Arsenal 3-2 Brighton: 5 Impressions to Take Away
Even though Arsenal left Amex Stadium with a victory on Saturday, there were still plenty of reasons for Gooners to feel uncomfortable, and, at times, furious.
The Gunners advanced to the fifth round of the FA Cup thanks to a 3-2 win over Brighton. Olivier Giroud scored a brace and Theo Walcott scored the game-winning goal in the 85th minute.
Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby both got the start, even though the two still looked like they weren't up to speed quite yet.
And despite some shockingly poor defending and goalkeeping, Arsenal is another step closer to winning its first piece of hardware in nearly eight years.
With that in mind, here are five things that stood out today.
If Arsenal Want to Win, Andre Santos Should Not Play
Andre Santos is probably the most likable person in the country of England. He has a great personality and there's always an infectious smile upon his face.
But that doesn't make up for the fact that he's one of the worst football players in England.
Santos has no right masquerading around as a defender. Every time he gets on the pitch, Arsenal concede completely awful goals, and Santos is a big reason why.
For example, during Saturday's game against Brighton, Santos could be partially blamed for both goals as he was constantly out of position. For the second, was was jogging peacefully down his flank while he really should have been closing down the opposing player. The cross that came from that player resulted in a goal.
Santos is the definition of incompetent. If Arsenal are serious about winning a match, Santos should not play.
Olivier Giroud Is on Fire
What can I say about Olivier Giroud?
The man is on fire. He's burning, smoldering, incinerating pitches, balls and nets. At the moment, goalkeepers should be afraid of him. Why shouldn't they? Giroud has scored another two goals and has brought his goal tally for the week up to four.
It was no wonder the Frenchman was attempting bicycle kicks against Brighton.
For his first goal, Lukas Podolski set him up perfectly. He had space to tee up the shot and blast it around a defender and right into the upper left corner of the goal. Earlier in the season, that shot would have been deflected or hit the post. Now? Money.
For his second, credit should be given to Abou Diaby, who chipped the ball perfectly over the defense. Giroud couldn't have controlled the ball any better and then smashed it past the goalie while falling to the ground.
Giroud's current form is all down to one thing: Confidence.
Lukas Podolski's Quiet Day
How did Lukas Podolski follow up on his best day as a Gunner against West Ham?
He was typical Podolski against Brighton. He recorded the assist for Giroud's first goal and nearly scored on a free-kick, but was denied by the crossbar.
To put it simply, he was quiet. But he did manage to play a full game—something he has not done often this season. He didn't have a bad game, just an efficient one.
But then again, he didn't need to be amazing again. That was Giroud's job.
Wojciech Szczesny Needs Some Competition
Wojciech Szczesny has been average this season, to put it nicely.
The young goalkeeper would do well with some legitimate competition for the No. 1 goalkeeper position. Either that, or an established veteran who can take him under his wing and teach him the ropes.
He needs it, because against Brighton, he was simply awful.
We were all wondering what in the world he was doing for the first goal. Szczesny was wandering around in the box when the cross came and was too lazy trying to punch the ball away. He couldn't even get near it because he was so out of position.
Szczesny simply needs to be better if Arsenal want to keep winning.
Theo to the Rescue
Theo Walcott came on as a substitute with about 20 minutes to go and immediately made an impact.
He scored the game-winning goal and saved Arsenal from having to play another replay in the FA Cup. During those few minutes in Saturday's match, he earned his £100,000 for the week.
Walcott also caused Brighton's Wayne Bridge fits. There was no way he could keep up with Walcott's blistering pace. There was one moment when he started 10 yards behind two defenders but still beat them to the ball. It was a magical moment, and it really illustrated Walcott's ability to change a game.
With his winner, it's on to the next one.