Arsenal 3 Ipswich Town 0: Wembley….it is!
2 days ago, I had a nightmare that Ipswich might just nick it after we’ve gone 2 up. I also dreamt that Arshavin had the last one-on-one chance in the 93rd minute after a wonderful through ball from Cesc “El Capitan” Fabregas. After sprinting away from the last defender, Arshavin killed a hawk that was about to pick up a chick somewhere in the stands. As the ref was about to end the game, my alarm rang at my ear and i woke up without thinking twice. At least i didn’t hear the final whistle so something might have happened.
I wrote in yesterday’s post that i expected AW the Alchemist to field at least 70% of the squad that spanked Wigan. He gave us 72% with Denilson coming in for Song, Bendtner for walcott and Arshavin for Nasri.
Our best defender so far Johan “Injourou” Djourou made his 100th appearance in Arsenal colours. It’s a good milestone to reach but it’s not so good “statistics” wise. Johan joined us from Etoile-Carouge in 2003 and broke into the setup 2 years later. 100 games in 8 years at the club signifies that he has averaged just 12.5 games per season. I don’t call him “Injourou” for nothing you know.
The game started with a surprise kick off shot from some bloke who has Lead written all over his jersey. He probably scored such a goal in training and then thought to himself,”What the f*ck, lemme have a go”. The audacious effort went over the bar though. I think Wojciech “Szszsz” Szczesny had it covered.
Bacary Sagna had a good but short game. He sent a very good cross to rVp but his effort went wide. It was good to see that AW the Alchemist chose Robin van Persie ahead of Chamakh. Even if it was against a “lowly” Championship outfit, he knew that there was a lot at stake here.
Ipswich built up an attack which led to a free kick. A young chap whipped it into our danger area but it was headed over the bar. The only downside was that there was a collision between Szszsz and Sagna. Both men were treated for lengthy spells but only one had no choice but to recover because his replacement may be overawed by having his debut on such an important match. The other couldn’t make and was replaced by Emmanuel Eboue. I tend to wonder how young James Shea would have fared if Szszsz was declared injured.
Nicklas “Wald Bezt” Bendtner was deployed on the right wing. He created a good chance for his captain but that elusive Carling Spoon goal failed to come El Capitan’s way because Fulop smothered the ball on his second attempt.
It was going to be one of “those nights” in the first half.
Bendtner received an awkward cross from Arsenal’s left back, dinked a cross into the far post where rVp was unmarked. When the ball left his head, i leapt to the air in celebration of our leveler on aggregate. Fulop’s bar had other plans. The tie still remained goalless.
The man with the whistle, Mr. Halsey blew for half time. The 60,000 or so gathered in the Emirates were bewildered how we weren’t on top. An air if uncertainty started creeping in. I dreamt about Arsenal taking a 2-goal lead. I hadn’t seen it yet.
We went into the break the better side. Ipswich’s defending had been resolute and organised. As always, we had all the possession the World could offer but we couldn’t break them down.
If it was in Football Manager ™ , I would have used the “encourage” team talk or “you’re outplaying them everywhere” team talk. Whatever AW the Alchemist said to his boys for 15 minutes can never be known by us the fans. All i can say is that it “worked a treat”.
Arsenal started the second half with positive intent. Their gameplay showed that there was calmness. A feat that can only be shown by a mature set of individuals.
El Capitan had a free kick that fell to Bendtner, but his quick-fire shot was blocked by a group of die-hard Ipswich defenders.
Another player who has been outstanding this season is our Whizkhid, Jack Wilshere. He supported Denilson a lot in the game and sent some delightful through passes that were like hot knives passing through butter.
The through pass he gave to El Capitan was simply stunning. It was a classic example of the L1 and Δ combo in Pro Evolution Soccer ™ . El Capitan brought the down superbly but lashed his left foot shot across goal and past the post.
After much perseverance, we got what our play deserved. Breakthrough. Wilshere who was simply faultless tonight sent another delicious long ball to the rangy Dane. He used his technique to bring the ball under control, cut inside the area then curled the ball past Fulop. That was the kind of goal i saw in my dreams but it was actually a “goal made in dreams”.
The relief around the Emirates was visible with the fans rallying their side for the killer blow. With Huddersfield Town coming up in 4 days time, it would have been a bit embarrassing if Ipswich took the game to extra time.
Andrei Arshavin was having one of his horror showings yesterday. If tweets could injure a player, AA would have been out for 8 months because the gooners on Twitter screaming for his withdrawal from the pitch. I termed yesterday’s game as a “make or break” game for him.
Just 3 minutes after going 1 up, an attacking move led to a corner kick. Arshavin lackadaisically went to the corner flank, moved back and crossed the ball. Fulop misjudged the flight of the ball and Koscielny nodded home. I call him “Kos100%tackle” because his amazing anticipation ability. It was nice to see him score his 2nd ever Arsenal goal with his head, considering how he missed from 2 yards out in Stamford Bridge last October.
2 goals to the good and the Emirates erupted a roar that showed many emotions. We were a few minutes away from booking a ticket to Wembley.
We bossed the game well and showed no mercy to Ipswich in terms of ball possession. I mistakenly changed the channel and saw a man that looked like Freddy Krueger. The lead character of “Nightmare” on Elm Street. I gave out a good laugh and went back to the game.
Late in the game, my nightmare almost became a reality. Ipswich’s Jason Scotland popped up from the left and fired a low drive to Szszsz’s near post. It was good to see that his concentration levels were in check.
The striker, Jason Scotland hails from T & T and had his Football Manager 2010 finishing attribute as 19. The finish was quite poor for a player FM 2010 rated highly. Football Manager 2011 dropped his finishing attribute to 11. It’s quite understandable now.
The player that put the nail in Ipswich’s curtain was a player who deserved it. Club captain and talisman, Francesc Fabregas Soler. Even while having a bad day at the office, Arshavin supplied the assist for the 2nd goal. He got the ball and played a magic trick on the defender before cushioning a pass for our captain who had the simple task of sliding in to put the ball through the legs of Fulop. His first Carling Spoon goal for Arsenal. What a time to break that duck.
There was even time to bring on Nasri and Walcott. They told AW the Alchemist that they didn’t want to miss out on the fun.
At the final whistle, the celebrations seen everywhere was a good feeling. People went haywire on Twitter, i broke my glass tumbler with Guinness still inside.
3-0 to the Arsenal and a Wembley ticket booked for the 27th of February.
Szszsz (6.9) kept another clean sheet. Clichy (6.8) did very well at left back. Sagna didn’t play long enough to get a rating. Let’s hope the injury is not that bad. We’ll need him in the foreseeable future. Eboue (6.5) was fair. Injourou (6.8) continued his solid consistent run in the defence. Koscielny (7.3) scored a towering header and put up a good all round performance. Whizkhid (7.5) bossed the midfield and sent in delightful through balls. Denilson (6.8) did well to hold the line. El Capitan (7.5) was as simply faultless. Bendtner’s (7.9) goal was a joy to behold. Arshavin (7.4) had 2 assists. In Football Manager, you’ll 7.4 for that. rVp (6.9) linked up play well. He now has 6 goals in his last “4” games. 6 in 3 was kinda better. Nasri and Walcott won’t get ratings.
My night was filled up with mixed feelings. At half time, i was a bit down with our play but i was drinking a bottle of Guinness cheerfully because Blackpool were 2 goals to the good against the Red Hell Owners.
At full time, i was obviously happy that we won but i was really gutted to see that Man Utd won the game 3-2. Even with 10 minutes added on due to Evin Twin Rafael’s injury, Blackpool couldn’t snatch one back.
The major talking point of the game will definitely be the glaring penalty that was not awarded to Blackpool.
Man Utd won that game for three good reasons. 1. They were stronger on paper, 2. They had the “Premier League experience” factor and 3. They are currently on a referee recruitment exercise.
We all thought that it was only the “baldest” ref of them all. We didn’t know that more refs are on the cards.
Arsenal FC, we simply asked you to help us end the drought
Thanks for “bringing the rain”.
That’s all for now