Arsenal vs. Swansea: Player Ratings for the Gunners in FA Cup Replay

Dan FitchFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2013

Arsenal vs. Swansea: Player Ratings for the Gunners in FA Cup Replay

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    Arsenal fought out a 2-2 draw at Swansea in one of the best ties of the FA Cup third round. The replay had less goals but was equally tight as the game looked destined to go into extra time, as Arsenal struggled to turn their dominance into a goal.

    Finally, Arsenal struck late to win the game and progress in the competition.

    Here are all the player ratings from Wednesday's game.

Goalkeeper

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    Wojciech Szczesny: 7.0

    Szczesny had nothing to deal with in the first half other than a Danny Graham shot that flew off target and a Kyle Bartley header that struck the crossbar.

    He was even less busy in the second half as Arsenal dominated possession, and so did very well to make a good save with just 10 minutes to go after having been inactive for so long. 

Defenders

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    Bacary Sagna: 7.0

    Made some good forays down the right flank to support Theo Walcott, but was pretty untested defensively. 

    Great cross towards the end of the first half to find Olivier Giroud in the air, but his header was blocked. In the second half he saw a long-range effort fly over the bar and a well-struck piledriver saved by Michael Vorm.

     

    Per Mertesacker: 6.5

    Allowed Bartley a free header in the box in the first half that he was fortunate to see hit the bar. He enjoyed a quieter second half, as Arsenal dominated the play.

     

    Thomas Vermaelen: 7.5

    Great tackle on the 15-minute mark to deny Swansea and another on 34 minutes to block Nathan Dyer. 

    Went close from a free-kick on 21 minutes that was deflected for a corner. In the final seconds of the first half Vermaelen was denied from a corner, when his well-struck shot was saved by Vorm's legs.

    After his all-action first-half display, Vermaelen had less to do in the second as Arsenal pressed forward.

     

    Kieran Gibbs: 6.5

    Was guilty of playing Danny Graham onside early on when the rest of the defence stepped up. Would have liked to have seen more from him going forward, especially as the game wore on and Swansea had less of the play.

Midfielders

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    Francis Coquelin: 6.5

    Anchoring the midfield, the French youngster was given a tough job winning possession from Swansea's one-touch midfield maestros but equipped himself fairly well without being particularly noticable.

    Great technique midway through first-half to fire in a powerful shot that was well-saved by Vorm.

     

    Jack Wilshere: 9.0

    With no Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla playing out wide, it was Wilshere who was given the responsibility of providing Arsenal's flair in the centre of the pitch. 

    Wilshere took the chance with both hands. He was Arsenal's best player throughout, continually running with the ball at the Swansea defence and making chances for others. Eventually it was Wilshere who provided the winning goal, as his strong running was rewarded with a chance to blast home from outside the box, just as the game looked destined for extra time.

     

    Abou Diaby: 6.5

    Didn't get forward as often as you would expect from this box-to-box player. Found himself in a good position to shoot from Wilshere's pass in the first half but was blocked.

    Great ball at the start of the second half to put Walcott through on goal, but he was fairly quiet after that.

Strikers

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    Santi Cazorla: 6.0

    Playing on the left side of Arsenal's front three rather than his normal central midfield position, Cazorla struggled to impose himself on the game in the first half.

    He started more brightly in the second, cutting inside to unleash a right-footed shot that was narrowly off target. This proved to be a false dawn and he drifted back to the fringes of the game.

    Cazorla was in many ways the weakest performer of the front three, such was his anonymity. His game was summed up when he skied a shot over in the dying seconds.

     

    Theo Walcott: 6.5

    Out on the right rather than his favoured central position, Walcott had a bright first half. He put in a good cross for Giroud to head at the near post early on and then had a penalty appeal in the first-half when his legs seemed to give way from under him.

    The second half saw Walcott miss a string of chances. He had a great chance at the start of the first half when put through by Diaby, but his clever chip drifted just wide of the post having beaten the goalkeeper.

    He really should have scored that chance, and he had another chance on the hour when a Wilshere shot was parried into his path and his shot was cleared off the line.

    Finally, Walcott hit the post when he failed to connect with a header properly. Not his best day at the office, but at least he got himself into the right positions.

     

    Olivier Giroud: 6.5

    Two chances to score in the space of 30 first-half seconds. A tough header from a Walcott cross and then a badly hit shot when he should have really hit the target. After that he waslargely anonymous in the first half.

    He must have wished he was equally anonymous in the second 45 minutes, as he missed a couple of sitters. Giroud failed to hit the target with a header from a perfect Walcott corner and then shot straight at the keeper when presented with a great chance in the 78th minute.

    He made amends somewhat by providing the pass for Wilshere's goal. 

Manager

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    Arsene Wenger: 7.0

    Once again Wenger suffered zip problems with his oversized coat early on, but no real problems on the pitch in the first half other than a close shave with Bartley's header hitting the bar.

    Arsenal looked the better and more dominant side, as you would expect from them at home. Wenger picked a well-balanced team with plenty of steel in midfield but looked toothless in attack as chance after chance went begging.

    Wenger kept faith in his side to score and luckily Wilshere stepped up and bailed out his manager. Le Prof could have perhaps been more decisive to make the substitutions that would turn Arsenal's pressure into goals.