|Fabregas (pen) 90||(HT 0-0)||Snodgrass (pen) 54|
English Premier League side, Arsenal, despite dominating for large periods of this home FA Cup 2011 Third Round tie with Leeds United of the Championship, had to thank captain Cesc Fabregas for his 90th minute penalty which preserved their unbeaten record in this competition by levelling the scores at 1-1.
Arsenal have not been beaten at home in the FA Cup since 1998, but, after Robert Snodgrass scored with a 54th minute penalty, home fans could have been forgiven for getting nervous as the minutes ticked by.
Theo Walcott was adjudged to have been fouled by Leeds’ Ben Parker in the final minute, giving Fabregas the opportunity to level the scores, which he took.
Leeds could have been sent home out of the competition, but for their goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel, who was in superb form, not least to deny Denilson’s attempted winner deep in stoppage time.
Without Schmeichel, Arsenal could have wrapped up this tie in the first half, after the ‘keeper stopped goalbound efforts from Arshavin and Denilson. Arsenal were also a little wasteful in front of goal, with Bendtener the main culprit, particularly with a late effort he put wide.
Arsenal dominated possession for large spells of this game, with over 60% of the share of the ball, and racked up an impressive shot count of 23 efforts, though Arsene Wenger will be disappointed that his men were unable to beat Schmeichel from open play.
Leeds look on course to join the Premier League next season and, on Saturday’s FA Cup evidence, they have enough weapons to worry even top three clubs like Arsenal. That said, their goal, when it came, was completely out of the blue.
When Denilson fouled Max Gradel in the Arsenal box, Leeds had managed just one shot on target in more than 50 minutes of football. Their second, a penalty from Snodgrass, went in, giving Leeds an unlikely lead, which they held until the final two minutes.
Leeds will be pleased to have got out without defeat and having earned themselves a lucrative replay, but might also wonder what might have been, had their defence held out for just two or three minutes more. Arsenal will be confident that they did enough today to win under normal circumstances.
Arsenal simply met with a goalkeeper on top form: another performance of this ilk at Elland Road should see them safely through to R4.
|Arsenal XI||Leeds XI|
|53 Szczesny||01 Schmeichel|
|18 Squillaci||02 Connolly|
|20 Djourou||04 Bruce|
|27 Eboue||19 Parker|
|28 Gibbs||40 O’Brien|
|07 Rosicky (Vela 79)||07 Gradel (Hughes 90+1)|
|15 Denilson||14 Howson|
|17 A Song (Fabregas 59)||16 Johnson|
|23 Arshavin||10 Becchio (Somma 85)|
|29 Chamakh (Walcott 68)||18 Watt (Bromby 76)|
|52 Bendtner||23 Snodgrass|
|Arsenal Substitutes||Leeds Substitutes|
|21 Fabianski||12 Higgs|
|22 Clichy||05 Collins|
|48 Miquel||26 Bromby|
|04 Fabregas||22 Hughes|
|14 Walcott||09 Paynter|
|16 Ramsey||27 Somma|