Wednesday 16 January 2013
A 1-0 battering
That was more like it, although the game remained on a knife edge for most of the second half, it was as relaxing a 1-0 win as you will see. There was a brief moment in the first half when we could have gone behind, Bartley drifted in behind Per, and hit the bar with a free header, a real let off. However after that scare Swansea created very little, Szczesny was was forced into one decent left handed save in the second half, but that was it, for the remained we huffed, we puffed and eventually Swansea's house crumbled.
The first half was a little bitty, we did start to dominate as it wore on but Swansea were decent, pressing reasonably effectively for the most, although we did create some great spaces in the box, but our finishing wasn't up to the task. In the second half we upped it a few gears, Swansea couldn't keep the ball, we outmanoeuvred them all over the field, wave after wave of attack came, a mixture of poor finishing, luck and a bit more luck meant we had to wait until a final ten minutes for the break through.
Theo had missed a few decent chances, one clear cut one on one where he was put off by a cynical clip and tug by the Swansea defender, just enough to put him off and push him wide, making it harder to score, Clattenberg bottled the decision in my eyes. Vorm made some decent saves, there were a couple of rather fortunate goal line clearances, there were a few slightly wasteful finishes. The effort could not be faulted though, the tempo did not drop, we keep pushing and eventually our reward came. Giroud's deft little flick fell beautifully for Jack, who thumped the ball low beyond Vorm from outside the box, a fantastic shot perfectly timed.
It was a much more encouraging team effort overall. Although Jack will take all the plaudits, and rightly so, it must be noted that his attacking license was given to him by the excellent and industrious Coq, a very solid performance with some good attacking moments too. Gibbs and Vermaelen were excellent too, Santi had a good second half, Diaby was a little peripheral but that is to be expected given his long absence, Giroud was outstanding in all he did, Theo was involved and on another night could have scored several with a tad more luck.
There isn't a great deal lacking from this kind of starting eleven, the problem comes that we cannot field this team twice a weak and the squad is not deep enough to cope. Bodies are still very much need in this window. Finally a word for our opponents Swansea, they are a great side, a credit to football and it is a shame to see them go out of the cup, not that much of a shame though!