West Brom 1-1 Arsenal: 4 Things We Learned, The Hero & The Boo-Boy

By on September 26, 2013

Arsenal edged into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup with a penalty shoot-out victory over West Brom on Wednesday night. Here, Gunner333 gives us 4 things we learned from the game.

Lukasz-Fabianski-Arsenal

Arsenal’a search for a first trophy in nine years began in this year’s League Cup at the Hawthorns. The Gunners’ excellent form potentially tilted the game in their favour but West Brom were fresh from a three goal demolition of Sunderland.

There were some unfamiliar names in Arsenal’s squad which may be the reason why Wenger’s men struggled in the first period. Chances were limited for both sides and, on his first appearance in two years, Nicklas Bendtner failed to make an immediate impact.

The breakthrough finally came midway through the second half when young prodigy Thomas Eisfeld opened the scoring with a fine strike after previously ballooning a chance over the bar. It was the ex-Dortmund player’s first goal for the North London club.

Arsenal were then hit hard as West Brom youngster Berahino scored once again in the League Cup with a fine header – his fourth in the competition. The Pressure was on and Bendtner had the opportunity to win it but he failed to get his shot off and it went to penalties.

The ‘Young Guns’ bravely stepped up for Arsenal with only Gnabry missing for us as Nacho Monreal sent Arsenal through after Dawson and Amalfitano missed for the home side. Here is what I feel we can learn from the game:

1. Treat Every Game like a Cup Final

Although one of the youngsters found the target, it seemed a game where anything could happen and our inexperience could have cost us. We lacked that killer edge and were lucky to win the game in the end. I know we’ve got injuries and some big games coming up, but the League Cup is an excellent chance to end our trophy drought and we’ll need to pick a stronger team against Chelsea if we want to progress.

2. Not Aggressive Enough

A possible reason why we struggled at times last night is the lack of aggression in the final third. Bendtner was among the offenders as his attitude was not as focused as some might have hoped for. He didn’t cause West Brom’s back-line many problems throughout the game and while his lack of fitness can be used as an excuse, I feel he could still have given more to the cause with better movement up front.

3. Finish Off Games

I have been critical of this previously and still believe it is a real area to improve on. We frequently get in front but fail to kill teams off and go for the second goal, preferring to sit back and invite pressure. We need to get that ruthless streak back and when we get on top, really try to punish the opposition.

4. Strong Defence

Our back four last night was perhaps the only area full of experience and they defended very well throughout the game. Mertesacker was a rock and Vermaelen made a solid return to the first team fold. If we hold our own at the back in these sort of games, we will always have a chance of progressing even when playing poorly.

Hero – Lukas Fabianski

The Pole in goal had to deal with a large amount of pressure from West Brom’s forwards and despite conceding once, he played very well. If it were not for him defeat would have been certain. Repetition of this kind of form could potentially push Szczesny out of the first eleven, despite our current number one’s form.

Boo-Boy – Nicklas Bendtner 

It was a sorrowful return to forget for the big Dane. As mentioned, he struggled to capitalise all night even when youngster Bellerin set him up with a number of chances after coming on from the bench. If  the striker is to trouble Giroud, then he must respond to this poor performance.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below.

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10 Comments

  1. Robert

    September 26, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Someone didn’t watch the game with an intention of judging based on anything but bias.

    Bendtner hasn’t played a game of football in a very long time, it’s very very harsh to judge him the way you have.
    Forgotten he provided a perfectly weighted ball for the goal, held his nerve from the spot and as for wasted chances, he had 1 great chance and fluffed it, looked rusty. Bellerin gave him nothing!

  2. Gunner333

    September 26, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks for your comment. I’ll be willing to take any constructive criticism on board.

  3. OMGArsenal

    September 26, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    I don’t know what you expected but whatever it was, your criticism is totally unjustified. Considering that there were 9 new faces and that Bendtner had not kicked a ball for Arsenal in 2 years, he did pretty well with 1 goal and 1 assist. IF he had not been there, we would likely have lost!
    You are earning and meriting a reputation for biased negativism and a sort of per-conceived prejudice, despite the following:

    1)Half the team were kids, NOT experienced EPL players yet they held their nerve and beat an EPL team.
    2)They had NEVER played together as a team until last night…pretty good result for a team of strangers,
    3)With the EPL and CL games coming up, the CC takes a distant backstage and rightly so….Wenger is smarter than you are obviously and has HIS priorities straight as well.
    4)You are a moaner for silverware but the CC is viewed bu everyone who is objective, as principally an opportunity to provide youth and returning players a game or two before entering the CL or EPL fray.
    5)your points completely miss the essence of what happened last night. They played to win and won…their style if finesse and ball control…this they achieved…they had no recognized EPL strikers in their team but despite that they won it.
    You should write for LeGrove…they never have anything positive to say about the Arsenal….you’d be at home there.

    • BaggieBird

      September 26, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      Beat an EPL team? Do you mean reserves? WBA made 9 changes to their first team for this game.

      • Gordon

        September 26, 2013 at 11:35 pm

        and Arsenal has made 8 changes from our first team formation, does that make Arsenal not an EPL team? lol

        WBA is in EPL table, that alone means they are an EPL team, regardless of what players they put on is their choice

  4. Cheadle

    September 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Robert, My thoughts exactly. Why take the stick to Bendtner when clearly he won us the game. His job was to score but in the absence of clear cut chance he provided one to a team mate which got us the goal. Plus he buried his penalty considering his rustiness he should have missed it. Lets get behind the chap, He is an Arsenal player.

  5. Gunner333

    September 26, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks again and I apologise if any of my writing is viewed as being ‘biased’.

  6. Amine

    September 26, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    That chance of Bendtner from Bellerin’s through ball just revived a sad memory: it was a perfect copy of his chance in the game vs. Barca that we lost 3-1: He took so much time that he didn’t have the opportunity to shoot the ball. Some things never change 🙁

    • davi

      September 26, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      Are you talking about the chance he had from *Gnabry’s through pass?

  7. Elewure

    September 27, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Well, i belief that arsenal was a bit lucky to have won on penalties. It is a bit of lotteries any team could win. Kudos to all players. Bendtner sufered match rustiness he could do better but obviously arsenal deserves better strikers if the team must be a force that it was

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