Arsenal Plough On To Wembley
Carling Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg
Arsenal 3 – 0 Ipswich Town
Arsenal win 3 – 1 on aggregate
1 – 0 Bendtner (61)
2 – 0 Koscielny (63)
3 – 0 Fabregas (76)
Arsenal reached their first final since 2007 with a comprehensive victory over Ipswich Town. The win was marked by the patience shown by a stronger than expected Arsenal line-up, a signal from Arsene Wenger that he is determined that the club will lift the trophy at the end of next month.
An emphatic scoreline highlighted the difference in the quality of the two sides with Ipswich obdurate and fortunate in their defence of the one-goal lead established at Portman Road a fortnight ago. Progress for Arsenal was achieved in fifteen second half minutes, Ipswich crumbling under the home side’s constant pressure.
From the kick off, Arsenal were singular in their approach. Win possession, keep the ball and create the openings. Against a wall of blue shirts – the visitors frequently had nine outfield players behind the ball – it was an evening where patience was required, a not unfamiliar set of circumstances. Ipswich had a rare shot on goal directly from the start, Szczesny watching the ball clear his crossbar from Leadbitter’s speculative effort.
van Persie responded by shooting wide whilst Cesc was to be the recipient of Mark Halsey’s first, and unfortunately not last, bizarre decision, shoved in the back in the area; as clear a penalty as the one denied to Blackpool. Almost.
An early enforced substitution came when Szczesny clattered Sagna, the full back concussed and replaced by Eboue. Arsenal were creating more pressure on the visitors although clear chances were at a premium. The clearest came with a quarter of the game played. Bendtner stood a cross to the far post where van Persie craned to meet the ball, unable to guide it into the roof the net, connecting with the bar instead.
Arsenal continued to probe. Fulop could not hold onto Fabregas’ free kick with Bendtner unable to capitalise on the rebound. The Spaniard would then weave through the Ipswich defence, lifted his shot past the advancing Fulop and wide of the post. Head in hands, the Arsenal captain wondered what he would have to do to score. Half an hour later, he would get his answer.
The second half commenced with Arsenal measured and controlled once more in their approach. Ipswich were still defending in numbers and with a will that seemingly grew stronger despite the tiredness creeping into their limbs. The latter left gaps at the back as they became a little more adventurous.
Those gaps were ominously filled with Arsenal players. Wilshere had been scurrying and prompting all night, unleashed a forty yard pass into the path of Bendtner on the Arsenal left. The Dane controlled the ball, cut inside and curled his shot around defenders and goalkeeper. A marvellous finish, parity in the tie for Arsenal and a chance to kick on to seal the required aggregate win.
A further step in the right direction came two minutes later when Koscielny beat Fulop to the ball from Arshavin’s corner, heading into an unguarded net. Ipswich responded as substitute Jason Scotland drilled a low effort that Szczesny saved comfortably.
Cesc sealed the win with a deserved goal. Breaking from the middle of the pitch, he found Arshavin. The Russian continued his run and returned a beautifully weighted pass into his captain’s path, Fabregas sliding the ball between the onrushing Fulop’s legs leaving defenders forlorn and foresaken in the back of the net, the ball tantilising them by nesting at their weary feet.
The mercurial Russian might not be in the best form in front of goal but last night his character shone through. Despite the lack of touch, he created two goals and never shirked from receiving a pass or trying to play in a colleague. A goal is all that he needs to return to his best on the pitch and on the basis of last night’s performance, will not be too long in coming.
Equally deserving of praise were Bendter and Denilson. They have put the horrors of Leeds at The Emirates behind them and both were outstanding. The Dane once again proving that he can play on the right even if he does not want to, it is simply a matter of application. Denilson meanwhile provided a lot of possession for Fabregas and Wilshere in midfield. Ipswich helped with surrendering the ball quickly through speculative passes but using the ball wisely in those situations is the platform to success.
Personally, I though Wilshere was Man of the Match. He ran the midfield, probing, dribbling and pressurising Ipswich constantly throughout the ninety minutes. An energetic performance which highlights the benefits he has felt of a brief rest through rotation.
Reaching the final was last night’s objective, concentration on the three other tournaments is a priority before the trip to Wembley. To be in four tournaments at this stage of the season is unusual for Arsenal but a situation that the squad seem determined to make the norm.
Posted on January 26, 2011, in Arsenal, Carling Cup, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged Arsenal, Carling Cup, Football, Ipswich Town, Premier League, Soccer. Bookmark the permalink. 275 Comments.