The kids did us proud – Match report

What can I tell you about our League Cup game against West Brom? Not a lot, just a few comments based on the seven microseconds of coverage the BBC made available, the Radio 5 commentary and a few bits and bobs from the tinternet.

But I can tell you that:

1. We won;

2. The first half was crap;

3. With a squad shredded by injuries, the kids from the Academy Squad featured heavily; and

4. The Arsenal fans were in great voice.

Taken from the away end by chas

Taken from the away end by chas

OK, there are a few other things to say. The most important bit was how the game was won with the kids holding their nerve to prevail in a penalty shoot-out, against more experienced opponents and on their ground. The performance may not have been a slick classic, but winning in those circumstances could be the making of some of those youngsters.

Nicklas Bendtner made his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt in over two years. His reputation amongst fans has gone from bad to worse in that time, so it was sensible for a bit of humble pie to be eaten in the run-up to the game. And from what I saw, while he was certainly no world-beater last night, he was committed to the cause. His reaction when the winning penalty went in confirmed that. And he also made the goal we scored, when he received the ball from Gnabry, turned, paused while Eisfeld’s run opened up a chance and then played in the other young German with a perfect through ball. Well done to Eisfeld for slotting it home, but the goal was the creation of the big Dane.

He should have had one himself in extra time, when Gnabry played him through for what should have been a one-on-one but Bendtner took an age to compose himself for his shot, perhaps thinking the defenders were further back than they were. Unfortunately West Brom’s Dawson was able to catch Bendtner and dispossess him before he could get his shot away. The absence of preseason matches was there on display.

There will be plenty who will take a pop at Bendtner, and God knows he deserves it plenty of the time, but I thought he showed a real determination to contribute. It’s no minor thing that he took the first penalty in the shoot-out, that is taking responsibility.

Another serial under-achiever, Fabianski, had a pretty busy night and did well, making a number of good saves. He couldn’t stop Berahino equalizing ten minutes after we’d taken the lead, but that had more to do with our defenders leaving Berahino too much space when a recycled clearance from a corner was lobbed back into the box.

It was disappointing to hear relatively little being created by Arsenal in open play, though it did sound like things picked up significantly in the latter stages, in particular with the appearance of Olsson, Bellerin and Akpom from the substitutes’ bench. The 17-year old Akpom got especially positive reactions from the Radio 5 commentary team – I’ll definitely look out for that performance once I can see some proper coverage of the game.

A penalty shoot-out felt inevitable from a long way out, not that that alleviated the sense of dread about how the kids would do. That pessimism seemed well-founded, when Serge Gnabry missed our second penalty and the more experienced West Brom players (Reid, Rosenberg and Morrison) confidently despatched their first three spot-kicks. An early exit seemed very much on the cards, with West Brom on the verge of victory. Then Kris Olsson stepped up and scored (just about, the keeper was close), to make it 3-2. West Brom’s fourth penalty taker, Craig Dawson, bottled it, and put his kick well wide. The scores were level and the momentum was suddenly with us.

Next up: Chuba Akpom. The talented lad from Newham, who wasn’t even a year old when Arsène Wenger became Arsenal manager, held his nerve and put his kick away, the scores were level and we were in sudden death mode; the next miss would likely be terminal for that team’s continuation in the competition. And so it was: West Brom cracked again, when Morgan Amalfitano also blazed his kick wide, and now it was us about to kick for the win. We’ve seen plenty of failures in penalty shoot-outs down the years, but it was something of a relief to see an older head for the final kick: Nacho Monreal put his one away without undue fuss, and was rapidly bundled by some very enthusiastic young Arsenal players who’d sprinted form the centre circle.

Celebrations at wba

So there you go, our winning away record was extended to 11 competitive games in all competitions and our winning sequence is now eight games. We are into the next round, and once again we have a tough draw: we will play Chelsea at Ashburton Grove on 29 or 30 October, days before we begin a rapid sequence of games against Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United in the space of eight days. I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing to get tough draws in cup competitions, but we’re on a roll, with draws against Fenerbahce, Napoli, Dortmund, Marseille, West Brom and now Chelsea. Still, it’s better than facing Bradford and Blackburn…..

The Arsenal away contingent at the Hawthorns were fantastic last night, they were the loudest bunch in the house throughout. The Radio 5 bods were impressed at their old school refusal to sit down and the fact they had turned out in such numbers for a midweek League Cup game in another part of the country. Well done to Chas & Co, they remained in fine voice in what was, other than the shoot-out, largely a forgettable game and one in which our opponents were often on top.

There may be questions about what the presence in the squad of so many callow members of the Academy squad, and a couple of players most of us expected to have left by now. There may also be questions about first teamers like Mertesacker and Arteta being asked to play up to 120 minutes when we have an important and demanding run of two league games and a Champions’ League game coming up. This fear was made worse when Arteta was substituted, possibly as the result of an injury. Hopefully, that won’t turn out to be true. And fair play to the kids, they did us proud.

I’m afraid I can’t give ratings, I haven’t seen enough of the game yet to make those judgments. But it seems that Fabianski, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bendtner, Hayden, Jenkinson, Bellerin and Akpom all did well, and that Gnabry and Miyaichi had off-nights.

Written by 26may89

61 Responses to The kids did us proud – Match report

  1. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Well done, 26, for taking being “nobbled” into writing a report in such a Gentlemanly fashion. Tricky task.

    “the goal was the creation of the big Dane”. With hair like that, Great Dane would be more appropriate, along with an entry to Crufts 🙂

    To save face against Chelsea, Arsene is going to seriously up the number of 1st teamers, and that terrifies me with the fixture list.

    I think it’s a good idea to give ratings a miss on this occasion, so let’s give the Dix Points to Chas, Ant and their Away Mates.

  2. Rasp says:

    Thanks 26m, I watched the game on a dodgy stream and found it hard to even identify individual players.

    Shame Gnabry missed his pen, but he looks like a good player and may have to fill Theo’s boots for a while so good experience for him.

    As I said earlier, Bellerin impressed me with his powerful runs through midfield, I certainly think he is one for the future and Fab2 made some very good saves as well as showing his distribution is probably better than Sz – although I think Sz is the better keeper.

  3. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning to you all.

    I didn’t see the game but from the reports I have read I didn’t miss much. Until that is the penalty shoot out, the players must be congratulated for holding their nerve and focus after a gruelling 120 minutes to get all their penalties on target, something the Albion players were unable to do, a shame that Gnabry’s effort was saved, but kudos to him for the attempt.

    With a mixture of academy players and first teamers it’s not surprising that the performance was somewhat disjointed.

    The downside is that Arteta seems to have suffered an injury, was he brought back too soon? It looks as though Flamini is going to play in a lot more games than one would have thought.

    Chelsea at home in the next round but we have a lot more important games to come first.

  4. Morning all, a nerve wracking match succinctly summed up by my learned friend, 6 x 4 + 2.

    Norfolk – Arteta is fine, just cramp according to Wenger.

  5. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Thanks Chary and thanks Dennis

  6. kelsey says:

    Like most on here I didn’t get to see the whole of the game and what I did see was blurred.

    AW has a real dilemma now but with so many vital games coming up and players returning from injury one has to take each game one at a time..

    We really had a number of kids out there who hopefully will gain confidence from the win.
    I think to an extent we rode our luck,with Hayden lucky to not receive a red card and at 3-1 down in the shoot out there were two horrendous penalty misses by WBA.

    I reserve judgement on Bendtner who clearly is not match fit. A special word for fabianski who had one of his better games but again we conceded a bad goal if you look at it again.6 of our players against 1 of theirs.
    As i said earlier we have a 1st team and a 3rd team who have next to no big match experience so hopefully AW will see who has potential and who has not.
    A win is a win so roll on to Swansea.

  7. TT says:

    Great review 26. I think Arteta only had cramps, as was mentioned in one of the posts quoting Wenger yesterday. That would be a relief. The broadcast also showed him settling into his seat with the team after being substituted, so hopefully whatever bothered him wasn’t serious.

    By the way, others might enjoy watching this analysis as much as I did, although for me, Nevin’s accent was difficult to process 🙂

    p.s. hope you got the spreadsheet I sent? Just making sure. I realize you might be too busy to make use of it yet.

  8. TT says:

    “Hope you got…” was for Rasp.

  9. 26may1989 says:

    Morning friends.

    My fears about Arteta were apparently misplaced, Wenger said in the post match interview that it was just cramp. Though I never like seeing a pro get cramp, that seems like the sort of thing I should get, not what should affect a professional athlete.

    One thing that slightly perplexed me was Vermaelen not taking a penalty. Perhaps it means nothing, but in a holding-your-nerve contest, I would have thought he’d have been chosen.

  10. Bïg Räddy says:

    26. Great stuff, especially as you didn’t see the whole game (which IMO was a blessing).

    Being Dansk-biased I agree with your assessment of NB. I thought he worked very hard for the team but was let down by delivery from both flanks. It must have been frustrating to continually run into the box for a cross only to see the ball sail behind you or way over your head.

    I had high hopes for Myaichi but on last night’s evidence he is not AFC material. Wrong choices, not strong enough and not pacy enough, though he worked very hard and kept trying which is a major positive.

  11. Rasp says:

    Hi TT, got the spreadsheet thanks – just haven’t had time to act on it yet 😛

  12. Bïg Räddy says:

    Another awful refereeing decision which will could affect both the top and bottom of La Liga. There really has to be reviews when players so clearly cheat.

  13. GoonerB says:

    Excellent report 26May. I am impressed by the depth and length of your post for someone who saw very little of the game. Are you certain that you are not a politician?

    I think the big positive for me is how we managed to “grit” this game out, away from home, against decent opposition who were always more likely to go for it. There will be other games for flair performances but I will be happy with the new found strength and determination that seems to run through our squad from top to bottom now.

  14. chas says:

    Really excellent and accurate, 26.
    It just shows you don’t have to see a match to sum it up perfectly.

    Here’s that photo a little larger.

    We were in row H and the rows only started at D, so we couldn’t see much of anything at all at the other end. Many low down were watching the big screen when play was in the other half. Eisfeld’s goal and celebration were right in front of us though. Lovely.

    Watching this I can’t understand the commentator saying pens were being taken at the home end of the ground on safety advice. What?

  15. Anyone seen this report about slave labour in building the World Cup stadia in Qatar ?

    The decision to give it to Qatar is wrong on so many levels.

    The picture of those parents holding up pictures of their two sons who “died of heart attacks” while working in Doha made me want to cry.

    I hope Blatter is pleased with himself. He’s a disgrace, and a corrupt one at that.

  16. Evönne says:

    Thanks 26m, nice summary of last night’s duel. I seldom watch youth team games and are not familiar with some of the names. My stream was not too bad, but I had to rely on the commentary and it was very tricky for me to know if they were talking about our or the opposition player.

    But now I know and am looking forward to seeing more of Einsfeld, Bellerin and Akpom, they were really good. Bendtner might have tried hard, but failed to impress. He still looks overweight and tired. But the opening penalty shot was great, he showed his usual arrogance and took it well. Never stopped chewing the gum 🙂

    What now? Will Wenger play the same team against Chavs? He likes doing that, doesn’t he and I think he should

  17. Evönne says:

    Great Dane 🙂

  18. 26may1989 says:

    Thank you for the thank yous.

    GoonerB: Politician? Moi? Not really, just a bit gobby. 🙂

    And Raddy, that penalty award is a joke. I’m not one for conspiracy theories but the ref did look very keen to give the galacticos something.

  19. IanRealGunner says:

    Watched the game last night (Supersport Africa).

    Fabianski did fine but did go on runaround in extra time to present WBA with a gilt-edged chance which was cleared off the line. Defence was solid throughout. Arteta worked well until cramp.

    Bendtner looked unfit (because he is) but his touch was fine, Hayden looked composed (with the exception of the tackle on Mulumbu which could have earned him a red card (a bit out of control!)). Bellerin looked useful when he came on with a good couple of runs and Akpom also looked fine. Eisfeld was anonymous but took his goal really well (like an Arsenal version of Jermaine Defoe). Gnabry seemed tired and Ryo was woeful (3 rating at best).

    If you haven’t seen the game, watch highlights only (it was not memorable), but well done to the guys for spirit.

    Oh and I thought the referee (new and inexperienced so I cannot remember his name) did really well also!!!!

  20. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Peaches/Rasp, I’ve e mailed a post for Friday to arsenalnuts, should youneed one.

  21. TT says:

    I wouldn’t be so harsh on Bendtner. His fitness seemed okay given that was an extra time, two hour match. Had some poor touches, but his heart was in it, like 26may remarked above. I think with him, a willingness to work will bring out his quality. Coolly taken first penalty as well. Imagine how people might have torn into him if he had missed.

    Did anyone else noticed the captain’s prim tucked in shirt? Quite a throw back to the old days 😀 I thought he looked quite rusty actually. And he still drives me crazy with his up field forays. 😕 Not sure if he’ll be ready to replace Mertesacker this Saturday.

  22. Rasp says:

    Thanks NG, we do need one – so ta very kindly 🙂

  23. RockyLives says:

    Nice write-up 26

    I wasn’t too bothered about the result beforehand, but now we’ve won I’m really glad we’ve kept our away winning streak going.

    Good for morale and all that.

  24. crispen says:

    Hey what I noticed the most last night(i watched all 2hrs) was that NB has a much better touch than our main striker. Give him a few games I believe our front line issues may be sorted. And Akpom is superb.

  25. Evönne says:

    and all that = confidence, winning mentality + team spirit

    Know what you mean Rocky, I felt the same, but clearly the lads were ecstatic it was hard not to be pleased for them. The next round could be bad news for us

    Why has the FA cup much more prestige than the Capital One cup? Is it all about Europe?

  26. Evönne says:

    swing your hook troll

    crispen – NB better than OG? Interesting view

  27. ärnie says:

    Well done, NG. I was trying one, but it was a big struggle

  28. Evönne says:

    evonne – it is all about money. FA cup winners receive £2m whereas the Capital One cup only £100k.

  29. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evening all, nice write up 26 from limited information it appears to be accurate.

    I am all for using the academy in this competition and even the FA Cup (if the draws are friendlier).

    But what I like is that they refused to be beaten even if they were not playing blistering football, cracking attitude to have if we want to achieve things.

  30. Gööner In Exile says:

    Crisper have you watched OG this year?

  31. Bayonne Jean says:

    Interesting that TGSTEL was wearing shirt # 23, last worn by AA. Was that only kit available to fit an overweight forward line player?

    Also, based on his appearance, NB23 wants TGSTEL to stand for the greatest SAMURAI that ever lived. Not a chance, Nik… Here are two clips for the one and only greatest samurai….

    My favorite will always be the one with Richard Pryor as bellhop(“YO MAMMA-SAN ?!?!?!?”)

  32. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Evonne, I think it is a historical thing, the FA Cup is the oldest cup compettion in the world. The FA Challenge Cup competition was first held in the 1871/72 season. The league Cup, as it was originally known, only came along one hundred and eleven years later. Many of the top teams, Arsenal included, declined to enter at first and only did so when the winner was granted automatic entry to the UEFA Cup competion. The Glorious Gunners have won it twice.

  33. Norfolk Gooner says:

    You’re welcome Rasp.

    Always happy to help, Arnie

  34. LB says:

    Congrats 26, that is a really good match report.

  35. kelsey says:

    Club announces deal with Gatorade

    Arsenal Football Club has announced Gatorade as its Official Sports Drink and Sports Nutrition partner after agreeing to a three-year global partnership.

    The deal will see the Gunners’ first team, under-21 and under-18 teams use Gatorade before, during and after all training sessions and matches.

    Using Gatorade’s Prime, Perform and Recover products, Arsenal players will benefit from sports fuel developed alongside some of the world’s leading athletes and underpinned by Gatorade’s commitment to scientific research.

    In addition, Arsenal and Gatorade’s sports science teams will collaborate on developing specific nutrition plans for players to optimise performance when training and competing.

    The announcement comes as Arsenal competes in the Uefa Champions League for a 16th consecutive season and following a successful pre-season tour to Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan.

    The new partnership and opportunity to engage with Arsenal’s worldwide fan base will be central to furthering Gatorade’s global ambitions while increasing their involvement in elite football.

    Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s director of global partnerships and business strategy, said of the deal: “We are delighted to welcome Gatorade to our growing family of partners; a truly international brand and the leaders in their field.

    “As we further build our support in international territories, we know that we can help connect Gatorade with fans around the world. As a company they offer us products and knowledge honed by decades of research, and we are looking forward to working together with our own sports medicine experts to offer all of our players the best sports nutrition products and support.”

    Andrea Fairchild, Gatorade vice president, global and sports marketing, said: “Our partnership with Arsenal is not considered a sponsorship for Gatorade – it’s the beginning of a long relationship where we hope to help improve the performance of the most elite athletes in football.

    “We look forward to the opportunity to bring our unparalleled products and services to Arsenal while expanding awareness of our brand to Arsenal fans and aspiring athletes around the globe.”
    Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source

  36. kelsey says:

    ‘Bendtner is an Arsenal boy at heart’

    Arsène Wenger says Nicklas Bendtner still has Arsenal in his heart despite almost leaving the Club in the summer.

    The Denmark international spent the last two campaigns on loan – at Sunderland and then Juventus – but he is back in Wenger’s first-team squad after a late transfer window move was blocked by the manager.

    He wanted to leave because he had some turbulence in his career… It [the move] didn’t work and now he’s ready for a fight. He will get his chance

    Bendtner made his first Arsenal appearance in more than two years on Wednesday and emerged with credit after setting up a goal for Thomas Eisfeld then scoring in the penalty shoot-out that took the Gunners into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.

    Bendtner is approaching his eighth anniversary at the Club and Wenger believes that is significant.

    “He’s still an Arsenal boy,” the manager told Arsenal Player. “You don’t arrive at a club at the age of 15 like he did and have all these years here without having any feeling for the Club.

    “I think he has an honest feeling for the Club. He wanted to leave because he had some turbulence in his career. He wanted to play, you can understand that completely and I accepted it. It [the move] didn’t work and now he’s ready for a fight. He will get his chance.

    “I think he did very well, for a first game,” added Wenger. “You have to take your hat off to him because he has worked very hard. Physically, he is the guy who has worked the hardest of all because he came back in a very bad shape.

    “Credit to him, he put the effort in and he has shown last night that even [after playing] 120 minutes in his first game [back], he never had any cramp or muscle problem. He finished the game well.”
    Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source

  37. dhakka09 says:

    Nice match-report 26; the kids did us proud. I liked the performance by the Big/Giant Dane who did well considering he was playing with inexperienced youngsters. Chelsea will be a different kettle of fish requiring more 1st team members.

    Interesting to note how, for most of you, dodgy streams are an exception. For me, its just the norm. Living in an apartment shared with room-mates, I simply can’t force my love of the game to them for cable subscription. So, barring occasional high-profile CL games I manage to watch at Buffalo Wild Wings, ATDee.Net is a savior every week. Onwards and upwards to Swansea away this weekend. COYG 🙂

  38. Bïg Räddy says:

    D09. You love for AFC will bring rewards both in this life and the next.

    I have heard through very reliable sources that St. Peter is a Gooner

  39. Evönne says:

    Norfolk – yes, apparently it is about history. I didn’t know that the Capital One cup was founded just 53 years ago, as opposed to the FA cup more than 140 years ago! A friend of mine explained that when he was growing up there were only 2 cups in England – the League and the FA cup, so all the team were playing for either or them, not some newly invented Carling cup

  40. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evonne your friend is confused…..the League Cup is the Carling Cup (and now Capital One Cup).

    It garnered more interest as a result of the European ban for English clubs. Even pre the ban Europe was straight knockout so a team qualifying for European, UEFA or ECWC, would have had no guarantees of 6 matches in European competition. And therefore would not be quite as precious as they are now about it being an unnecessary fixture.

    Wengers comments on NikB are designed to keep the player on side and to help build a bridge between him and the fans.

    As for Gatorade I think we may be their first club in the UK where Lucozade is the prominent sports drink, for that reason I bet it cost Gatorade a pretty penny to convince Arsenal to switch.

  41. LB says:

    “Arsène knows how we feel, what our philosophy is, what we want to do and I feel like we are totally aligned. I think he wants to do it the exact same way as we do.” (Stan Kroenke)

    The myths created about Arsenal and its boardroom are falling like skittles.

  42. MickyDidIt89 says:

    So, the Norweigan Girl gets 500 facebook requests, and ticket offers.

    Mmmm, 499 requests from Chas, and Ant’s ticket for the Napoli game has strangely disappeared.

  43. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh God, it’s pathetic.

    I just found this on Facebook, and I believe we all know who the author is:

    “Friend request to the Norwegian Bird. Midlands based 23 yr old Gooner Stallion. Could pick you up at 6pm for the Napoli Game. Will bring the Aston. If still at garage, then meet No 43 Bus Stop. Will bring beer and crisps”

  44. chas says:

    The rohypnol is already in my rucksack.

  45. Gööner In Exile says:

    LB is that a recent quote? So he is not silent either?

  46. dandan says:

    chas t/y. What a bright. bubly,intelligent and articulate young lady that Norwegian girl is. she sounds fun, good luck to her.

  47. Gööner In Exile says:

    That’s a really good interview with Kroenke

  48. Bïg Räddy says:

    Morning All,

    Strange thing about penalty shoot outs. When we lose I detest them and think there must be a better solution to deciding a match but when we win – spectacular entertainment

  49. dandan says:

    A few “delusions” shattered by that interview with Stan, when does silent cease to be silent and where were the signs of boardroom fragility and all the other supposed elephants in the room?.
    Is a return among the fans to common sense and respect for the club and its employees to much to hope for?

  50. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Peaches, Two extra paras e mailed.

  51. Evönne says:

    GiE – all my friends are confused, that’s why I like them 🙂

  52. Morning all

    …………………New Post ……………….

  53. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Evonne, I’m confused, does that mean I’m one of your friends? 😀

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