The greatest ever comeback? One of the best games I have personally seen, and probably the best game that the League Cup has ever seen. Even though it was a second string team that the Arsenal put out, they pulled it out the bag despite a slow start. It was the first ever game that Arsenal have conceded 5 goals, and still won. All of the fans watching must have been doing their nut in the first half an hour, after what was absolutely shambolic and diabolic defending. Disgraceful really to say the least. The attacking players barely got an opportunity to do anything, let alone get a shot on target. Djourou managed to find a player in blue/white every time he got the ball, even when it was harder than picking out someone in red. Koscielny amongst other errors turned it into his own net. Miguel let them down the left time after time, getting in cross after cross, where 2 of their 4 first half goals came from. And Jenkinson – best of the 4 defenders in this period – had his feet glued to the ground. If Theo hadn’t snatched back a stoppage time goal, which was very well taken, I would’ve been surprised if Wenger didn’t give them a Phil Brown-style, half-time bollocking out on the pitch. Jokes aside, it really was shameful, but also painful to watch.
Credit to the Arsenal fans who were there and kept singing despite the score. To the ones who left, what a mistake. You will regret that decision for the rest of your life. ‘O ye of little faith’ as the Sky Sports Commentator (can’t remember name) said about 50 times.
Anyway, we came out in the second half, although 4-1 down, and showed the spark that was missing in the previous 45 mins. Reading continued to press, and did muster up a few chances, and could have potentially scored a couple more. The stats showed them as dominant in every single sector. But when Giroud and Eisfield were introduced in place of the fairly poor and extremely average at best, Gnabry and Frimpong, the game was spun on its head. They both made an enormous impact, and within 2 minutes of coming off the bench, Giroud headed home a lovely flick from a well-placed Theo Walcott corner. The comeback was officially on.
However, the rush of goals expected wasn’t coming despite the chances. And the game ran on and time ticked down. After intense pressure on the Reading half, box, and goal, we won another corner in the 88th minute. From this corner, again by Theo Walcott, Laurent Koscielny managed to get his head on the ball and direct it on target. It hit the back of the net. 4-3. The stoppage time board went up. 4 minutes. The massive improbability of a comeback, had become much more of a possibility. 4 minutes is all we had to score one more, decisive goal. The clock ran down, and Reading took it slowly, even making a substitution. We weren’t fazed, and in the 95th minute, who else but Theo Walcott scored a goal inside the 6 yard box, that was by no means easy. It hadn’t appeared to have been given after being cleared away on the line, although it was over it. Nonetheless Jenkinson smashed it in to make sure. I believe the goal was given to Theo Walcott as the Ref and co didn’t have to say until after the game which one they gave it for (by which time they would have seen a replay). 4-4 and extra time would be needed to separate the two sides.
The momentum was with Arsenal, and it seemed unlikely there’d be any result other than an Arsenal victory now. It was the 102nd minute, and the ball was on the left flank. Chamakh produced a neat little back flick down the line, and a few passes later found it back at his feet on the edge of the area. He took the shot and it slid past the Reading keeper, for his first goal of the season, in his first start.
Surely we must have had it won now? But no. Reading came back into it to make it 5-5 when we once again forgot how to defend. A game without defenders is how it seems perhaps more so than great attackers. My confidence couldn’t be moved by this point. We had what was needed left in the tank to get the win. Arshavin crossed it across the six yard box, which I felt was the wrong decision when Theo was free. But it rolled out to him anyway and it was fate that he’d secure his hat-trick and get us the win.
Theo hoofed it long, and out of danger when we came under pressure in the dying seconds. Reading’s centre back misjudged the bounce, and Marouane Chamakh pounced, lobbing the keeper with a beautiful finish rounding off a great night in the end for the Gunners. Reading 5-7 Arsenal.
Theo Walcott had a blinder, and proved why we need to keep him and potentially put him back in the first team. Upfront. He scored 3, and assisted a further 3, against a Reading defence no worse than that of QPR or Norwich. I think not being in the first team this year has really woken him up and is bringing out the best in him. Perhaps Wenger knows exactly what he’s doing, and this has been some grand-scheme to bring out his best all along. Chamakh also displayed some of his talent and put in a good shift, with two goals to his name. Not bad for someone who gets slated at every opportunity by some fans. He’s been unfortunate. Giroud also didn’t do too bad, but personally I’m not so sure how Giroud is much better than Chamakh, if he even is. Equally Arshavin played quite well, and got 2 assists. When our players actually play, it shows that our squad isn’t too bad. But I think, unless Theo gets a chance and succeeds as a striker then we need someone in that department.
We move on, and travel to Bradford, who are in League 2, for the Quarter-Final which will be on the 11th December, 19:45, broadcasted on Sky Sports. The only concern in this game, and reason we could struggle, is because the pitch isn’t at the standard we like or are used to. But we shall see. First and foremost, Manchester United on Saturday, and think what another win could do for us. A third on the trot and what a place it would be to get it.