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Bendy’s Trip to the Emirates for the Carling Cup
Hello everyone. It has been quite a while since I have posted on here. Been busy settling into my dorm here in London and of course busy heading up the The Emirates to check out the lads in person. I was among the 56,000 Gooners who made the trip to the stadium on Tuesday night. It was amazing, really.
For a modest price of only £10 I was able to get a seat 18 rows back, center pitch on the lower tier. As frustrating as prices can be for league and Champion’s League games, the way the club handles and prices the Carling Cup is nothing short of amazing. Having been to the Wigan game the Saturday before, I was unsure what to expect. The atmosphere that day was especially poor and flat. It took a long time for the crowd to get into it and, even then, the enthusiasm of those at The Emirates only seemed half-hearted.
Yet, when I walked through Gate 17 Tuesday night, it was a completely different experience. It was truly amazing how many fans showed up to watch the kids. And, even more suprising yet, was the gusto with which they brought with them. The atmosphere was amazing. Loud and full of songs, everyone excited to see youngsters given their chance to shine.
The first half was a bit of a frustrating experience for the fans and surely for the players. Great play from Wilshere, Traore and Ramsey seemed to produce little as Arsenal were unable to convert, even after the drama that ensued with Jack Wilshere and Thomas.
After the red card, Arsenal seemed to very clearly be able to take great control of the game yet half time all was equal after Sanchez Watt failed to convert a chance created by Wilshere that bounced off the most after a falling shot.
The second half was much more exciting as Arsenal really took control of the game through Ramsey and Wilshere and eventually substitute Carlos Vela. It was fantastic to see the reception and applause the young Mexican received when he stepped onto the pitch. Every time he touched the ball it was as if 56,000 people were on the edge of their seat expecting to see something magical unfold before their eyes. And in the end Carlos did not disappoint.
His introduction was the true changing point of the game and while Watt might have gotten the tap in for the first credit certainly but be given to Vela for the amazing play that led up to his shot and deflection. The second one came not too long after the first and again it was Vela who was in the thick of it. The surprisingly good Randall nearly chipped the keeper and the tenacity with which Vela fought to win the ball and hit the second was not underappreciated my The Emirates crowd.
After what was surely an exciting first half I left full of pleasure. It was great to see the young lads put in such a good performance and it is something that should certainly encourage all Arsenal fans. Yet despite the win there were certainly those who impressed and those who really seemed to fail to make much of an impression.
As Arsenal Station has already written, Wilshere and Vela were both outstanding. I can’t really say much there that hasn’t already been said. However I thought that Ramsey, especially in the second half, and Wojciech Szczesny were both outstanding.
Ramsey began to impose himself on the game more and more and showed what we all knew he was capable of by being right in the thick of the things leading up to the goals and for such a young keeper I was very impressed with how composed and pragmatic Szczesny was between the sticks.
His command of the area was amazing and he made some great saves in addition to having some solid distribution. He was looking to get the ball out early down the sides and it was nice to see a keeper who wanted to go straight from defense to offense rather than just set the ball up every single time to heave it upfield.
Traore and Gibbs were also rather impressive down the left. Gibbs showed a calm and cool head while Traore was particularly menacing all through out the game, getting into the box and creating a few chances in the first half. On the disappointments side I thought the two strikers, Sunu and Watt were really poor throughout.
Sunu just completely failed to impose himself on the match at all and Watt, aside from the goal, was pretty awful. I know it was his first team debut, and perhaps nerves got the best of him, but, if he really does want to fight for a place at Arsenal, he needs to develop much better balance and much better awareness. He gave the ball away way too often and way too cheaply most of the night and his inability to stay on his feet when he was in good positions was particularly frustrating.
Coquelin was another player I think I was expecting more from too. He was fantastic in the tackle but he was also guilty of cheaply giving the ball away in really poor areas two or three times. However,to his credit, he was constantly running and fought hard to win the ball back and make sensible tackles after he lost the ball
All in all the Carling Cup Emirates experience was amazing. I am hoping that the next round will also be at Arsenal and I will have yet another chance to watch these wonderful kids.