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"It was the winter holiday and I was back in Togo having a kickabout with friends when my phone rang.One of the boys answered it and said, 'Manu, it's Arsene for you'. 'Arsene who?' I said. 'Arsene Wenger', he said. 'Get out of it', I said, and grabbed the phone off him. But then I heard the voice. 'Allo'. F*****g hell. It is Arsene Wenger!"
-Emmanuel Adebayor

League Cup: BLA 2-3 ARS(aet)...MOTM: ALEX SONG!!!

Carling Cup
Blackburn Rovers 2-3 Arsenal (aet)
BLA: Santa Cruz (41 , 59)
ARS: Diaby (6) , Eduardo (29 , 105)
Ewood Park

An impressive display at Ewood park showed why the 2nd string team are not ready to be regular starters but can be called upon when needed to. With Theo Walcott not feeling well it was a chance for Wenger to show off another Englishman that is currently being groomed at the Arsenal Academy, Mark Randall. Randall started out on the right, sometimes changing places with Denilson who played in the middle throughout the match. Denilson's partner was none another than the impatient Diarra while Diaby played on the left. Fabianski started in goal and had Hoyte (RB), Song (CB), Senderos (CB) and Traore (LB) in front of him. Nicklas Bendtner started in his usual Adebayor type role and he was accompanied by Crozillian Eduardo.

The game started out with Arsenal doing the attacking. Blackburn's defence looked unusually weak, giving lots of space to Arsenal and we all know what happens when teams give us space. On 6 minutes, A good passage of play between Bendtner and Randall ended with a Bendtner cross which was put into the back into the net via Diaby's left foot, 1-0 Arsenal. I have often said that I like Bendtner better than Adebayor and today he has shown again why he is in more ways than one better. His cross for the goal was perfectly weighted, Adebayor has drifted to the right and crossed on occasions as well but rarely deliver crosses of any quality. This is not the first time Bendtner has done this, he also played an outstanding cross for Eduardo in the 3-1 loss to Sevilla in the Champion's League.

Arsenal continued to dominate the match and on 26 minutes Denilson if I remember correctly played Cesc-like ball behind the Blackburn defence, leaving Eduardo with the simplest of finishers. Some might say that it was a mistake from Samba and that goal could have been prevented by I believe Denilson's ball was hit with such perfection that you cant really blame Samba for not getting there in time. 2-0 to The Arsenal and it looked as if this was going to be a fun away day. The 4000+ travelling Arsenal fans sang the 'To Be A Gooner' Chant while Blackburn fans were obviously silent. But Blackburn were handed a lifeline late into the first half, ex-Arsenal boy Bentley played a ball behind the defence to Matt Derbyshire who was in an offside position but thanks to the linesman play was allowed to continue. Derbyshire played a first time ball low and into the 6 yard box where Roque Santa Cruz slid in for his 4 goal in 2 matches. At the end of the first half, Blackburn were filled with hope as despite being pretty much played off their own pitch they were still only 1 goal down at the break.

Mark Hughes obviously reminded them that as well and they game out for the 2nd half and looked a totally side. Almost instantaneously, Santa Cruz found himself one-on-one with Fabianski. Santa Cruz tried to get past Fabianski but Fabianski got a hand to the ball, leaving Santa to just get the ball from behind him and shoot into an empty net. Then comes, ALEX SONG to the rescue, speeding back and clearing the ball away before Santa Cruz could shoot. On 59 minutes, a Blackburn free kick found Santa Cruz's head and he would not be denied this time. 2-2 and Blackburn look the more likely team to score a third. Alex Song shouldn't have let Santa Cruz get in front of him for the goal but he would end up doing more than enough for us to forget this little mistake.

Arsenal slowed the speed of the game down and started passing the ball like they usually do and found their way back into the game. Nacer Barazite came on for Randall to give more attacking impetus into Arsenal's play. It was quite even going into the last few minutes with perhaps Blackburn being the slightly better side but Alex Song was incredible and it didn't look he was going to let Arsenal concede a third. A late challenge from Denilson on Richard Dunn which was fuelled by the annoying cunt Robbie Savage saw him get a straight red while Savage was booked. Leaving Arsenal one match short for the rest of the 90 minutes and maybe even 30 minutes of extra time.

Arsenal survived the last few minutes of the 90. Arsenal regrouped and looked more balanced in extra time as ALEX SONG was working overtime to fill the space left by Denilson, bombing up to join in attack every chance he could. Substitute Barazite was forced off with a shoulder injury after an awkward fall and he was replaced by another English talent, Kieran Gibbs. Arsenal made sure going down to 10 men didn't mean they were going to defend for the penalty shoot-out and just at the end of the first half of extra time, another ALEX SONG attack saw him play a through ball putting Eduardo through on goal. Although he still had lots to do, one thing Eduardo hasn't had a problem with since moving to England was his finishing and he made the finish look easy by calmly passing the ball past Brad Friedel. Arsenal holding on wanting to make it to another League Cup Semi-Finals but the extra 30 minutes was taking its toll and Eduardo was getting cramps and was replaced by Catalan and U17 World Cup star, Fran Merida. In the dying minutes, Morten Gamst Pedersen saw his free kick go just wide and Samba, now pushed into attack hit the post. Arsenal did just enough in the end and showed that Arsenal do have the squad to challenge for major honours this season.

Overall, not perfect but a good performance and win is a win no matter how you put it. This Arsenal side proved that the so called 'weakness' that the media is claiming, Arsenal have no depth in the squad is rubbish.

Discuss this and other Arsenal articles and topics at GoonersWorld forums!

posted by highbury1913 @ 12:50 pm | |

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