Carabao Cup semi finals look deadly + West Ham match review

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Well good bloody morning to you all!

Me and a pal had such a nightmare yesterday, that probably says a lot about how bland the AFC experience is at the moment. Firstly, I was offered a ticket to the West Ham game via Whatsapp that I accepted. Then we remembered there are no season tickets for the Carboot Cup. Next I went to the Tollington, but the game wasn’t showing on TV. Then I went to the ground to buy a ticket, and they were sold out.

HOWEVER, we managed to pick up two tickets in the disabled area for £5 each. So we made it in. 

… but damn, what a drab game.

West Ham are the absolute pits, but we made heavy work of turning them over. Our goal was hilariously awful, very Danny Welbeck. I have no idea what really happened, other than he made it first to a scrappy ball and Joe Hart didn’t really have enough about him to make it count. Our lack of efficiency in front of goal continued, we made 8 attempts at their goal, only hitting the target once. Not very good off 67% possession.

Wenger had picked a team that leant heavier into experience over youth, that meant the game was a bit clunky. Willock was the only kid who had a run, he made a good showing of himself, and didn’t make any mistakes. Chambers and Holding had good games. I enjoyed Debuchy fouling like a pro, and Kolasinac did well. The defence limited the Hammers to 1 attempt at goal and 0 on target, pretty much the only way to guarantee a clean sheet with Ospina.

We didn’t look much up top. We lacked creativity in midfield, watching Coquelin craft Songinho style passes was frustrating. Not as frustrating as losing Giroud to a hammy injury, our super sub is out for a few weeks now. A worry because Theo Walcott is so off the boil it’s frightening. His free diving header that he put wide of the post unchallenged typified his demise and drew customary groans from the home crowd.

Worth noting that the club really aren’t coping well with the ramp-up of games, even with heavy rotation. Wenger said this.

“It is very demanding, especially because we already have a tough schedule behind us,” he said. “We have to sit down and analyse what we can do.

“What is very worrying is when you start to lose players, like Giroud tonight. After, you cannot afford to lose another one. I have to look how I can manage the schedule.

“When you look at our fixtures in January and February, you cannot imagine we will always play with the same players in every game.

“Will I change from Premier League game to Premier League or only in the Carabao Cup? I don’t know yet – I have to look at the fixtures to see what I do.”

The team didn’t have a lot of style about them, they really struggled to click into gear. But hey, they got the job done and we go on to the semi-finals, which for the first time in a long time, is a pretty elite offering. It’ll likely be United, Chelsea, City and Arsenal. Nearly worth tuning in for!

Sad thing about this news is it means we’re unlikely to be making a final because all four of those managers will see the February cup final as a way of taking the pressure off themselves. We know Jose loves to win this trophy, Pep seems to be on a mission to win it all, and Chelsea are always a dark horse and will likely want revenge for the cup final humiliation from last year. But sheesh, I’m so negative, we took out Chelsea AND City last year, so maybe I’m being a whiny little bitch about nothing.

Back to the game. Now, I understand this has been written over and over again. But Arsenal claiming they’re sold out when they’re technically sold out, but the ground isn’t full is outrageous.

Along with some other bloggers about 5 years ago, the club shared some fancy IBM tech that would give fans more flexibility with tickets through things like the ticket exchange.

Now, I’m not knee deep in the apps, but I think it’s about time the club let you have your ticket on your phone, a bit like the Apple Wallet, or the way airline tickets are distributed via mobile.

You should have more flexibility with what you can do with the ticket. I should be able to pass my ticket to other friends who want to use my ticket (mobile to mobile), I should be able to sell it on the exchange, and I should be able to give it away if I can’t sell it.

There should be a ‘not going’ button on your phone. Meaning you can give the ticket back to the club and they can resell it through the app for people on the door or other members.

You could incentivise it. The club will resell the tickets for £5, £2.50 of it goes to the Willow Foundation. Maybe the club could build a loyalty card system, where you could earn points you could spend on other tickets, or on merch in the club shop. Make it worthwhile giving it away.

Basically, give me a kill button so my seat gets used. You could set up push notifications to remind people if they’re missing games on the regular. We need to have a system where you can always fill the grounds empty seats. Last night was beyond a joke, basically, the whole upper tier was missing. There must have been 100 fans outside the ground trying to get in but they couldn’t.

Arsenal need to upgrade their tech and make killing empty seats a priority.

Also, need to give a big thumbs up to the Gooners around me. We were right next to the West Ham fans and I have to say, the atmosphere was pretty electric. Hammers fans really are a joke, bowling around with their pork pie hats shouting IROOOOOONS channelling their inner Danny Dyer fantasies. Grow up.

Right, that’s me done, the next game is Liverpool on Friday. Should be a cracker!


178 Responses to “Carabao Cup semi finals look deadly + West Ham match review”

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  1. Bamford10


    One, most teams select their best teams in the later stages of the League Cup as well. Look at United’s XI last night. That Wenger fielded a shit XI doesn’t mean other clubs are doing so.

    Two, it doesn’t “devalue” the FAC to point out that it isn’t nearly as prestigious or important as the PL or CL. It isn’t. It also doesn’t “devalue” it to point out that this or that FAC title was won by beating this or that fairly ordinary team or series of teams. That’s not “devaluing” it; that’s working to assign it its correct or appropriate value.

    Of course the winning FAC title has value. The problem comes in when apologists try to argue that Wenger’s FAC titles should somehow temper our criticism of him. This is ridiculous, and a for a number of reasons, the most important of which is that a club of Arsenal’s resources and stature should be competing for the PL title, not be irrelevant in the PL title pursuit for ten years running. Winning an FAC title or two does not make amends in even the smallest way for this failure on Wenger’s part.

  2. Bamford10


    Yeah, all the same, my money is on Chelsea to beat us in the League Cup, and I think most here —and most observers around the world — would agree with me.

  3. Pierre

    Have to agree with you that the least we should be doing is competing for the Premier league.
    I think the problem with the Prem over the last 3 years(including this season) has been that one team had dominated the league from jan onwards.
    Leicester and Chelsea went on amazing runs and city are doing the same this season though spurs did push Leicester a little.
    The Prem is in great danger of losing interest from the fans as this will be the third season on the trot that the title is as good as over over by feb/march.

    That’s when the cup competitions become important because they provide the excitement for the fans.

  4. Wallace

    some decent money for Alexis & Walcott (and possibly Giroud) in the January window would be my priority. would be cool with Nelson and some of the other younger players getting more time as a result.

  5. Emiratesstroller


    We should not confuse the critique about Wenger’s stewardship of the club
    with how the club performs in cup competitions.

    Arsenal should be competing in the EPL whether or not we match the spending of Man City. Man Utd or Chelsea. That should be the ambition of the senior management.

    The fact that Wenger has failed to do so over last 13 years and is now beginning to struggle to finish in top four is clear evidence of regression. That should be sufficient evidence for the club to part company with the manager.

    The club are clearly beginning to make appointments in anticipation of regime change when Wenger does leave. That is the right way to do things albeit I would have preferred that it was done 5-7 years ago.

  6. Pierre

    “Based on my earlier blog, where’s all the Mourinho bashing?”

    Surely you have learnt by now that there is only one manager they like to bash on here.

  7. HighburyLegend

    lol we drew the chavs, game over.

    Maureen trying to defend his players, insisting on the fact that Bristol were very lucky, but you’re not fooling anyone Jose, everybody knows that you don’t give a f*ck about this competition.

  8. Cesc Appeal

    Fingers crossed then United take Pochettino off of Spurs in the near future.

    UCL qualification or not they will not stick with Mourinho long if he cannot sort this team out.

  9. Bankz

    HighburyLegend, isn’t that where you’re wrong?
    Jose cares too much about the carling cup.
    He goes all out for it.
    He’s won 2 of the last 3

  10. TonyD

    How many of those are home grown?

    Bellerin from Barca. Coq from where?

    Of the fringes how many actually make it to the first 11 on a regular bass in the PL, not reserve teams for cups where many clubs blood their youth.

    If my memory is correct some players who get some PL game time then have to move on like Bentley and the kid who went to Sunderland?

  11. TonyD

    Sorry Wallace no time to research the net so will interested to know.

    I see home grown academy as players from early teens or younger. Not late teen players bought in the hope for the first 11.

  12. Pierre

    Leg end
    The answer to my earlier question “which trophy has jose won more than any other”

    Its “The cup he don’t give a toss about”

    The League cup.

  13. Pierre

    I’ll tell you what, let’s say they are only homegrown if they are conceived and born within a mile of the ground..

  14. Wallace


    Bellerin & Coquelin both arrived at 16. neither were ready at the time so I’d credit Arsenal for developing them to the point they were able to play PL football. Cesc I’d say was a different story in that although he also came in at 16 he was ready to play straight away.

  15. alexanderhenry


    ‘Arsenal should be competing in the EPL whether or not we match the spending of Man City. Man Utd or Chelsea. That should be the ambition of the senior management.’

    I think you’re being a little unrealistic.

    I’m not sure exactly why a lot of fans on here seem to expect arsenal to find a manager who can perform miracles. it’s possible of course- ranieri did it at Leicester – but hugely unlikely.

    A brief look at the current squad shows one thing; the club need to invest heavily on players, regardless of who the manager is. Without serious and sustained investment I can only see arsenal slipping further behind.
    It’s really that simple.

    What we have done in the past year is the opposite. Making a profit of £18 million in the transfer window and allowing your best two players to run down their contracts and leave for nothing ain’t going to win you trophies.

  16. TitsMcGee

    currently we’ve got Bellerin, Coquelin, Wilshere, Iwobi, AM-N & Nelson with Willock & Macey on the fringes. doubtful any of the other big sides gets close to that.”

    Jesus Christ.

    That’s a very average return and you’re waxing poetic about it.

  17. HighburyLegend

    “the club need to invest heavily on players, regardless of who the manager is. ”

    That’s funny, because to invest heavily is impossible regardless of who the manager is.

  18. HighburyLegend

    @Bankz : I was also refering to the fact that they are in the title race (or at least they believe it lol) and in the CL this season.

  19. HighburyLegend

    @Pierre : if the fact that Maureen has won this trophy “so many times” is enough to convince you that it’s a BIG trophy, than you are really a desperate case.

  20. graham62


    I know and I’m one of them!

    Nevertheless, if there is one manager who deserves all our scourn, it’s JM.

    Would NEVER want such an anti-football approach. This is not PulIs we’re talking about. This is a guy who has had unlimited resources and funds at his disposal and yet still has such a negative approach to the game.

    He may be a legend to some but, to me, he is the luckiest person alive.