Yennaris, Squillaci, Vermaelen (c), Miquel,
Coquelin, Frimpong, Benayoun,
Chamberlain, Arshavin, Park
Thomas Vermaelen started as captain last night and Arshavin started in the hole just behind the striker. The midfield was pretty strong from a defensive point of view, but the back line really did look worry with only Vermaelen in there as proven quality.
Parks first contribution was to fall over, then get up, lay off Chamberlain who played a silly back heel. The opening 10 minutes was that dull, that’s all I had in my notes.
Frimpong started the first good move doing well to feed Oxo in from a wide position, the wideman breezed into the box but took too long on the ball and with it, failed to take his chance.
Chamberlain was taking a bit of a continental approach in midfield, the second time he was caught in possession in the opening half an hour nearly cost us, Pratley dispossessed him, sped away and only a good save from Fabianski kept the long range shot out.
Park was trying to make things happen down the other end, he dropped his shoulder on the edge of the Bolton box, made some space and fired a shot across goal from 22 yards, Bogdan was equal to it with a good save.
Kakuta, the future of world football, tried to catch Fabianski at the near post despite having two better options inside him.
Our possession play, even for a Carling Cup side, was poor. Lots of stray passes flying around the Emirates greenery.
Arshavin teed up Vermaelen from a freekick, the Belgian rifled it at goal, Bogdan saved, possibly breaking 4 bones in his wrist in the process.
Arshavin was at it again, creating space for Park to take a low placed shot, which was tipped round the post well by Bogdan.
Kakuta was running the show down the right, Miquel was giving him far too much space, he really did look Bendtner-esque outwide.
The second half started badly, Muamba dispossessed Frimpong in midfield, slipped in the impressive Pratley who cut it back to Muamba who took no prisoners roofing the ball.
Park strayed offside a few times, but two things appealed, a striker making the runs, a midfielder making the chances. It was like Wright and Bergkamp!
Benny was doing a solid job in midfield, he’s very similar to Hleb in style. He received the ball just past the dugout, he dummied his man, cut the ball into the path of Andrey, he breezed into the box ad buried a shot past the keeper after being given the freedom of the area to shoot. A great finish.
Our second came not long after, Park ran into an offside position looking to be fed by Andrey, he held off with the pass, Park recalibrated, the pass was fed into him, he took no touches and slotted the winner into the top right hand corner. Hello Thierry or Bobby!
The game wasn’t dead and buried for us yet, Eagles rifled a speculative shot at Fabianski who manged to fumble it over the bar… Very lucky! He made up for it on 76mins by denying Klasnic who was through on goal. His denial of Cahill from an unchallenged corner was pretty spectacular as well.
The game closed, the home fans got great value for money, we moved into the quarter finals! Hooray!
The victory train moves on… next stop, Chelsea.
Key Player Reviews…
Park Chu-Young – His first start for Arsenal was very impressive. He’s a sizeable Korean at 6ft and he’s quite strong to boot. He hangs off the last defender and looks like a more classic number 9 than we’ve had in the past. He’s intelligent, he’s not afraid to shoot. A massive thumbs up from me. 8.5
Yennares – He looks like Theo’s younger moustached brother, shave that off son, it’s not a good look! He was solid in defence and again, without blowing us away, he had an impressive debut. 7
Chamberlain – A much quieter game from the on fire man of the moment. He had a few telling runs but he was terribly sloppy on the ball at times and could have cost us. The folly of youth… He’ll learn, hopefully fast. 6
Frimpong – the sooner you realise 70% of his game is fire and brimstone the sooner you’ll realise how far he has to go. Far too casual in possession and at times thoughtless in the pass. On the upshot… His pace power and hunger for possession still excites. Passion is half the battle one. If Denilson had half what Frimpong had he wouldn’t be struggling away in Brazil. 6
Arshavin – Get in the hole! Yeah, that’s what Wenger shouted at the Russian pre game and it paid off. We created chances, we scored two goals and we looked dangerous going forward. He’s built for that position he has twice the genius anyone else at our club has trying to play that role. It feels silly not to give him a go. 8.5
Fabianski – Some top draw saves meshed in with a couple of scary fumbles just to remind you of why he’s number 2. 7.5
Vermaelen – Good to have his welcomed presence back in the side. He’ll be a big boost for the rest of the season, slightly humorous that after Wenger declaring hed be good for 50 straight games, he has a calf strain so is out for Sunday. 7
[twitter-follow screen_name=’LeGrove’ show_count=’yes’]
Miquel – Played at left back for some reason and he looked very suspect. He was pretty much solely responsible for giving Bolton any chance of winning the game. Kakuta took him to the cleaners on numerous occasions. In the first half he tried to stay tight to him, only to be roasted for pace, in the second, he backed off him, only to be foiled by his dangerous balls into the box. 5