On paper and in the bank Arsenal faced an extremely tough challenge in the quarter final’s of the Carling cup against Man $ity. The night started with a minute’s silence / appreciation for the late and great Gary Speed. He never played for us, I’m not Welsh but I really liked Gary Speed as a player, person and a manager. When I heard the news on Sunday morning I was surprisingly upset and am still asking the question ‘why?’ For the man that made Ramsey the Welsh team captain, I hope he rest’s in peace.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone that Arsenal stuck to their guns and brought in the fringe players.
Team versus City:
Fabianski, Djourou, Squillaci, Koscielny, Miquel, Frimpong, Coquelin, Benayoun, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Park, Chamakh
The City team cost over £119m (Arsenal £33m) to build plus a lot more on the bench.
The game kicked off for Nasri as it was going to continues as he was booed in every touch. I’m no Nasri fan and while I was pissed off with him for the entire summer his performance against Liverpool when the team was severly depleted was extremely professional. To the point the fans even sung his name. He’s said a few things afterwards but I really didn’t listen or care.
The first chance of the night fell to Arsenal after a brilliant passing move leads to Park shot saved well from a Coquelin cross. On second viewing, Park’s shot seem to hit both his feet before the keeper did well to save.
AOC, who had a exciting first half pop up with a first time shot 30 yards out and the lanky City number 2 keeper saved brilliantly as it was dropping into the top corner. A stunning strike but an equally stunning save kept it level.
City flattered to threaten our goal but their moment of the first half came as City brought on one of their youth academy graduates (honest!), Aguero for Kolorov but Nasri trotted over to the touchline, shook hands as he was going off only to be bemused to why Kolorov is going off. Same ol’ Nasri, ready to leave.
The worrying sight of the night was Park and Chamakh huffing and puffing but their games were not suited together. Both are not the fastest and both want to link up play rather than beat the defender. I know they cost a few bob more but Aguero and Dzeko complimented each other very well on the night, could the ever improving AOC have played upfront? Potentially.
The breakthrough goal, in the 83rd minute, came from an Arsenal corner unfortunately. City picked on a stray ball when Yossi and Kos both went for the tackle which led to a lightening break to let Aguero tuck in the goal. A real sucker punch for the team and City’s FIRST shot on target.
We only really had one chance after that. A cross was flashed across the box and how Chamakh didn’t throw himself at it like an old school number 9 I’ll never know. Van Persie’s ‘Come on’ reaction from the bench summed this up.
City won 1-0.
However, even though I write this after expecting to be beaten I’m gutted for some young Gunners that really stepped up against 10 internationals out there. Frimpong, Coquelin, Koscienly, Djourou and Chamberlain were simply brilliant. They wanted to win every 50 50, they wanted to drive forward and they wanted to win it for the The Arsenal. Their performances, not only tonight but against Bolton and Shrewsbury, justify our Carling Cup policy on and off the pitch.
We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of tonight, the positives by far out weigh the negatives. We do need striker with a cutting edge to back up RVP, the world can see that. I think we will sign someone in January but that’s not for now.
Sometimes you have to step back, take stock of what you’ve witnessed and put it in perspective. Last night is one of those nights and we have to take pride in a defeat that does hurt.
Bring on Wigan, some well rested first teamers and a bench of younger players who have shown they can step up if needed.
Come on The Arsenal!
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