Welcome to Talking Heads.
Before and after every first-team fixture, our co-commentator and an Arsenal blogger will have their say on the game.
Arsenal took on Swansea in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday and our Talking Heads for this game were former Gunner Martin Hayes and Daniel Cowan from North London Is Red.
MARTIN HAYES, STUDIO GUEST
I guess people would have taken a draw before the match. It was a proper cup tie and Arsenal put in a really good second-half performance.
We managed to get ourselves in front and it was a shame we couldn’t hold on in the end. Kieran Gibbs’ goal was great and deserved to be the matchwinner. But unfortunately we didn’t defend the corner properly at the end and had to come home with a draw.
I think Arsène Wenger will take a lot of positives from the game. The performance was much better than that against Southampton, and the team showed a lot of promise. The players will be able to turn their attention to the Manchester City game at the weekend now, and know that we’re in the hat for the next round. Hopefully the team can get the job done in the replay and then progress through the competition.
I would say, hand on heart, the FA Cup is the only realistic trophy Arsenal can win this season. It’s difficult, because you look at the side and you know what they can do. The consistency hasn’t been there but that’s the kind of team that can win a cup competition. You wouldn’t rule yourself out of the Champions League because you’ve seen what Chelsea did last year. They didn’t win it in style but they were just effective on the day and that’s really how we are at the moment.
I think it’s good to get these lads into big cup competitions. Semi-finals are good, when you get the pressure of dealing with the next phase. Getting into more semi-finals is a big plus. The more cup finals and the big occasions you can play in, it’s a next level of pressure. I don’t think there’s anyone left at Arsenal that’s won a trophy with the Club. They need a bit of taking to the next level if they are all going to push on for the bigger prizes in years to come.
I think the Swansea result last month was a big blow to a lot of people. Swansea have shown they are very capable of playing. They are one of the few sides that are capable of outplaying Arsenal, which should make it a good game for football lovers. Maybe that result gave the team a kick up the backside. It will certainly leave a bit of a wound there which I’m sure the players will want to put right, especially after a disappointing performance and result against Southampton. Swansea have raised their form for big sides so it’s all set up for a cracking cup tie.
I think Arsenal will win but in a replay. I’ll go for 1-1 on the day.
DANIEL COWAN, NORTH LONDON IS RED
I thought it was going to be a tricky game for Arsenal and it certainly was. The first half was unspectacular and we weren't sharp enough in getting the ball from midfield through to the forwards.
I don't really think Arsenal have conceded a good goal this season, we've mostly been undone by long balls or set pieces and this game was no different. Swansea took the lead from a long ball by Michel Vorm which was turned in by Michu - although it actually worked in our favour.
After going behind, our shape looked a lot better and we seemed to start creating chances. Time ticked on and despite our improvement it looked like it wasn't going to be our day until Lukas Podolski pulled us level and a super volley from Gibbs edged us in front. I thought it was going to be the 2-1 win that I predicted but sadly Danny Graham popped up with an equaliser and we now have a replay to look forward to.
After a disappointing but fair result at St. Mary’s, Arsenal will be hoping to bounce back and regain some momentum in a vital competition that is probably our best chance for a trophy. We’ll be up against a Swansea side who like to pass the ball around which usually works in our favour. However, Swansea have a superb work ethic and press the ball extremely well which doesn’t work in our favour so we’ll have to concentrate for 100 per cent of the match.
Both managers will field their best teams so this won’t be an easy game and I’m certain it will be extremely uncomfortable to watch if we don’t take our early chances. Hopefully Per Mertesacker will be back from illness as despite his quiet nature he is our leader in defence and we look stronger when he plays. Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla have been in and out this term but we’ll need them to perform if we are going to take this match. I hope to see Theo Walcott continue in his run up front as I think his pace and movement could cause Swansea the trouble it caused Newcastle. This is a cup match, there are no second chances and the players will be fully aware of this. I’m going for a nervy 2-1 win.
* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd
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