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Yesterday’s pulsating FA Cup tie between Arsenal and Liverpool saw the Gunners take revenge for their humiliating reverse at Anfield recently. Although the game was certainly not as one-sided as the previous encounter, Arsene Wenger will draw no little satisfaction from it.
A charge often leveled against Arsenal over the past few years is that they are psychologically ‘brittle’ and although comfortably capable of rolling-over the weaker sides, when the true test of their mettle arrives, they are often found wanting. When Steven Gerrard netted a penalty midway through the second half to bring the visitors to within a single goal of the Gunners, such a test was before.
For a brief second it looked like a capitulation was indeed on the cards as a rash challenge from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain felled Suarez, referee Howard Webb however decided against awarding a second penalty within a few minutes. It was a decision that would have confounded most pundits. Perhaps the official was swayed by the fact that having awarded one spot kick, it would seem like indecent haste to grant another one. It may even have been the way that Suarez once, once contacted, had a bit of a ‘triple salchow with pike’ into his fall that influenced against the decision. In either instance, the official waved play on and the Gunners survived the moment. The rest of the contest saw an increasingly eager Liverpool press fro the equaliser but with the sometimes extravagant Fabianski very much having one his better days, the Gunners saw out the tie.
Arsenal now face a tricky tie against Roberto Martiez’s WEverton in the quarter-finals, but should they overcome the sticky tie against the Toffess, with only Manchester City from the top half-dozen or so Premier League clubs remaining to battle fro the old trophy, Wenger may be beginnnig to think that this could be the year to break his trophy drought.
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