Arsenal FC knockout Tottenham Hotspur as Wenger defends Walcott’s gesture to the Spurs supporters.
Arsenal knocked out Tottenham Hotspur in the third round of the FA Cup at the Emirates last night as the Gunners produced a dominant performance. This was the same Tottenham side which defeated Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday, yet they were second best all over the pitch against an Arsenal side which has been stretched due to injuries.
A lot was expected from this game as two local rivals went head-to-head in a knockout tournament and this match lived up to all its hype. It was a wonderful game to watch for the neutrals as both the sides went for it from the whistle. The first half was fairly even and the match was played at a blistering pace. Santi Cazorla provided the lead to the home side in the 31st minute as he drilled his shot past Hugo Lloris from the left after being set up by Serge Gnabry. The understanding between Tomas Rosicky and Cazorla in attack was a joy to behold, while Theo Walcott and Gnabry’s pace kept Spurs on the back foot.
Tomas Rosicky’s second half goal settled the game and the midfielder deserved it for the wonderful performance he put up. The 33-year-old pressed Danny Rose and won the ball high up on the pitch and was through on goal. Although Kyle Walker nearly caught-up with him, Rosicky’s wonderful finish over the top of Lloris was a thing of beauty. Arsenal did have few injury concerns in the game as Mikel Arteta was replaced by Mesut Ozil after struggling to carry on, while Walcott was stretchered off after suffering from what looks like a knee injury. The Gunners played with 10-men after Walcott’s departure as Wenger had already used all three substitutes, but Spurs failed to make their numerical advantage count in the closing stages.
Theo Walcott also managed to grab the headlines with his “2 – nil” gesture towards the Spurs fans as he was carried off the playing field. Apparently the player was at the receiving end of some strong abuse [and coins] from the Spurs supporters and Walcott reacted to it. Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has already received a suspension this season for his gesture towards the Manchester City fans, but Arsene Wenger defended Walcott and pointed out that it wasn’t an offensive gesture.
“The doctors said to me that the coins had been raining over his head and they had to protect him, maybe that is why he did that.
“Yes [the coins came before the gesture], that is what I have been told. After that, what he did is not offensive. You look for every single incident, I can understand that, but it is an action that didn’t offend anybody.
“I don’t think so [Walcott could be in trouble with the FA].
“I have seen the pictures after the game and it does not even look aggressive, he is smiling!
“My response will be simple, they have seen the pictures on television. If they judge it offensive, what can I say? I prefer they don’t ban him and he is not injured.” – The Arsenal manager said.
Arsene Wenger also revealed that the seriousness of Walcott’s injury is yet to be diagnosed and that Bendtner, who picked up an injury against Cardiff, will be out for a month.
“Theo has a knee problem. We don’t know if it is a stretched ligament or just a kick, he got two kicks on his knee.
“We still have Podolski and Ozil on the bench. Giroud was sick, he was not injured, so for the next game he should be available. Of course if we lose Theo for a longer period, it is a problem.
“It [Bendtner’s absence] will be for one month, we expected it could have been more, but we had good news.” – Wenger added.
On January signings, Wenger said: “I am waiting to see now who walks out there and knocks at the door, waiting to come in. Honestly, do we find better than the players that we have got?”
Arsenal-Tottenham 2-0, FA Cup 2013/14 Highlights by Matrixx1908