Seven years, seven months and 15 days. It’s been a long long time since Arsenal last won a trophy and now Swansea are hoping to end Arsene Wenger’s run in this year’s FA Cup. In their three Premier League meetings Swansea have won twice including in December when two late goals from Michu proved the difference. Will this be another good day for the Welsh side?
Arsenal can take hope from the fact that they are the second most successful club in FA Cup history with a whopping 10 wins to their name. In their three FA Cup meetings with Swansea, Arsenal have won two of them and the Gunners have ended six Premier League club’s Cup dreams in the last seven years. Will Swansea be added to that list at the Liberty Stadium today?
3.21pm: Full-time: Swansea 2-2 Arsenal. Probably a fair result and Andy Gray gets it spot-on by calling the draw. Kieran Gibbs thought he had won it for Arsneal with just seven minutes to go but their defensive frailties were their downfall – Danny Graham unmarked to smash home the equaliser from a late corner. A replay it is!
3.20pm: The Great Dane Peter Schmeichel says what we are all thinking…
@RobbieSavage8 that's marking in zones for you rather than going man for man. I don't understand why anyone's is doing it
— Peter Schmeichel (@Pschmeichel1) January 6, 2013
3.19pm: This one looks like it might head to a replay…
3.16pm: What a save by Vorm! Koscielny rises highest to meet Walcott’s corner and Vorm pulls off a fantastic one-handed save. This is an incredible finish to the game and there will be five minutes of injury time!
3.14pm: Two minutes to go, do you fancy a winner? Swansea are 17/2 and Arsenal are 11/2.
3.12pm: GOAL! What a second half! Arsenal try and zonal mark from the corner and get it all wrong. Danny Graham is the man who gets slipped the ball from Ki and he has all the time in the world to get the ball out of his feet and lash home from eight yards. Wenger will be furious that nobody picked up the striker.
3.11pm: Blimey! Swansea are going all guns blazing. Ki sees his shot well saved and then Dyer’s effort is deflected behind for a corner. Arsenal are all over the place defensively.
3.09pm: GOAL! Arsenal lead 2-1, what a comeback! Kieran Gibbs the young left-back is the man who has potentially got the winner. He plays a lovely one-two and the ball is chipped back to the Englishman who watches it over his shoulder and powers a volley past the helpless Vorm.
3.07pm: GOAL! Great finish form Podolski. The corner isn’t great but Koscielny helps it back in and Podolski swivels and lashes the ball past Vorm. Fantastic strike from the substitute leaving the keeper no chance. Will there be a winner?
3.05pm: Bartley picks up a yellow card and concedes a free-kick but the wall does its job not once, but twice. Firstly from the Santi Cazorla effort and then from Arteta’s follow-up. Arsenal corner though and the Gunners keep pressing.
3.03pm: This is a stunning miss. The ball pings off Walcott and falls to Podolski. The striker is offside but nobody knows that and from seven yards with the goal gaping Podolski somehow places it wide. Somewhere Emile Heskey is laughing to himself – that’s how bad it was. The linesman’s flag was up so it wouldn’t have counted but I doubt that has saved the German’s blushes.
3.01pm: Swansea try and play it out of their own box and it nearly leads to their downfall. They lose possession and Walcott drives a shot from a narrow angle just wide of the woodwork. The clock is ticking Arsenal fans…
2.59pm: Podolski came on for Ramsey there for people who had their mind-reading skills turned off for the day.
2.58pm: Now Wenger makes his move. Lukas Podolski is on for the Gunners. Arsene Wenger has had great success with Arsenal and is undoubtedly a fantastic manager, but another trophy-less season must surely spell the end of his reign?
2.54pm: It is actually Swansea who make a change with Leon Britton making way for Agustien. 20 minutes to go and Swansea look fairly comfortable with their 1-0 lead.
2.53pm: Podolski and the Ox on the bench for Arsenal. Surely the gaffer has to start thinking about making changes soon. The Gunners are going to have to take a few more risks going forward the longer this game goes on.
2.48pm: Arsene Wenger has never tasted defeat in the FA Cup third round. Is that about to change? Just under half an hour to go and Arsenal are now 11/2 to win with the draw at 11/5. Unsurprisingly Swansea are the red-hot favourites at 4/7.
2.456pm: Just to confirm those changes for you Michu came on in place of De Guzman and Routledge made way for Pablo. Inspired substitution by Michael Laudrup? More like an inspired signing. Michu has been the difference so many times this season.
2.43pm: GOAL! Swansea lead 1-0. Michu comes off the bench and within 60 seconds he finds the back of the net. He dinks it over the head of Mertesacker and despite getting a nudge of Koscielny he slots it past Szczesny. What an impact form the Spaniard and what an unbelievable signing he has been for Swansea
2.41pm: Craig Burley on ESPN has gone from saying it was definitely a penalty to now talking about how there was clearly no contact. He’s back-peddling faster than Boris Johnson after an ill-advised public gaff in which he offends a country/race/minority (delete where appropriate).
2.38pm: Penalty appeal turned down! Arsenal get behind Swansea for the second time in 60 seconds and Ramsey breaks into the box. The Welshman clips his own heels though and despite the protests Howard Webb waves play on. Spot on by the man with the whistle.
2.37pm: Chance for Arsenal though. A quick break and Walcott and Giroud find themselves two-on-two. Giroud is the man with the effort on goal and although it is well hit it is straight at Vorm.
2.36pm: Considering these are two teams that are meant to be easy on the eye this game is harder to watch than Celebrity Big Brother.
2.33pm: Giroud hits a volley roughly 10 yards wide. He might be tall but he is certainly not as threatening as that song makes him out to be.
2.31pm: Swansea get the second half going and hopefully both sides will step it up and give us something to get excited about in this half. Neither team will really want a replay considering the hectic schedule coming up this month.
2.29pm: Half-time odds coming at you folks. Swansea are 11/4 and Arsenal are 13/10, the draw is 13/8 and if you fancy it staying goal-less you can back the 0-0 correct score at 11/4.
2.19pm: Luckily Giroud is on the pitch so things will definitely get more exciting soon. Don’t forget he is six-foot-two and he will do you. Supposedly.
2.16pm: Right on 45 minutes the half-time whistle goes and Howard Webb calls time on a first-half that can be described as plain milk chocolate. It’s not a bar of dog food, but it’s far from as exciting as a Lion or a Crunchie or even a Mars to be fair.
2.15pm: Supposedly Arteta is playing in the Arsenal midfield? Have to say he’s been anonymous up until this point.
2.14pm: Andy Gray tipped up the draw beforehand and that is looking like a smart bet now. Neither team have hit top gear yet and it’s hard to see who will break the deadlock. Swansea aren’t giving players like Santi Cazorla or Theo Walcott any space and the Gunners are struggling.
2.10pm: Five minutes until the break and Swansea are ending the first half on a high. They are 11/4 to win with Arsenal 5/4 in the betting.
2.07pm: From the corner former Arsenal man who is now at Swansea, Kyle Bartley powers a header off the cross-bar. Szczesny will say he had it covered but that was good chance for the Swans. No matter how much of the ball Arsenal have, Swansea look dangerous going forward.
2.06pm: Santi Cazorla has Arsenal’s best chance but can’t keep the ball down and that shot is still rising. Meanwhile Aaron Ramsey has flattonedTiendalli and has picked up the first booking of the game. Much to the amusement of the Swansea faithful
2.02pm: Ramsey twisting and turning in the Swansea box but he couldn’t get his shot away and it rolls harmlessly to Vorm between the Swansea sticks. It’s not like Arsenal to be found guilty of trying to walk the ball in to the back of the net…
1.58pm: Arsenal looking more dangerous as the half goes on. 20 minutes until the break now and the Gunners looking more likely to take the lead. Every time Walcott picks it up in the centre of the pitch he looks like he’ll cause problems.
1.51pm: Great play by Walcott as he gets his first chance to run at the Swansea defence. Driving through the middle of the park he plays a one-two with Giroud before seeing his shot blocked and Chico clears.
1.48pm: Sagna and Routledge have a good old tussle and the Arsenal man wins a free-kick. He looks worried by Routledge’s pace though that is for sure.
1.44pm: First big chance of the game as Danny Graham runs on to a lofted through ball and shows great strength to hold off Mertesacker. Graham drives his right-footed shot in and it is pushed away by Szczesny. Best chance of the game so far and it went to the home side.
1.42pm: Arsenal have looked the better team in the opening 11 minutes and are now a shade odds-on at 10/11 for the match if you fancy a bet in-running. Swansea are now 11/4.
1.39pm: The atmosphere is buzzing at the Liberty Stadium and Swansea are starting to stretch the Gunners’ back line. Aaron Ramsey’s every touch is met with a chorus of boos from the Welsh crowd.
1.36pm: Walcott is looking very lively. Will Chico be able to handle his pace?
1.34pm: Wilshere whips in a cracking free-kick and then an equally dangerous corner. Both come to nothing but they were some great deliveries from the Englishman. With that in mind Mertesacker is 25/1 to open the scoring if you fancy him nodding one in.
1.33pm: Arsenal are knocking the ball around comfortably in the middle of the park and Swansea are chasing shadows early doors.
1.30pm: Survived that knowledge bomb? Good. We’re off and underway at the Liberty Stadium.
1.28pm: Watch your heads – here’s a stat attack: Three years in a row Arsenal have been knocked out away from home by a Premier League team.
1.23pm: Not long till kick-off now at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea are 5/2 in the betting, Arsenal are 11/10 and if, like Andy Gray, you fancy the draw, it’s 12/5.
1.19pm: Theo Walcott has 14 goals in 21 appearances this season. He is a monster 11/2 to score first and I’m a massive fan of the 11/4 wincast of Arsenal to win with Theo to score anytime.
1.15pm: Mickey Laudrup has been on ESPN explaining his decision to ring the changes this afternoon.
‘It’s a big week for us with three games in six days in three competitions. We have to make changes today, we have played a lot of games. Michu has a slight back problem. He is not 100% but he will be ready to come on in the second half. We have a lot of confidence at the moment.’
1.10pm: Personally I’m chuffed this game is live on ESPN and not ITV1…
1.06pm: Arsene Wenger plays a strong team and Swansea have made a few changes. Confident Gunners can still back Arsenal at 11/10.
1.02pm: Team news is here!
Vorm; Tiendalli, Chico, Bartley, Davies; Britton, Ki; Dyer, de Guzman, Routledge; Graham
Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, Cazorla, Giroud.
2.56pm: Andy Gray fancies this one to end in a draw today. It’s 12/5 that happens and the two teams go to a replay at the Emirates. You can read all of Andy’s predictions here.
2.49pm: As we await the team news why not treat yourself to a 90 second education. This is what happens when an ex-professional footballer stops going to the gym and ploughs through the takeaways. Cue soft focus and sexy music…
2.45pm: Team news is on the way but rumours are Michu misses out for Swansea with Danny Graham up front. And by the sounds of it Arsene Wenger has named a strong squad with in-form Thoe Walcott starting.
2.38pm: Since getting dumped out of the League Cup by Bradford Arsenal have won three and drawn one in the league. Can they continue that run today in the Cup? They are currently 10/1 to lift old jug-ears at the end of the season with Swansea a monster 50/1 to be champions.