After Geoff’s impassioned plea for a resounding win, the least the boys could do was oblige.
It was the biggest night of 2011 and possibly the biggest game in the universe at that given time. Could we shake off the embarrassment of the away loss, could the boys step up?
Well… despite making a bit of a meal of it, resoundingly yes!
Ipswich sent out pretty much their only warning shot of the match after 2 seconds with a fizzing 45 yard punt at goal. You felt they needed that for pride reasons, you know, in case the Arsenal of the weekend showed up. Sadly for us, the stuttery, lets thread it through the eye of a needle Arsenal turned up. We didn’t create an awful lot, in fact, we went closest to conceding when Chesney came flying out of his goal, missed the ball and head butted Sagna out of the game.
What a plank.
Our first real chance came when Nik B picked up the ball out wide, chipped a floated cross into space where Robin was on hand to clatter the ball against the bar with an angled header.
Robin went close soon after when he latched onto a superbly flighted Cesc pass, he watched it over his shoulder but sadly couldn’t knock it into the net.
Cesc had the final chance of the half when he fired narrowly wide of the Fulop’s post.
The second half began and Arsenal’s lack of width was really telling. Sometimes it takes us an awful long time to realise that when it’s congested in the middle, there are other areas of the pitch you can pass to.
Then came our moment, Jack Wilshere saw Nik B holding his line, he fizzed a 40 yard ball perfectly into his path, the Dane controlled it with the outside of his boot, cut inside and curled one into the bottom right corner of the goal. A strike of pure brilliance and one you felt had been coming for a while!
Not quite sure what Arsenal.com were alluding to when they called it a goal of ‘rare quality’? Were they jibing Nik, because I’m pretty sure Arsenal are always scoring quality goals!
Not long after, Arshavin won a corner, he took it and found Kozzer who took advantage of some unsure keeping and headed into the net. A great goal and brave attempt by the Frenchman!
There was still time for Eboue to cock up and let Scotland in, but Chesney was equal to his tame shot.
The final goal came when Denilson broke up play, played it to Cesc who spotted an Arshavin run, the Russian cut inside his man and played a reverse slide pass back into Cesc’s path… the Spaniard slipped the ball teasingly between the Ipswich keepers legs.
The game was over. We had won. It was time to start carnival dancing to the tune of, ‘we’re on our way to Wembley.’
I said at the start of the season I’d be more than happy with a Carling Cup win. Trophies breed trophies and we’ve not nabbed one for years now. This could be a fantastic opportunity to kick-start a glut of them. I challenge any true fan to say this doesn’t mean anything to them. The fact is, if you have a mindset like that, you’re not a real sports fan, you’re just a snob. I can’t wait for our day out and I can’t wait to see our captain raise the first trophy of the new decade!
Fair play to Arsene Wenger as well. He’s made plenty of mistakes over the past few years, but it takes a big man to admit that devaluing trophies is wrong and to address that. I’m over the moon we’ve taken this cup seriously and I certainly won’t be complaining when we’re open top parading with something better than an Annual Report.
We need to get our minds focused on the weekend now. Huddersfield in the FA Cup which could potentially put us 3 games away from another Cup Final.
I’ve got 1993 fever… and don’t even tell me Koscielny doesn’t look just like Andy Linighan!
Chezzer – He pulled a flappy early in the first half and viciously assaulted Sagna. Other than that, a quiet game and a clean sheet! 6
Clichy – I thought he played pretty well. He’s returning to form, about time too! 7
Sagna – Head butted into a rest. 6
JD – Top game, kept them quiet, won everything in the air as usual. 9
Kozzer – He made a few rash challenges and picked up a harsh booking. He was good on the ground and he popped up for the all important goal that gave us the lead. I’m really enjoying his game of late. 7.5
Denilson – He broke up play for the third but I couldn’t help but notice his flat-footed approach and how weak he is. I’m not a fan, Song is miles ahead of him. He even looks average against Championship teams. 5
Cesc – Guilty of not showing intelligence for the first 40 minutes. He grew with the game and kept plugging away. Not vintage, but a win is a win. 7
Wilshere – Superb through ball for Nik (I think). He’s a hard worker, I’d like to see a bit more creativity from him. He’s either sublime or anonymous. I guess that’s youth for you… I love that he works hard regardless. 8
Arshavin – The haters were baying for his triple distilled blood once again and he retaliated with two assists. He wasn’t amazing today but he’s feeling his way back into things. He just needs a bit of luck in my opinion. I think all the incredibly boring people who abuse him at the Emirates because it’s the done thing at the moment need to grow up. 6.5
Bendtner – Super game from the unorthodox wide man. His goal was fantastic on a number of levels, his work rate was tireless and his creativity was admirable. He’s really starting to slot into that wide role, his crossing is immaculate. 8
Robin – He looked sharp out there today and I thought he showed super bravery when the Ipswich keeper clattered him in the first half. Injury free… again! 7
P.S. Before I go, how ridiculously transparent is the Richard Keys / Andy Gray smear campaign? If any man tells me they haven’t had this exact same conversation at work, I’ll know you’re lying. Boys will be boys and I’d imagine it’s even harder not to converse like that when you work for a company who solely employs based on looks.
I actually thought that conversation was hilarious… tasteless and crude, yes, but come on, people are allowed to say whatever they want when they’re off air. Leaking videos hasn’t been standard practice @ Sky over the past 20 years has it?
… and ladies, don’t pretend you don’t have exactly the same conversations. I sat as the sole male in an office of 16 women when I started my career, my god, did I hear some things that certainly scarred an impressionable young mind!
In fact, my most embarrassing moment came in that office. The assistant manager basically shouted across the whole office…
‘Pedro, I just walked into the kitchen, I was going to pinch your ass…. but then I realised you didn’t have one’
Despite everyone hearing and laughing extremely hard, no action was taken. Good… If you can’t take a few tasteless comments in the office, perhaps you should work from home.