West Brom 1-1 Arsenal: 4 Things We Learned, The Hero & The Boo-Boy
Arsenal edged into the 4th round of the Capital One Cup with a penalty shoot-out win over West Brom. Here, Gunner333 gives us 4 things we learned from the game.
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.
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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