Arsenal 3 – 0 Ipswich, We’re Going To Wembley…

Morning All…

First thing is first – for the first time in quite a while, boys and girls, we’re going to Wembley… And in a typical Arsenal way – we made it dramatic, as dramatic as we could make it – 1-0 down from the first leg and a 0-0 first half… and it all boiled down to the second half of the second leg, when we finally clicked into gear…

Arsene sprung a few surprises  yesterday when he named the trio of Arshavin, Bendtner and Denilson in the line up – the “Arshbendilson”… as they have been referred to quite a bit… I was shocked to see all three of them, I really thought – yes, he may play one – but unlucky to find enough space in the starting line up for all three… But he did…

Szcznesy

Sagna – Djourou – Koscielny – Clichy

Wilshere – Denilson

Bendtner – Cesc – Arshavin

Van Persie

With a bench of Shea, Song, Eboue, Gibbs, Walcott, Nasri and Chamakh

Ipswich had a game plan – which was to defend and defended in numbers, but when they had the opportunity – to attack and try and nick a goal. They kicked of the half with a shot from the half way line at goal. It wasn’t a night to remember for Mark Halsey, the referee, as he seemed on intent on giving Ipswich a 12th man, with a series of anti-Arsenal decisions, allowing a lot of rough tackling to take place from the Ipswich players.

It was a bit of stop-start first half, with Denilson and Bendtner showing why they aren’t first choice picks in the team – Arshavin, on the other hand, started much better than he had in recent games – aware of keeping possession and using the ball well – it was blindingly obvious that the Russian has lost a yard of pace in the last twelve months.

Van Persie had our first major chance, when a ball from the right connected well, but the Dutchman missed the target – shortly to be followed by a Cesc run that ended him being flattened in the penalty box, but nothing given. A clash of heads in our box saw Sagna leave the field and he was replaced by the slightly unstable Eboue…

There was a lot of goal mouth action and Van Persie hit the bar with a header and Cesc and Bendtner had shots and rebounds saved respectively… but it was level at the break and it would all be down to the last 45 of 180 minutes for us to win the tie…

I wonder what Arsene said at half time…

“I told them to keep our priorities right, that is continue to defend well and not expose ourselves too much by rushing our game. We needed to be calm, patient, even if we had to go into the last 20 minutes. We had to continue to believe in our game.”

And that was the plan… Bendtner and Arshavin switched sides, the Dane playing on the left… and just when you thought he couldn’t get any worse… he got much better… a great ball from Jack Wilshere put Bendtner in on goal, he went wide of the defender, switched back onto his right and then finished to the bottom right of the goal. Excellent goal and the best thing Bendtner has done in a while. You could see in his performance that he knows he is not playing well and the goal would have meant a lot to him…

“We rotate, I rotate from game to game because we play nine games in January and we played eight or nine in December as well. I show them as well that I have confidence in every player, no matter how big the game is. Of course sometimes when a player has not played for a few weeks, when he comes in he is not 100 per cent, but after a few games Bendtner is getting sharper and sharper.”

1-0 became 2-0 moments later as Koscielny connected with an excellent corner, and rammed the ball in the back of the net… it shows what could happen if a) we stopped playing our short corner routines and b) we actually beat the first man from a corner!

The relief around the stadium was evident all around – thank God… and a sense of Wembley was present… the sniff of a cup final… a chance of silverware was in the eyes… but we needed a third – and who else to score it – but our captain – who has been longing a goal in the last couple of games, and he deserved one. Arshavin cleverly going inside with Cesc overlapping and the Russian playing him in for Cesc to tuck the ball under the keeper.

It finished 3-0 and there were a lot of happy Gooners – credit to Ipswich for their travelling support and the song banter… a classic come back in the song department when the tractor boys echoed, “you only sing when you’re winning”, to which we replied… “We’ve only got one Song…”… Classic…

Arsene spoke after the game and said:

“Of course, the players were really up for it and focused. At the end we needed to be patient. You have to give credit to Ipswich over the two games, they defended with great attitude and great spirit and we needed tonight to be mature, calm, patient and of course not concede a goal. The fact we have stabilised our defensive record helped us to qualify.

“It meant a lot for the squad, for the team, and I must say they deserved to be rewarded because they have an outstanding attitude and spirit. They are on a natural development process and overall I think that in the last four games we scored three goals in every single game and conceded one so we are efficient on both sides. It was important to continue to believe, not to rush our game and not become nervous. We did that very well.”

He also spoke about how happy Cesc was to get to the final – I’m sure they all are very happy!!

Til tomorrow my friends… til tomorrow…

  • Goonerman

    One thing that stood out tonight or should I say person was jack wilshere. I know it’s only Ipswich but he was absolutely anazing! He thought so hard and gave all he had, he out muscled every monster they but against him. I really just thought he deserved amention tonight!!

  • yemi

    Ooooh!!!Watched only the first half so i missed all the goal!!!, just watched the highlights though.

    I hope Arshavin continues to improve. I think with more games, he and B52 will come at least close to their previuos known forms.

    Any news about Sagna yet ?

    Good result, Way to go….

    See y’all at wembley when we shall lift the cup by God’s grace!!!

  • Kieran

    Told you he’d play Van Persie!

    @ Goonerman:
    Agreed, I thought Wilshere was man of the match.

    I also thought Denilson had a good game.

    @ yemi:
    I thought Arshavin was still very poor – the few times he tracked back he did so out of frustration and conceded free kicks.

  • yemi

    @ Kieran:

    I agree that arshavin is still poor, but you will notice that his attitude has changed a bit. He seems to be more interested and his body language is no longer irritating

  • CON-MAN

    so glad were on our way to wembley, i feel we could do the double- at least the 2 domestic cups or 1 domestic cup/the league

    that said im on it like a hawk trying to find tickets so if anyone on this forum is going let me know! would love to meet the other world of arsenal bloggers

  • snehalbumbhatt

    Fantastic stuff. This is really starting to feel like the good old days of the ‘Big Two’ duopoly. Arsenal looking great in second place snapping at the heels of an irritatingly good Manyoo side, a cup final in the bag…now all that’s needed is for Wenger and Fergie to rekindle their feud by b*tching about each other during press conferences and that fixture in April could well turn out to be one hell of a feisty affair (Pizza-gate Part 2?). Oh and Nicklas Bendtner, in the words of a certain Mr Gray, “Take a boo, son”.