A new low for Arsenal fans tonight. A Cup defeat to a lower division side in nothing new in football. It’s what makes the Cup’s so enthralling. But the least fans demand is effort from their team. Unfortunately, we Gooners didn’t get that tonight.
A near full-strength Arsenal side put in a painfully gutless performance against a spirited and well-organised Bradford side who deservedly progressed to the Semi Final’s of the Capital One Cup after a 3-2 penalty shoot-out win. The game ended 1-1 in normal time after Bradford took the lead early in the first half and despite dominating possession it took until midway through the second half for us to have our first shot on target.
We finally got the equaliser in the 88th minute through Vermaelen but it was barely deserved. We controlled extra-time but created little and it went to a shoot-out. Cazorla set the tone by missing the first followed by Chamakh to leave us 2-0 down. Szczesny saved and Chamberlain scored to give us hope. The hosts made it 3-1 before Wilshere tucked his away for 3-2, and Szczesny kept us in it again with another stop. Vermaelen stepped up needing to score to send it to sudden death but hit the post and we were out.
Nothing more than we deserved. Gutless. Clueless. Toothless. A truly pathetic display. A real opportunity to end our trophy drought wasted. I have no idea how the boss is going to pick the team up from this but at least he’s got till Monday to do it. There is little point calling for Wenger to go, because he won’t quite and the board wont sack him, so we’ll just have to see how the season goes and pray he brings in at least 3 or 4 players in January.
Here are my ratings, and not for the first time this season, the attacking players are in for some low marks!
Szczesny – 6 - Could do little about the goal and made a few routine saves before doing his best in the shoot-out, saving two penalties. Let down by those in front of him.
Sagna – 5 – Was sucked in for the free kick leaving Thomson free at the far post to score. Got forward often but his crossing was largely poor, like many others.
Vermaelen – 4 – Captains contribution when he got the all-importnat equaliser 2 minutes from time. Unfortunately his night ended with him missing the vital last spot-kick. Was beaten on several occasions by the tricky Wells in the first half and gave away the free-kick that lead to their goal. Disappointing.
Mertesacker – 5 – Was beaten in the air all night by the powerful Hanson, but was one of the better performers in the team. Says it all.
Gibbs – 5 – Beaten in the air for the flick-on that lead to the goal. Went close with a rasping drive but like Sagna, crossing was poor when in advanced positions.
Coquelin – 6 – Probably Arsenal’s best player in the first half. Saw plenty of the ball and was trying to make things happen. Hit the post with a decent left footed effort but was subbed when players like Gervinho stayed on. Go figure!
Wilshere – 7.5 - The only outfield player who can walk away with any real credit. Was poor in the first half but dragged us from the mire on his own in the second period and was the only one who truly looked like he cared. Let down badly by his team.
Cazorla – 6.5 – Came alive when Rosicky came on. Lovely cross for Vermaelen’s goal. Went close with a few long-range efforts, including one that smashed the bar, but missed important first penalty.
Ramsey – 2 – Awful again. Passing was sloppy, pondered on the ball for to long, and shooting was poor. He’s not a winger and shouldn’t be played there but still doesn’t explain why his general game in so bad.
Podolski – 3 – Anonymous once again on the left side. Is it time Arsene admits Lukas isn’t working on the wing? Is completely wasted out there. He’s a decent finisher and with out lack of strikers, he should be playing through the middle more often.
Gervinho – 2 – Should be sold in January. No question. He simply doesn’t have the quality to play for Arsenal. General play was poor all night and missed an open goal from 2 yards out in the first half. Perhaps a generous mark but can’t bring myself to give an Arsenal player a 1.
Chamakh – 2 – Awful. Simply awful. But we knew he was awful before he came on, it just shows where we are as a squad that we had to rely on him. Couldn’t find a team-mate from 2 yards, and couldn’t find the net from 12 yards. MUST go in January and replaced by a proper striker.
Rosicky – 6.5 – Sparked life into the team when we needed it most. Linked well with Cazorla in particular. Why did he not take a spot kick over Chamakh??!!
Chamberlain – 4 - Slotted home his penalty nicely but his crossing was abysmal all night. So, so poor from the lad. Has to improve these parts of his game quickly, but at least he was getting into decent positions and trying to make things happen.
So the usual suspects were poor once again and the lack of quality in the final third is really hurting us this season. We were only really missing Giroud and Walcott in the front positions and we struggled to create clear-cut chances against a League 2 side. A January overhaul is badly needed, but will the club respond?
If you want to put yourself through it you can watch video highlights from the game here.
What were your ratings from the game? Leave your opinions below.