A derby game with our North London rivals – Tottenham Hotspurs, always comes with an anticipation of excitement, raucous cheering and jeering and some really entertaining football. It doesn’t matter if the game is being played in the Premiership, FA Cup or in the Carling Cup. The stakes are always the same. Bragging rights!
The result of the last fixture with them had put the proverbial nail in the coffin for our Premiership victory. But even bitter was the memory of the 5-1 loss in the Carling Cup fixture two seasons ago. That was enough motivation for the Gunners to go out to White Hart Lane and get redemption. And they did it in some style! An extra time victory: Tottenham 1-4 Arsenal! Read on..
Despite 8 changes from the last game, Arsenal sported a competitive squad with Henri Lansbury, Kieran Gibbs, Johan Djorou, Carlos Vela, Jack Wilshere and Lukasz Fabianski getting a start among the youngsters. Lansbury did well to be at the right place to find Nasri’s pass and put us ahead in the 14th minute. Trailing behind at half time, Harry Redknapp substituted his youth with experience as Jake Livermore and Dos Santos were replaced by Aaron Lennon and Robbie Keane. Keane immediately had an impact as he scored in the 48th minute to what looked like an off-side. Arsenal looked off the colours for a while but they soon got back to their feet as Wenger (in the stands after facing a one match FA ban) brought in Marouane Chamakh and Andrey Arshavin for Tomas Rosicky and Carols Vela. Despite a few good chances the winning goal didn’t come and the game went to extra time. Nasri successfully converted 2 penalties, thereby taking away our inhibitions from the Sunderland game when he and Chamakh refused to take the penalty, which Rosicky eventually missed. Arshavin scored off a low powerful drive and the game was sealed 1-4. Tottenham Hotspurs were knocked out and the redemption was complete!
Analysing The Young Gunns
Even though, Arsene Wenger has reiterated the fact that he considers UEFA Champions League and the Premiership as his main goals, Carling Cup provides a good opportunity to give some competitive match practice to the young Gunners and the stand-by squad. As the last few seasons have shown, injuries to important players always resulted in Arsenal’s downfall towards the end. It is hence necessary to build the standby squad to competitive standards. And nothing better than the Carling Cup. We now take a look at the performance of the non first team regulars.
All of 19 years old, Jack Wilshere has been one of the most promising youngsters to come through the Youth program. With injuries to Fabregas and Aaron Ramsey, Wilshere has notched a few games in the Premiership. The experience showed yesterday, as he was one of the best players on the pitch last night. He showed excellent stamina running up and down through the game as he altered roles with Denilson while playing attacking football or being the holding midfielder. He got a few knocks from some challenges, but he kept coming back harder into the game. Wenger was all praise for him after the game. If he works on the precision of his passes, Wilshere holds plenty of promise for us this season as he can take off some pressure from Fabregas. Aaron Ramsey has competition when he is back, which we hope is soon.
He is another of those surprisingly fast left-backs that comes out from Arsene Wenger’s stable. While in the first half he showed his agility and attacking prowess, his real test came in the second half when Aaron Lennon came on for the Spurs. Lennon is, undoubtedly, one of the quickest wingers in the Premiership and not only did Gibbs keep up with him, he also managed to win some balls and start counter attacks. Unfortunately, he limped off with an injury late into the game. He provides an excellent alternative to Gael Clichy.
Carlos Vela, Henri Lansbury and Johan Djourou
Vela was good up front and he has been very effective this season as a substitute and already has a few goals to show for his effort. He had a good game last night, but failed to convert a header driven to him by Rosicky. Lansbury had an above average game. he got the first goal, but was missing for most of the game, with Eboue doing more work on the wings than him. But Lansbury has the knack of being in the right place at the right time and he doesn’t miss many oportunities. Apart from the first half gaffe, Djorou was very strong as a centre back. He is tall and strong and provides sturdiness to the back line. He was overshadowed by Koscielny, who had a superb night, but he is a good substitute for a centre back in case the services of Koscielny, Vermaelen or Squillaci aren’t available.
Craig Eastmond, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
Eastmond and Emmanuel-Thomas were on the bench last night, but couldn’t be part of the game. Arsene Wenger, however, has plenty of praise for these two. Especially of Emmanuel-Thomas who is capable of playing in almost any position. I hope we get to see more of these two in the 4th round of Carling Cup and subsequent rounds if Arsenal proceed further.
Promising is the word I have used often in this article and that is exactly what the Young Gunners have shown from last nights game. They still might not be up to Premiership standards, but they have some raw talent, which with experience and peer guidance can become an asset.
Sudhamshu (Follow him on Twitter here!)
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