What a night!!
Fabianski, Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs, Wilshere, Denilson, Nasri, Rosicky, Lansbury, Vela were given the task of going head to head with Arsenal Football Clubs most bitter rival in this Carling Cup match. On the bench sat, Manuel Almunia, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Andrey Arshavin, Craig Eastmond, Marouane Chamakh and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.
Good side and a very good bench!!
Any doubts that this team weren’t up for last nights game were soon put the back of every Arsenal fans mind. We came out of the traps clearly wanting to win this game but we were in for a long night of football. Tottenham fans were in full voice, obviously sensing they would have a new DVD to buy soon at our expense. Well they didn’t know then what we all knew 120 minutes later!!
From the off you could see ‘Arrys tactics and that was to stop Jack Wilshere by fair or foul means!
But it was our own fans who had much more to sing about in the first half, we settled well and were running rings around our North London opponents! Vela and Bentley had early chances on goal but neither really tested either goal keeper!
But the away fans had much more to shout about in the first half we were playing some good stuff and Spurs had no answer to it.
We didn’t have to wait to long to see a passage of such delightful play which saw Henri Lansbury open the scoring. Eboue had played a cross field ball to Kieran Gibbs. Jink jink inside, played the ball out wide again to Nasri who pushed the ball into the path of Wilshere ahead of him. Wilshere then crossed an inch perfect ball into the penalty area to Henri Lansbury who had one of the easiest chances he will probably ever have but on nights like this, no chance is easy. He buried his chance into the back of the net with ease – 1-0!!
Arsenal were in control, we kept the ball with ease, Tottenham were chasing shadows and it was a pleasure to watch. The away fans in top voice were belting out the ‘Oles’ with pride. Surely it wouldn’t be too long before we scored our second. Johan Djourou didn’t look happy, he looked all over the place and on twenty minutes his blunder let in Bentley but thankfully his shot was way off target!
A wake up call for all…
Pavlyuchenko then had a half chance but his shot found the side-netting, we were totally in control and it was the home side who were on the back foot and we were playing the usual keep ball but with little end product to shout about. I was just hoping that this wouldn’t come back to haunt us as surely Spurs would wake up at sometime during this game and pose a threat.
Lansbury nearly made it two on 24 minutes but this time was stopped by the spurs defence. It would have been almost identical to his first but it wasnt meant to be. It was then Rosickys turn to have a shot which was deflected wide.
Then a dreadful piece of officiating came, Gibbs had held the line well, received a perfect ball and slotted his chance home past Pletikosa in the Spurs goal. The linesman raised his flag to signal offside, replays showed is was a perfect goal and it should have been 2-0!!
Gibbs was playing well, very well – Clichy must have been sat in the dugout believing his place in the starting line up was under threat. This was his first NLD, but you sure as heck wouldn’t have thought it!
We were well on top, the ruff stuff continued to be aimed at Little Jack but he took it and carried on doing what he knows best – he to was having a great game. We were on top of this game by miles but couldn’t take advantage and put a wider margin on the score sheet.
Half-time came and went and ‘Arry was the first to make the changes, on came Keane and Lennon. This would surely test the strength and ability of our young left back!
Well it wasn’t long before one of his subs made a difference but more importantly Arsene Wenger should take a long hard look at this goal we conceded. Fabianski made a hash of a Robbie Keane shot that seemed to take ages to get to the goal. Yes it was tight to the post but Fabianski got to it he just forgot to stick out a big hand and push a soft shot around his post. On this showing, Fabianski is not ready to fill our goal but then we all knew that… 1-1 and it shouldn’t have been!!
On top of that, replays clearly show that Keane was offside!
This spurred the home side on and they went on the hunt for a winner but had little joy!
The game was a little more even now but we were still creating our own chances to win the game..
Vela fluffed his header and sent his chance over the bar, a great opportunity to make it 2-1 gone! Wilshere had a low shot saved. Spurs were playing on the break and Lennon found himself in a great position in the penalty area. In came Koscielny with an inch perfect, well-timed tackle to stop him. This defender grows and grows in each game he played. A fantastic signing by Wenger in the summer!
Finally after struggling to get a mobile phone reception, Arsene Wenger sent the messenger to Pat Rice, changes were to be made. Off came Carlos Vela and Tomas Rosicky, on came Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh. Within minutes, Chamakh had a chance but his header went wide. Spurs continued to play on the break. By this time Djourou had upped his game and was playing well alongside Koscienly.
Chances came and went for both sides, Keane hit the post and Lansbury had a good effort saved. Denilson then had a shot saved as did Eboue.
When would our second goal come?? Well it didn’t, not in 90 minutes of play but neither did a winner for Spurs so off into extra time.
Then came five minutes of football that put the smiles on the face of all Arsenal Fans across the World. Arshavin played the ball into the path of Nasri, Bassong had a little tug on his shirt, enough to pull him over and the spot kick was awarded. Thankfully Rosicky was now back on the bench so up stepped the felled Frenchman to slot home his penalty. 2-1 and the way fans came alive again. Mind you, so did I, I couldn’t watch the penalty in real-time, I’ve watched it a few times since though.
Four minutes later and it was Caulker’s turn to have a howler for Spurs. Chamakh through, tug on the shirt, striker down, whistle blew, spot-kick and Nasri got his second of the night. 3-1 and surely game over.
What a game, what a sight to see – fans in white shirts creeping out the ground, seats of blue all over the place, empty where once sat a fan who thought his side were heading through to the next round of the Carling Cup. A fan who once believed he/she would have a new DVD to watch of this historic game. Well, any DVD made will be don by the Arsenal FC and the fans starting signing that too…..
Oh to have been there!
Arsenal reject, David Bentley had a chance to give Spurs faint hope but his simple header found its way wide.
Then a wonder strike from the little Russian who I was surprised to see involved in this game, 4-1, game over, night over and we were through to the next round of the Carling Cup.
Well done Arsenal, well done Arsene Wenger – you picked the right side, you made the right substitutions and you got the right result.
One last thing about Kieran Gibbs – ‘Arry bought on Lennon with true belief that he would get the better of Gibbs down the right hand side. Gibbs played so so well it wasn’t long before Lennon switched to the left. Credit to Gibbs, just pray his injury isn’t too serious. I doubted he was ready to take over from Clichy but those doubts are long gone.
How can you choose a man of the match after that performance? If I had to, it would be Kieran Gibbs.
Couldn’t resist adding this…..
Great night had by all Arsenal Fans I think :)