Did Arsenal Win? You Wouldn’t Believe It From The Headlines
Carling Cup 3rd Round
Arsenal 3 – 1 Shrewsbury Town
0 – 1 Collins (17)
1 – 1 Gibbs (33)
2 – 1 Oxlade-Chamberlain (58)
3 – 1 Benayoun (79)
Arsenal progressed through to the fourth round of the Carling Cup with what was a deserved win in the end. It was very much a game of two halves, Shrewsbury in no way flattered by going into the interval on level terms with Arsenal’s fitness and technique eventually allowing them to dominate the second period. It was a good test for the younger, inexperienced players and one that they will have learned more from than if it had ended up with a rout.
Another plus point for Wenger was that new signings broke their scoring ducks whilst Kieran Gibbs equalled Gael Clichy’s scoring record as left back with his first for the club. Just the defensive side of the game to work on and the youngster will surpass his predecessor.
Of course it wouldn’t be Arsenal if the match did not come filled with negatives. In the media that is. The crowd of 46,500 is dominating coverage, Arsenal are apparently in trouble being the inference. It is a curious angle to use since it was the biggest crowd of the evening and more pertinently, the failure of Chelsea and Manchester City to sell out their Champions League home ties last week, barely mustered comment.
No bias at all.
This was fed by the backdrop of a concocted feud between Arsène and the board, the report intersperses comments made by Ivan Gazidis at a breakfast meeting with the manager’s post-match press conference.Others are trying to build matters up, Wenger’s face reportedly like ‘thunder‘ when asked about the Chief Exec’s backing, the inference being that he was angry with Gazidis. Of course, he could not be angry with the journalists for asking the question or trying to feed the negative atmosphere? Good grief, no, they are all chums together.
Or is this symptomatic of the deteriorating relationship with the club that has led to moans and gripes that Wenger is no longer readily available, at their beck and call? How long before the manager is described as ‘beleaguered‘?
Let’s not forget that a match took place.
The starting line-up was pretty much as expected, reflecting the youthful nature of the squad. 4-3-3 was gone, a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation employed. It remains to be seen if this was a permanent move or one that reflected the abilities of those available to him. Certainly the former would have led to a full debut for Ryo rather than an 18 minute cameo. Time for that to come later, perhaps more in this tournament than others.
Arsenal started brightly, Chamakh had openings to break the deadlock. Gibbs sent in what might become a trademark cross – accurate, an unusual trait in an Arsenal left back – and the header was well saved by the Shrewsbury ‘keeper. From the ensuing corner, Coquelin set Chamakh with the opportunity to take the back of the net off, instead the Moroccan opted for placement, too comfortably saved.
Promising early signs for the home side, optimism which was pricked and deflated on the quarter hour. Wright beat Fabianski but not the post before Collins drifted into unmarked territory for a simple header. One nil, defensive uncertainties returned – if they ever left. Was this to be Arsène’s Walsall moment?
Shrewsbury took advantage of the doubts and their confidence surged. Half chances came and went before Arsenal started to regain their composure. When the chips are down, sometimes a little luck is needed. Gibbs got that just past the half hour when his header was mishandled over the line by the previously alert Smith. Parity restored. Shrewsbury almost hit back immediately before Park and Frimpong tried their luck before half-time.
The second half saw Arsenal not necessarily resurgent but certainly more on top of proceedings. Frimpong once more had his shooting boots on before Oxlade-Chamberlain opened his Arsenal account, once more the ‘keeper might have done better but I doubt that Chamberlain cares. A lead assumed, rarely troubled and increased by Benayoun near the end.
Wenger will have been pleased by the performances of his younger charges, Coquelin and Oxlade-Chamberlain enjoying the night more than at Old Trafford. Both showed promise for the future with the young Frenchman certain to press Frimpong and Song for the defensive midfield berth in coming seasons.
Away from this, Wenger’s abilities were questioned by the media. His reaction suggests that he is more than a little tired of the criticism being received. Certainly you wonder at how the questions are phrased to bring about such strong feelings in the manager. It seems one thing is for certain, there will be no defensive coach arriving at London Colney, Wenger was as emphatic as can be,
I just completed 32 years of coaching. I do not want to answer these types of questions.
Hell hath no fury like a Wenger scorned.
Posted on September 21, 2011, in Arsenal, Carling Cup, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Shrewsbury Town, Soccer. Bookmark the permalink. 257 Comments.