Last night saw Bolton put out of the Carling Cup by an Arsenal team containing a mixture of new young players with the added bonus of the experienced Arshavin, Benayoun and the return of the Verminator. Many supporters had come to see if Ox, Park and Young could live up to their hype and whether they were ready for the first team.
These were the players that started the game Fabianski in goal, a back four of Yennaris, Vermaelen, Squillacci and Miguel, a mid-field of Frimpong, Coquelin and Benayoun with a front three of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arshavin and J Y Park.
Surprisingly, Bolton played pretty much a first team and when they lined up it was difficult to know how the game would go.
Yennaris was really impressive at right back and Miguel – who I think is a great footballer – was played out of position at left-back and was very solid.
Bolton had the first shot on goal which Fabianski handled very well. Throughout the game his shot stopping couldn’t be faulted and he made some great saves but his distribution was appalling. Kicking up to Arshavin is never really going to work and he could have taken a bit of time to choose his man more carefully. Still, he kept us in the game on quite a few occasions and he’s good cover as a keeper.
Once Bolton had a shot our boys decided they would also like to join the party and there were some rasping shots from outside the box. The link-up play between Arshavin and Park was a pleasure to watch with Benayoun doing a lot of the running to keep control of the game.
Frimpong and Coquelin were not having the best game in mid-field. Coquelin seemed to pick up an injury early in the first half but played on with too many of his passes going astray. He’s a terrier so when he loses the ball he fights to get it back. Frimpong we know can be a bit rash in the challenge so maybe his game was affected by the famous ‘hand-brake’.
The first half ended 0-0 which was pretty fair.
The second half started badly as we looked like we were half asleep and soon went behind – Coquelin and Frimpong were exchanging passes deep in our half and Muamba stole in to nick it off Frimpongs foot and after a quick exchange with Tuncay slammed the ball into the roof of our net.
But, it was to be Arsenal’s night and within 10 minutes the tie was turned on its head. Arshavin was having a great time playing in the middle behind the striker and soon got his chance to put us level, collecting a pass from Ox and drilling his shot into the bottom corner.
Within 5 minutes Park received another great ball from Arshavin and unleashed a curler into the top corner 2-1. This is what Arsène had to say about Park
For me I am very pleased with his performance. He had a very, very good game. He has shown intelligence in his link play with others. The quality of his movement was exceptional and his finishing is absolutely fantastic. He has shown tonight that he is a very, very good player. He is ready to play in league games, yes.
Compared to the player who played in the first match [against Shrewsbury] where he was a bit inhibited, tonight I felt he played with freedom and has showed what a good player he is.
So, it looks like Park really is the real deal. I was at the Shrewsbury game and he did look terrified to receive the ball whereas last night he played a big part in the fluency of the team and he has a great connection with Arshavin.
Vermaelen was subbed with four minutes to go which was really strange but I’ve read that he had tight calves and wanted to come off. He is such a classy player, he could have been on his own in central defence and we’d have been just fine although Squilacci played well too.
This is the ninth year that we have got to the quarter finals of the Carling Cup, whether you think it’s important or not we seem to always have a good run. Maybe we should just forget that we got to the final last year and see it a chance to win some silverware. The draw for the next round should be interesting.
It’s been said before but we do seem to be marching on.
Some comments and player ratings from Harry
Morning all, sorry Rasp / Peaches just got into office and have a meeting at 10am, so havent time to write anything……
Shame because comments like Park isnt ready for the PL yet, are so far of the mark……….
I have read a couple of write ups and comments across the blogs, I am amazed of some of the comments………
So many positives out there last night……………….
I read somewhere that Benayoun was quite and had an ineffective game? what match was he watching……….?
The only player who had a poor game was Ox, he seemed to get annoyed with himself when he messed up a chance and he didnt regain his composure, his time will come…….
All others had good games, yes made some mistakes and misplaced passes which was our biggest weakness last night, but overall, everyone for me gets a 7 minimum except Ox probably a 6.
TV gets a 9, outstanding display………MotM, dynamic and powerful, name me a better defender in the premier league……?
Miquel and Yennaris both get solid 7.5………Take into account age and out of position for Miquel…….Squillaci gets a 7 for me, for all his criticism did ok………
Fabianski 7, did ok, some good saves, got down well and quick, one swerving shot was vicious and nearly caught him out. His weakness was his distribution which was scattergun effect…….gets a 7.
Frimpers and Coquelin, both get 7.5, hassled and worked hard throughout, soem great tackles, both were guilty of giving cheap possession away at times……..which is where their goal came from.
Arshavin 8 is an enigma, desperately lacking interest one minute to the sublime, stepped up when needed, gets a lucky 8 for me…..
Benayoun 8, was excellent throughout, gets a solid 8. always probing and driving forward.
Park 8 was excellent, his movement excellent and if the linesman knew the offside rule would have more chances. His touch was sublime and his goal, well if messi had scored it, the media would be creaming their pants…………
Subs didnt have time, but Ozakup looked as good as the reviews I have heard about him……..time will tell. Ryo is so fast and will definitely add a dimsension to our squad. Boateng was only on for minutes……
Overall, a good team performance by a mixture of youth and experience, held their own and rarely looked troubled…..Goal against was unfortuante, perhaps didnt quite get into gear from the whistle. But apart from that, the team defended ok. some great blocking and tackling,led by the imperious Vermaelen…..
Next up, Quarters, Palace at the Emirates would be nice with United playing City……….