Before I speak of a match that had all gooners on the edge of the seats for far too long, I will just say what a great night it was for my boys, tonight my youngster Reece was one of 12 lucky Junior Gunners to form the Guard of Honour as the teams came on, my eldest Luke is a ball boy all season, so all round, how jealous, but proud, am I?
Back to the match, Arsène stated in his programme, he will select his strongest team available for each match, although he started with a reasonably strong team, I always worry when Cesc and Denilson start together as I feel they don’t gel well……
Nasri and Walcott were on the bench alongside Song, but red hot Robin was on the pitch, so Wenger was certainly taking Ipswich seriously.
Arsenal started with a good tempo and had some early chances, RVP turning and hitting a shot wide. Cesc was bundled over and from where I was sitting, it looked a stone wall penalty, but the ref waved away the claims……It should have been a scrum down at least?
A scary moment occurred after about 15mins or so when Chez went up for a corner and went straight through Sagna, Eboue was soon into the fray as his replacement……Hope Sagman is ok……
Throughout the game Cesc took quite a bit of stick, I’d be surprised if he can walk in the morning……Talking of stick the Tractor boys were giving our fans a right bashing and clearly out sung us in the first half, milking their moment as we struggled to get the goal to get us into this tie, when will our fans learn…?
Bendtner soon floated a delightful cross over and RVP smashed a header against the bar with the keeper Fulop well beaten…….Would we score or would it be a night to forget?
Then a ball over the top, into the path of the on running Cesc, through the defence, slanting his body and hitting across the keeper, but agonizingly wide again…..
For me we were trying too hard and not holding our nerve, to get the pass right, as we tried to force the play, Ipswich stood firm and resolute, hoofing the ball away. We needed to expand our play, and try to create an opening, rather than thread it through a gap, tighter than Wengers wallet…
The boys were trying though and notably Little Jack was growing every minute and becoming more and more involved, perhaps because most of the Ipswich team were intent on marking Cesc, that was giving Jack a little too much room, which he exploited…….
Half time came, and then the 2nd half started the same, admittedly I was crying out for Nasri to come on and make a difference, but it was a sublime ball from little Jack on 60mins that got the break through, deep in his own half, he collected the ball, looked up and sprayed a ball right to forward left, as super Nik ran onto the ball cushioned it down, ran on and cut back inside the defender, before curling a lovely right footed shot into the far corner, cue eruption and fans singing……….
Moments later and Kosser headed in a beauty from a corner delivered from the left by Arshavin, 2-0 and the boys went wild, with all the subs part of a mass team hug……It was good to see a corner actually getting into the box, when was the last time that happened?
Ipswich started to wade through mud now, looking for a Tractor to pull them out as they noticeably tired….
The 3rd goal was started with a cracking intervention by Denilson, who stole in and took the ball off Edwards and played straight to Cesc, who run forward and played onto Arshavin, who ran at the defence, cut inside and just as you felt he would go for goal, he slipped it back outside to the in running Cesc as he came into the box who then slipped it through the keepers legs, game over………3-0.
Nasri and Walcott came on for Rockin Robin and Arshavin for the closing moments as Arsenal knocked the ball about and round a now down trodden Ipswich, who for 150mins had held the Arsenal at arms length………and kept the Arsenal fans too quiet for my liking………….
Szczesny: Little to do, but oozez confidence, which I think settles the defence at times. Error of judgement when he clattered Sagna, but he will learn as he goes…. 7
Sagna: Unfortunately, short outing……..gets a….7
Djourou: Much better display than at Portman Road, strong and tenacious, read the game well and pushed forward when he saw openings….7
Kosser: A very solid game, pushed forward well, got booked harshly..Great Goal…7.5
Clichy: I think his performances are getting better defensively week by week. Good going forward, only caught out once at the back that I noticed…..7
Denilson: Industrious and plugged away against the backdrop of moaning fans, admittedly I wouldnt have started with him, but he did ok and his interception set up the move for the 3rd crucial goal….7
Cesc: Kept the team pouring forward and closed down very quickly and worked very hard, not at his dazzling best and should probably scored in first half, but still instrumental and probably would have done more if kicked less.. Scored a great 3rd goal….7.5
Little Jack: Head and shoulders above everybody else on the pitch in my opinion, he grew as the game went on and ran the show in the 2nd half, his pass for the first goal was pure class.. It was going to be something special to get the break through. Only a goal was missing from his night….8.5***MoM
Bendtner: Another player who gets the moans and groans from most fans, but worked tirelessly and made things happen, won most of his duels in the air. His goal was sublime…….8
RvP: A continual handful, who tried to get the break through and his endeavour really pushes us on. Hit the woodwork in the first half and had another couple of chances…..7
Arshavin: Kept going and had two assists on the night, better, keep going little fella, we all love you really, just we know there is so much more in your locker……..7
Eboue: Solid and kept attacking, still throws himself around too much for me, but a great squad player for me….7
Nasri and Walcott had too little time to comment.
After 150mins, the Tractor choked , spluttered and the Gunners blew them away with 2 quick goals, a third near the end ensured no slip ups. Wembley here we come at last……..
Wengers young team, will now take on West Ham or Birmingham as they try to win some silverware after 5 long years, so in the competition that Wenger has bloodied his young boys in over the last few years, might just be the one that breaks the Hoodoo that hangs over us, lets pray, 27th Feb will be our day.
One final note, fair play to Ipswich, you did yourselves proud with your efforts….
Written by Harry