If you are looking for December 2nd’s post, click here.
Arsenal bumbled their way into the Carling Cup semi finals with a 2-0 victory against a very poor Wigan side. The visitors rarely threatened in just the type of game you’d expect to have to watch in subzero temperatures. The whole performance was a bit flat as was the atmosphere, but hey, once our name is engraved across the Carling Cup, no one is going to ask how we played against Wigan!
The first major chance of the game fell to Carlos Vela who was slipped in with a magical back heel from Robin Van Persie. Instead of burying the ball low and hard past the keeper, the frustrating Mexican went for a dinked chip (SHOCK HORROR!) over the Wigan keeper. Sadly for the crowd, it drifted wide…
The majority of the first half was a mixture of poor passing and a lack of movement. Nik Bendtner was disappointing up front again. His heavy touch and lack of mobility on the ball was there for all to see. Carlos Vela was in ‘try hard’ mode… this wasn’t doing him any favours. He was picking out the wrong balls and generally making the incorrect decisions. At least he was trying…
Emmanuel Eboue was having an absolute stinker at right back. Moses was probably the only Wigan player getting any joy out of the night, until he collapsed in a heap on the floor and had to be stretchered off.
Our goal came on the 40 minute mark. Theo fizzed a corner into the box, Nik B glanced the ball goal bound and I’m pretty sure a Wigan player finished the move due to the lack of celebrations from our arrogant Dane. The crowd didn’t know whether it had been given, thankfully for us, it was all legit!
Alcaraz was the first player to test Chesney. He leapt highest from a corner, the Pole spilled the shot, luckily Denilson was on hand to put it over our bar.
The return corner was cleared, the cross was returned, Chesney claimed well and launched a throw to the half way line where Vela collected, he threaded Theo through on goal… the young Englishman’s shot was denied by the hand of a Wigan player, no penalty awarded. An extremely fast piece of counter attacking football.
Our second goal came in the second half. Jack Wilshere picked the ball up in our half, slipped a pass to Van Persie who laid it off out wide to Vela. The Mexican clipped a marvellous ball to the back post where Nik was on hand to bundle the ball home.
Game over. Arsenal were through to the semi finals of the Carling Cup.
So what was the performance like?
Well, I can’t say that was vintage Arsenal. It kind of felt like we went through the motions and knew all along we were going to come out victorious. Wigan really were pathetic and I felt sorry for Martinez, he appears to have lost the dressing room as none of his players looked interested last night. There is a certain difference between playing the youth and the reserves. There is more excitement when you have the kids out there but there was certainly a more professional air about our team last night.
The most important thing was firstly gaining a victory at home and secondly keeping a much needed clean sheet. We need to start building the Emirates back up as a fortress.
Who stood out?
Well, not too many players if I’m honest. There were many wayward balls in the first half and a lot of un-Arsenal like sloppy play. I would say my stand out player was probably Carlos Vela. Despite having very little luck in front of goal, he kept plugging away and he eventually found joy with an excellent assist. I can’t help but think he’d be a far better player than Theo if he was offered the same chances.
The Polish equivalent of Bendtner in goal didn’t really have too much to do. He did spill a fairly tame header. I think he saw it late. He made up for that with a good claim moments later and a great long ball. For me, he’s not ready for first team action and if it were up to me, I’d be signing a new keeper in the January transfer window.
A flat first half. However, I won’t criticise too heavily. It was a less than full venue and the conditions were pretty disgusting. We spent most of the second half working on the new Nasri song. It’s got a long way to go I have to admit… perhaps a bit of practice in the pub before? I hope Sammy respects how hard everyone is working to sing his name!
I do wish if people had spare tickets, they’d put them through LG. I had plenty of eager fans wanting a seat last night.
What are our chances?
Well, the stunning news of last night was that West Ham trounced United 4-0 at home. That was a great result on two levels. Firstly, it means we pretty much have a free run at the Carling Cup now. If we can’t make this trophy ours this year, there is something severely wrong. I don’t care what anyone says about its value, getting some silverware in the cabinet is of utmost importance.
Secondly, a pounding of that nature will do United no favours psychologically. They’ve been broken by bottom of the league West Ham and that will have an affect on squad morale regardless of who played. We have them in two weeks time, it’ll be a real tipping point in our season. Can we beat a top 4 contender? Can we prove that we’re good enough to march on in the league?
I think we can and I can’t wait for the showdown of the season!
Szczesny – One moment of madness in a very quiet game. 6
Djourou – Calm, cool and collected. 7.5
Koscielny – No calamities here my friend. 7
Eboue – A weak game from the most experienced player in the game. 5
Gibbs – Can be very sloppy at times. Good going forward. 6
Walcott – His game was all over the place if I’m honest. Struggling for form. 6
Denilson – Solid and in control 7
Wilshere – Working his way back into his stride. Much better than he has been of late. 7
Van Persie – The tricks and flicks are there. The confidence is building. Would like to see a few more shots. 7
Vela – Started off poorly but grew with the game. Great assist, good team play. 7.5
Bendtner – Disappointing. He scored one, caused the other but for me, it wasn’t a good game. He’s a carthorse at the moment. He reminds me of Chris Sutton. Must do better if he is to be considered for god like status this month. 6.5
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