To say it was never in doubt would be unfair on Ipswich, the Championship side put everything into last night's game and held out for a long period. However once the first goal had come, that was it, they collapsed under the tide of pressure, but it could have been very different had Bendtner not put his finishing boots on for the excellent opener, it was the catalyst. A lot of credit must go to Ipswich for their battling performance, they made this semi final a really tough contest.
This was not a vintage Arsenal performance in my opinion, it was decent and even in the first half we created chances that were missed, the best by Cesc and RVP. There wasn't enough width and pace to us, Bendtner didn't look at home on the right flank whilst Arshavin had a poor half, giving the ball away time and time again. Cesc and Jack did well in the midfield, providing the cut and thrust, but Denilson was again not offering enough defensively or offensively.
The second half saw our dominance pay off, Bendtner looking more dangerous down the left and so it proved, his excellent opener, that lovely bent finish into the bottom corner after a great touch and a good piece of movement, started things off. The second came soon after when Arshavin pressed an error for a corner, Koscielny's firm header with Fulop stranded made it two. Cesc then calmed our nerves with an excellent third, Arshavin doing very well to play him through with a delightfully weighted through ball, Cesc's nutmeg finish was neat.
It's fantastic to reach a final, even if it is the Carling cup, and we must now win it. The positives last night were the continued resurgence of Johan Djourou and his excellent partnership with Koscielny, the midfield partnership of Cesc and Jack, while Bendtner's finish can hopefully be a platform for him to build on, likewise Arshavin's assist work. The concerns remain Denilson's deeply average play and Arshavin's ability to find the form we know he is capable of. Anyway I'm not going to dwell on negatives when we have just made it through to a cup final, well done lads, a good result in the end.
Denilson is required to play a slightly different game from song by Arsene i.e. as opposed to breaking up opponents play and orchestrating attacks,Denilson breaks up attacks and provides short-passes-that-keep-the-game-ticking to the creative midfielders, this I felt he did well yesterday. His performance was good in that regard, he made crucial interceptions including the one that led to the third goal.
The form we are in now does reinvigorate hope that this squad has improved and might be able to win some silverware.
But it's still fragile because we have seen these players get a good result before only to become overconfident and reduce their effort. Effort that is required for every match.
I'm feeling more positive about things. Credit to Mr. Wenger and the players (though he's only doing the things the fans and pundits have been saying for years!). I do have one nagging concern though - not bringing in a defender or DM in January.
We've seen it in past seasons when we've been close to the top or on top, and needed reinforcements in the transfer window to solidify our squad for the run-in.
Mr. Wenger has sat on his hands and our squad, then reduced by injuries and fatigue, peter out before May as we fall behind those contesting for the title.
One more thing, been saying this for at least 3 seasons - Denilson is substandard. Surely a decent lad. But not Arsenal quality. There are at least 50 other midfielders in the Prem that can better do what he is employed to do and cheaper!
I know he has his apologists. But he is simply not good enough, and has never been. He drags our play down. Our victories, when he is in the team, are despite him not because of any positive contribution from him.
Denilson is not up to it, I disagree with your assessment.
He did make the odd interception, but the word 'odd' is salient, he is weak in the air, his headers were poorly directed, he is too slow and too easily beaten, his tackling is poor. Passing wise he is decent.
Overall he us just not good enough I'm afraid. I agree with Rhino, he has been too poor for too long now.
Not an awful player, but not good enough for us.
the game ended at 3-0 but in my opinion it could have easily been a draw at 1-1 or 0-0. Bendtner gets a lot of props from me for the first goal, but except from that I doubt he did much.
What worries me more than the result is Bacary Sagna.. hopefully he gets better soon
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Great Article, agreed with most of the things you said.
To add a couple words from myself: I believe the Carling Cup will spark the winning attitude in this generation of Wenger crops (did I make it sound weird?).
But players need this trophy. Cesc needs a reason to stay, Arshavin needs to boost his confidence and the rest need some sort of taste of "winning". Its been too many season of second places, too many runner ups. Remember Barcelona final? Henry left the year after.
Keep up with the great blogging, I really like your insights and the style of your writing.
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