FA Cup

1. Feeling Blue– Chelsea couldn’t replicate their performance at the Eithad, falling to Manchester City 2-0. Jose Mourinho spoke about Arsene Wenger’s inability to win trophies recently, but The Special One can now take one trophy out of his hunt.

The Blues had a torrid time getting much going as City bossed the midfield. Yaya Toure put on a much more assured display than previously against Chelsea. Also, City’s attack was much more potent than their last meeting, creating several good goal scoring chances.

Stefan Jovetic put the Citizens ahead in the 16th minute, slotting the ball to the far post after a decisive pass from forward partner Edin Dzeko. The second goal from City came with a hint of offside. David Silva looked just a step off when he received a pass from Samir Nasri. David Luiz threw his hand up and allowed Nasri to run right past him to receive a return ball from Silva to double the City lead.

Mourinho can feel slightly aggrieved by City’s second, but it didn’t make much difference. Chelsea was second best throughout the match and it showed as City advance to the quarterfinals.

2. Toffees Topple SwansSteven Naismith came on as a substitute in the second half and changed the game for Everton. He scored to give the Toffees the lead and then was fouled in the box, giving Leighton Baines the chance to put the game away from the penalty spot, which he did.

Lacina Traore got his first Everton goal early with four minutes gone in the match. Jonathan De Guzman leveled the match with his headed effort in the 15th minute.

However, it was Roberto Martinez’s sending on Naismith that turned the game on its head. It only took the Scottish striker four minutes to give the Toffees the lead en route to advancing to the FA Cup quarterfinals.

3. Watson Free Kick Keeps Wigan Alive– Wigan Athletic continue their march to defend their FA Cup title as Ben Watson’s 40-yard free kick just before halftime lifted Wigan over Cardiff.

Wigan took the lead in the 18th minute through Chris McCann. That lead was short lived as Frazier Campbell leveled the match in the 27th minute.

Cardiff City needed a confidence-boosting win, but was unable to beat the Championship side. The Welsh club continued to push, but the Lactics defense was able to keep them out.

One player that continues to stand out is Cardiff keeper David Marshall. Although he came out on the losing side, he continues to make fantastic saves. He is one to keep an eye on. If Cardiff is to eventually be relegated, it would not be a surprise to see him move to a bigger club.

4. Sunderland Good Cup Form Continues On– The Black Cats have had their struggles in the Premier League, but their cup form continues to be very strong. Sunderland is in the final of the League Cup and is now through to the quarterfinals in the FA Cup.

It was Craig Gardener’s strike from distance that carried Sunderland to victory, unleashing a 25-yard effort four minutes after the halftime break.

For Southampton, they made several changes to their squad and it showed. Their performance wasn’t near good enough, knocking them out in a competition they had a great chance to continue in.

5. The Blades Chop Down Nottingham Forest– Two late goals from Chris Porter gave The Blades the edge over Championship side Forest. Sheffield United is the lowest ranked side since 1990 to make it this far as the League One side head into the quarterfinals.

Nottingham Forest took the lead in the 28th minute through a Jaime Paterson headed effort. The Blades evened the score in the 66th minute after Forest keeper’s Dorus de Vries error left Coady to fire into an open net.

It ended up being late, but great for Sheffield United. Former Blade Greg Halford handled the ball in the box after a Jaime Murphy cross and Porter kept his cool, slotting the penalty kick home in the game’s dying minutes. He added a second in stoppage-time, as Murphy again was the catalyst. His cross picked out Porter who gave The Blades a big victory in the FA Cup.

6. Poor Pitch Conditions– One FA Cup match was postponed, as Sheffield Wednesday’s pitch was waterlogged and not in match quality ahead of their encounter against Charlton.