Last night saw action in both the FA Cup and Premier League. Arsenal defeated Swansea 1-0 in their third round replay and Manchester United beat West Ham 1-0 at Old Trafford.
Arsenal dominated possession against Swansea, but found it difficult to break down their resilient defence.
The Gunners had 26 shots on goal and the visitors had fortune on their side at times. However the Gunners did make a breakthrough on 86 minutes.
Striker Oliver Giroud laid the ball off to midfielder Jack Wilshere on the edge of the penalty box and the England international fired home a powerful effort past Michel Vorm in the Swansea goal.
Wilshere was the outstanding player for Arsenal and deserved his goal. The Gunners now face a trip to Championship side Brighton in the fourth round.
Manchester United progressed into the fourth round with a hard-fought victory over West Ham. United came out the traps quicker than the visitors and took just nine minutes to take the lead. Javier Hernandez raced away from the Hammers defence and squared the ball for Wayne Rooney to tap-in from close-range.
United wasn’t their best and West Ham got back into the game slightly in the second period. The visitors couldn’t capitalise on their lively spell though and United were handed a chance to double their lead in the closing stages.
Jordan Spence was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty box and referee Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot. Rooney stepped up to take the resulting penalty and blazed it over the bar. However that miss didn’t matter as United progressed with relative ease.
Meanwhile in the Premier League Chelsea threw away a two goal lead to draw 2-2 with Southampton at Stamford Bridge. The Blues took the lead in the 25th minute. Oscar and Jos Hooiveld challenged for a Cesar Azpilicueta cross, only for the ball to deflect to Demba Ba, who volleyed past Artur Boruc.
Chelsea were two goals up on the stroke of half-time. Brazilian midfielder Ramires smashed an effort against the post and Eden Hazard fired home the rebound from just outside the penalty area.
The game changed in the 55th minute with the introduction of Saints talisman Rickie Lambert from the substitute’s bench. The 31 year-old took just three minutes to get his team back into the game.
Full-back Nathaniel Clyne swung in a cross and Lambert beat three Chelsea defenders to head the ball past Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal. The goal was Lambert’s 10th of the season, making him the top scoring English marksman in the top flight.
The visitors came into the game more and got an equaliser in the 75th minute. Youngster Luke Shaw ran half of the length of the pitch before producing a cross that found Jason Puncheon, who controlled and volleyed home a superb effort past Petr Cech.
Chelsea pushed forward looking for the winner and threw on much-maligned striker Fernando Torres, to the annoyance of Blues fans as he came on for fans hero Frank Lampard.
The Spaniard toiled up front, but couldn’t find a goal and neither could anybody else in a blue shirt as the game ended all square. Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez will be disappointed with the point, after his team took a two goal lead.
Saints boss Nigel Adkins on the other hand will be delighted with his teams’ spirit and performance in the second half. It is very much a point gained for the Saints.
There was also a surprise announcement yesterday that former-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola will become the Bayern Munich boss in the summer. The Spaniard has signed a three-year contract with the German giants.
Current Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes is retiring this summer and Bayern have acted fast to secure one of the most highly-rated bosses in the game. Guardiola has been linked with a move to various English clubs including Chelsea, Manchester City and even Manchester United.
However, despite Guardiola’s apparent love of the English game he won’t be managing in the English top flight in the near future. I have no doubts that he will eventually head to the Premier League though.
Guardiola won countless trophies at Barcelona, but this is his chance to prove that he can manage outside the fishbowl that is the Catalan giants. Bayern Munich is a massive club with world-class players, so I think that Guardiola has probably made a very wise choice.
Has Pep Guardiola made the right decision agreeing to become Bayern boss?