03 March 2011

FA Cup 5th round replay: Arsenal 5 Orient 0, 3/3/11

The build up
Can lightning strike twice in the same place? Well, something must explain what happened to Mick Hucknall's face. But Orient were hoping that they could repeat their miracle of a week and a half ago and pull off another result against Arsenal. For the Gunners' part, they were out to prove they were still a force to be reckoned with after a disappointing run of results. Mind you, beating a League One side at home would be about as convincing as a Tom Cruise wedding.

The first half 
Orient lined up with a patched-up midfield boasting a combined weight equivalent to about 11 bags of sugar, and the total height of a medium-sized bungalow. Nonetheless our heroes begun the game more confidently than in the home tie and set out to play neat passing football. Unfortunately for Orient, after years of embarrassing himself in front of top flight defences, Nicklas Bendtner finally found his footballing level and helped Arsenal to a 3-0 lead.

The second half
More valiance from the Os and a neat little spell of pressure in the first 10 minutes of the second half, and again towards the end. But by the time super sub Jonathan Tehoue came on Orient were 4-0 down. And although the big Frenchman regularly passes the time in between migraines and training by turning water into wine, curing lepers and parting the Red Sea, even he couldn't work a miracle of this magnitude.

Who played well?
Stephen Dawson. It's as if medical science has created a strange hybrid creature consisting of parts of Craig Easton, Adam Chambers and Sean Thornton which manages to run all round the pitch, tackle and play classy through balls despite suffering from a furious hangover and being friends with JJ Melligan. More plaudits again go to Charlie Daniels, who provided Orient with their best chances. Plus, an honorable mention for Tom Carroll, whose appearance was part of his coursework for his physical education GCSE - and he looks bang on to achieve at least a grade B.

Where do we go from here?
In fact, a 5-0 defeat is the perfect result for Orient, for these reasons. Play-offs a definite possibilty - and there's already a good portent for Saturday's game against Notts County. They've got Stuart Nelson in goal.
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