FA Cup - Swansea and Arsenal share Cup draw after late drama

FA Cup third round, Liberty Stadium - Swansea 2 (Michu 58, Graham 87) Arsenal 2 (Podolski 81, Gibbs 83)

FA Cup - Swansea and Arsenal share Cup draw after late drama

View photo

Swansea City's English striker Danny Graham (L) celebrates scoring their second goal to equalise late in the game with teammate Ki Sung-Yueng (2nd L) against Arsenal during the FA Cup third round football match (AFP)

A spectacular second half failed to separate Swansea and Arsenal who shared a 2-2 draw in the third round of the FA Cup at the Liberty Stadium.

After a dire first half, Michu, rested by Michael Laudrup, scored the opening goal a minute and 13 seconds after appearing as a substitute just before the hour mark.

Arsenal sub Lukas Podolski equalised on 81 minutes and Kieran Gibbs gave the visitors the lead with a brilliant volley two minutes later.

However the scoring was not finished as Danny Graham earned a replay at the Emirates in the 87th minute.

The winner of that match will travel to Brighton in the fourth round.

Arsene Wenger put out a strong side, with Olivier Giroud leading the line alone and Theo Walcott on the right but seemingly with dispensation to roam inside when possible.

Swansea, also advocates of possession-based football, rested top scorer Michu who only returned from injury against Aston Villa on New Year's Day and played Graham as their one man up front.

It led to a cagey first half. When either side penetrated the final third their crosses were invariably dealt with in straightforward fashion as defenders outnumbered the strikers.

Home right-back Dwight Tiendalli opened up Arsenal in the 13th minute with a long ball down the channel which Graham controlled while holding off Per Mertesacker and forced a parry out of Wojciech Szczesny at the near post.

Arsenal, who had only two shots in the opening 45 minutes despite boasting the lion's share of possession, went close when Nathan Dyer gave the ball away and it was worked out to Gibbs, whose pass inside was struck over first-time by Santi Cazorla.

It was a big afternoon for former Arsenal player Kyle Bartley as he made his second senior appearance for Swansea after a £1 million move in the summer. He looked composed in the first half and saw a header from a Jonathan de Guzman free-kick hit the bar on 36 minutes.

Swansea were content to hit on the break but it was a counter from the away side that saw the first chance of the second period as Walcott fed Giroud on the left and his hard shot was saved by Vorm with his legs.

It was the start of a flurry of Arsenal attacks as Aaron Ramsey tripped over his own heel and could not believe that Howard Webb waved away his penalty appeal then France striker Giroud's scissor kick was blocked by Vorm.

Swansea responded by bringing on Michu and Pablo Hernandez - and it did not take the Spanish striker long to notch his 15th goal of the season.

Pouncing on a loose ball in midfield, he left Mertesacker for dead and finished low past Szczesny.

Arsenal found even greater urgency, with Gibbs denied a run on goal by a superb slide tackle from Tiendalli and Walcott flashing a finish across goal after a mistake from young Swansea left-back Ben Davies put him in on the right.

Their pressure finally told with nine minutes left. A deep Walcott corner was headed back outside the box to Laurent Koscielny by Bacary Sagna. From the defender's pass to feet Podolski, on the pitch for eight minutes, turned to fire expertly into the bottom corner.

Arsenal kept on the attack and within two minutes had the lead: Gibbs found Giroud whose first-time dink over the top was perfect for the speeding left-back to volley inside the near-post top corner.

Things got even sillier when Swansea pulled level again on 87 minutes. With Arsenal's defenders blocking almost the entire goalline following a corner, there was space for Ki Sung-Yueng to find Graham who picked out the roof of the net from the corner of the six-yard box.

There was still time for Vorm to save from point-blank range from Koscielny and at the other end for Tiendalli to find the side-netting after being played in by Michu, while there were several scrambles as the game ended in all-out attack from both sides.

However they will do it all again at the Emirates, where Swansea won in the Premier League in December, on Wednesday January 16.


Michel Vorm (Swansea) - The home keeper pulled off several fantastic saves in the second half as Arsenal looked to turn the screw.


Swansea: Vorm 8, Tiendalli 7, Chico 6, Bartley 7, Davies 6, Britton 6, De Guzman 6, Ki 7, Routledge 6, Dyer 6, Graham 7. Subs: Agustien 6, Pablo 6, Michu 8.

Arsenal: Szczesny 6, Sagna 6, Mertesacker 6, Koscielny 7, Gibbs 8, Arteta 6, Wilshere 7, Ramsey 5, Walcott 6, Cazorla 6, Giroud 7. Subs: Podolski 7.


View comments (54)