Daily Archives: October 30, 2013
Emirates Stadium (Capital One Cup)
Chelsea – Azpilicueta 26′, Mata 67′
With half an eye on the crucial top of the table clash with Liverpool this weekend, Arsene Wenger fielded a relatively strong squad ahead of the Capital One Cup encounter against Chelsea with fringe players like Thomas Vermaelen, Nacho Monreal, Carl Jenkinson, Ryo Miyaichi and Nicklas Bendtner all getting run outs as well as some first team regulars.
It’s also worth noting that Bendtner made his first start at the Emirates in nearly two and a half years and in the entirety of the game, he was a peripheral figure in attack. His first telling contribution of the ball was a tame header that went straight to Mark Schwarzer in goal after Monreal had lofted a cross that was deflected off Cesar Azpilicueta.
Chelsea threatened through Kevin de Bruyne but his effort went straight to Lukasz Fabianski’s path. Ryan Bertrand skinned Jenkinson and crossed the ball to a Samuel Eto’o that was tightly marked by Laurent Koscielny but the Cameroonian forward still managed to get a back-heeled attempt on goal that skewed wide.
Aaron Ramsey found some space in midfield and chipped a delightful ball for Miyaichi, but the young Jap dinked the ball over Schwarzer and Gary Cahill was on hand to clear the ball to safety.
With close to half an hour gone, Chelsea launched a counter attack through Eto’o and when Michael Essien latched onto the ball, he was tackled by Tomas Rosicky and the ball sailed effortlessly into orbit. Jack WIlshere had his eyes on the ball but he left it for Jenkinson that decided to have a Nastastic moment as he made errant header to Fabianski but the ball was intercepted by a determined Azpilicueta and Chelsea was one to the good.
Azpilicueta almost changed from a Chelsea hero to zero when he misplaced the ball to Monreal’s path but the Spaniard’s shot missed the goal by a lick of paint. At the start of the second half, Willian fashioned a chance for Eto’o but his rasping drive went wide off the mark.
Shortly after a deflected Ramsey shot, Arsenal had a chance to level the contest when Koscielny intercepted the ball in midfield before feeding Cazorla. The Spanish magician fed Bendtner with a threaded ball but the Dane backed the goal and fed Ramsey instead of having a bite at the cherry. With Ramsey quickly smothered by a Blue wall, he attempted an impudent chip but it was too far off.
Ozil’s introduction into the game was meant to serve as a catalyst to change Arsenal’s game for the better but things got worse as Chelsea doubled their money through Juan Mata. A swift Bertrand throw-in was headed by Eto’o before Willian cushioned the ball for Mata. The Spaniard used his “weaker” right foot and smashed a piledriver past Fabianski.
Wenger decided that he had seen enough from Bendtner and summoned Olivier Giroud in his stead, Giroud almost made an instant impact when he latched on to Wilshere’s loose ball but he fired a shot from an acute angle that was blocked by Schwarzer. Chelsea almost rubbed salt on Arsenal’s wounds when Azpilicueta feed Essien who in turn teed up an onrushing Ramires. The Brazilian eaed past a lounging Vermaelen and lobbed Fabianski but Koscielny blocked the shot on the line.
Wilshere attempted a long range effort that sailed over the bar and there was a comic moment when David Luiz, Eto’o and Azpilicueta all suffered infectious muscle strains simultaneously. Late on, Wenger withdrew Ramsey for the forgotten figure, Park Chu-Young and after weak efforts from Santi Cazorla and Ramires, Phil Dowd decided that he had had enough.
Fabianski (6) didn’t show enough bravery to block the first and might had done a bit better for the second.
Jenkinson (3) put up his worst performance since that humiliating 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford. As if the problems in this world are not enough, Jenkinson commits a blunder that led to a goal, was torn apart defensively and his crosses in attack are downright erratic.
Monreal (7) tried to make things happen from the left and even had a shot that drifted wide.
Koscielny (8) made interception after interception and he was always alert to potential dangers.
Vermealen (6) didn’t really stamp his authority on the game as he would have liked.
Ramsey (7) was industrious in midfield, had a couple of shots and almost created a lovely assist for Miyaichi.
Wilshere (7) had a few neat touches all game long and acted as a fulcrum to instigate attacks from midfield.
Rosicky (7) was as sleek as grease. As always.
Ryo (6) was probably overawed by the opposition as he failed to make any impact all game long.
Cazorla (7) didn’t really influence the game as expected but he had a couple of shots that drifted away.
Bendtner (5) was a ghost in attack and offered no threat whatsoever in attack.
Ozil and Giroud (6) failed to influence the game when they were brought on.
After a long time out of the English game following stints with Inter and Real Madrid, Mourinho’s impeccable record against Wenger currently stands at zero losses, four draws and five wins.
With the Capital One Cup out of the way, Wenger would have to reevaluate his team and make some key decisions ahead of the Liverpool game this weekend. Bendtner’s lethargic performances has shown that a new striker would be needed in January and Jenkinson’s naivery was exposed yet again as he has proved that he has a lot to learn. Sagna should sign da ting already!
It’s sad to see how things panned out but the real business starts now with quickfire fixtures against Liverpool, Dortmund and Manchester United. It’s fair to say that Arsenal’s ambitions will be put to the test in these fixtures.
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