Wenger blames poor pitch and poor defending for FA Cup defeat
Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea FA Cup Semi-Final Wembley Saturday April 18 Att: 88,103 Arsene Wenger blasted poor defending – and Wembley s equally poor pitch – after Arsenal s hopes of a first FA Cup final appearance in four years were dashed by Didier Drogba. T
Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea
FA Cup Semi-Final
Saturday April 18
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Arsene Wenger blasted poor defending - and Wembley's equally poor pitch - after Arsenal's hopes of a first FA Cup final appearance in four years were dashed by Didier Drogba.
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Theo Walcott's shot deflected off Ashley Cole to give the Gunners an early lead but Florent Malouda beat Arsenal's stand-in 'keeper Lukasz Fabianski at the near post to level the tie before the break.
A poor second half display ended with another error by Fabianski, when he rashly dashed off his line and Drogba, so often Arsenal's nemesis, rounded him with ease to pass the ball into an empty net.
The Gunners were missing defenders Johan Djourou, William Gallas, Gale Clichy and Bacary Sagna, as well as first choice 'keeper Manuel Almunia. but Wenger was not looking for excuses.
"I was disappointed because we gave two cheap goals away," he said. "We gave goals away that we did not want to give away."
And on Fabianski, celebrating his 24th birthday on Sunday, the boss added: "He's a great goalkeeper but it was not his greatest day . Inexperience, yes. It was a game when any mistake could be costly."
Wenger also called for FA action over the "laughable" pitch, which cut up badly in parts - and disrupted Arsenal's usual passing game.
"I don't think we lost because of it (the pitch), but it is really embarrassing... somebody must give explanations."
However, fans were left perplexed by Wenger's team selection; leaving in-form trio Alex Song, Samir Nasri and Andrei Arshavin, arguably Arsenal's best player since February, on the bench.
"I believe we are a team with eight games in 24 days," explained Wenger. "You cannot imagine to play every game with exactly the same players."