Thursday, October 29, 2009

carling cup: Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool

I don't really care that much about the carling cup. I'm as success-starved as the next man, and would like to see Arsenal win it, but there's little chance of that happening. The quarter-finals will feature Man Utd's strong reserves, as well as chelsea, Villa, Spurs and city who will all still play close to full-strength sides. With Wenger's policy of blooding youngsters and giving reserves a run-out, it's hard to see an ultimate Arsenal triumph. Then again, we did get close in 2007, outplaying chelsea's first team in the final, so maybe I'm being pessimistic, we'll see.

Anyway, we all know it's a distant fourth priority, but that often leads to games like lastnight's and that's no bad thing. With the pressure off, there has often been a lot of freedom in Arsenal's play. Liverpool also rested key men, and they played their part. It would have been hard to tell, if you didn't already know, that this was a Benitez side, as the game was largely open. And it was illuminated further by three fine goals. In the first half, Merida and Insua exchanged left-footed screamers to leave the score level. Early in the second, Bendtner, who'd had a stinker to that point, fired in the winner after another flowing move.

The best of these had come earlier when the outstanding Aaron Ramsey started a move around our right back area and a succession of one-twos saw him advance to near Liverpool's area where he played in Merida with a pass that was, dare I say it, Fabregasesque.

I have to say, I hadn't been sure about the Welshman from what I'd seen last season, but there's been a huge improvement this campaign so far culminating in his best performance for the club lastnight (we'll forgive him a couple of sloppy, tired passes towards the end). Between this, and the return of Nasri, I am happy to say that Diaby's first team time SHOULD soon be up.

A word about Senderos aswell. He always looked capable of costing us the game and if Voronin wasn't so bumbling he could have punished us. I have no hatred for the Swiss as a man, he seems genuine and committed despite his difficult situation at the club, but at a team that play on the front foot as we always try to, he is a constant liability. You can see how the move to Everton would have benefitted him. They're less of an attacking side, he wouldn't have to push up to halfway and be at constant risk of getting turned and left for dead... It's a pity for Philly that it fell through, and maybe he can help us if called upon, but I'm praying that Gallas and Vermaelen stay fit somehow.

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