Arsenal vs. Aston Villa: Gunners Win Masks FA Cup Disaster

Courtnay NewmanContributor IJanuary 30, 2012

Van Persie celebrates with Walcott after putting Arsenal ahead 3-2 from the penalty spot
Van Persie celebrates with Walcott after putting Arsenal ahead 3-2 from the penalty spotPaul Gilham/Getty Images

Despite the positive result for Arsenal after Sunday's fifth round FA Cup tie, there seem to be very few positives to take away from the match.

After 45 minutes of play at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal was down 2-0 due to yet another goal conceded from a set piece from the head of Richard Dunne and a clinical finish from Darren Bent after a quick counter attack.

Both goals could be blamed on the lack of both a left-back and a right-back, two things that are hard to find in the Arsenal starting eleven lately. Even though the Gunners finally had an outside defender in the line up, Bacary Sagna did not make an appearance until the 89th minute.

The Gunners were not without their chances in the first half. Shay Given saved a Thomas Vermaelen screamer in the early minutes, and Theo Walcott was showing his usual pace and creativity, but failing at the final touch—as usual.

It was all of the usual problems that contributed to Arsenal going down two goals before the half.

And, as the players left the field for halftime, fans were booing Arsène Wenger, most likely for his refusal to buy a replacement for Bacary Sagna or Andre Santos during the January transfer window.

A Fox Soccer interview with Ivan Gazidis, the chief executive of Arsenal, revealed that Wenger is not restricted at all in the buying of players and that any money the club has is available to him.

He just chooses not to spend, much to the despair of the Arsenal faithful.

What wasn't usual about this game was the luck that fell onto Arsenal after the break.

Not only were the Gunners awarded a penalty, but there were two chances from the spot, of which Robin van Persie took advantage spectacularly.

Walcott used his pace and creativity to develop a chance for a freak accident to occur, and the tying goal for Arsenal came off of his shoulder.

Even though Arsenal got the win and will continue their six-year hunt for silverware, this match highlighted weaknesses that will have to be addressed if the gunners wish to enjoy a top-four finish this season.