Arsenal 3-0 Ipswich: Into the final we go!

As Cesc Fabregas raced forward into the box, delightful cushioning Andrey Arshavin’s reverse pass before firing it between the legs of Ipswich’s goalkeeper and into the back of the net I was hit with a wonderful wave of satisfaction.

“We’re in the final!” I thought to myself. “The final!”

Ipswich put up an admirable fight over two legs, holding firm at the back for over two hours and clinging for dear life onto their one-goal advantage.

Bendtner's goal was a game-breaker

But the moment Nicklas Bendtner broke their resistance with a piece of individual quality the dam wall came came crashing down. Laurent Koscielny’s header two minutes later turned the score in our favour before Fabregas’ late goal capped off a wonderful night of football.

I say wonderful because, regardless of what value you place on the Carling Cup, this group of players have earned their chance to win their first trophy as a group and what’s more, to play in front of a sell-out crowd at Wembley. Our boys will enjoy the new experience of a first big final and us as supporters will enjoy a new experience of our own: supporting this generation of Arsenal players in that final. What’s not to be happy about?

There was understandable stress in the hour that preceded Bendtner’s goal but full credit has to go to the boys for keeping their nerve. Our almost full-strength side was fearless on Tuesday and showed remarkable patience and poise before getting the crucial opening goal. There was no panic, just constant movement and passing to wear Ipswich down and pave the way for Bendtner’s delightful strike.

There was a worrying moment in the first half when Wojciech Szczesny crashed into Bacary Sagna, forcing the Frenchman to go off with concussion, but the team recovered well and dominated the first half. Fabregas was once again the focal point, missing a couple of half-chances before Robin van Persie, a player I was surprised to see start the match, wasted the only guild-edge chance of the half when heading another perfect Bendtner cross onto the bar.

Half-time nerves at the pub and in the stadium were calmed by the news that Blackpool were two goals up against Manchester United, but they picked up again as Ipswich held firm for the opening fifteen minutes of the second half. But them came Bendtner’s masterful goal, controlling Jack Wilshere’s raking pass with a magic piece of control, cutting inside a la Cristiano Ronaldo and finding the net with a trademark finish.

As long as the game stayed goalless there was a nagging feeling that Ipswich might do the unthinkable and dump us out of the competition, but the minute we went 1-0 up I expected us to go onto to win. That feeling was confirmed when Koscielny out-jumped his marker and headed home before Martin Fulop could get his gloves on the ball. The Ipswich goalkeeper was criticised for his part in the goal but had he stayed on his line it would have flown in anyway, Koscielny arrowing his header into the corner of goal.

It was party time and we played out the final twenty minutes in style, rubbing salt into Ipswich wounds by satisfyingly sending Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri on before the end and scoring a third goal through the captain.

If anything could sum up my feelings towards this game it was Cesc’s passionate celebration for his goal. He didn’t care what game this was, what tournament this was, what people think of the Carling Cup: he just wants to win anything and everything so badly. For all his supposed faults as a leader this is exactly the attitude you want in your captain and it will be a great pleasure to see him lead the team, his team out onto Wembley in a month’s time.

“We’re in the final!” I keep thinking to myself. “The final!”

And doesn’t it feel good?


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  1. Nice post which sums up the warm-and-fuzzies” many of us are feeling. Thanks for that.

    Good observation regarding Cesc – he’s as passionate and classy an athlete as I’ve ever seen. Just two reasons of many reason that make Gooners everywhere proud that he wears our kit. What a player. Ever the gentlemen captain, he gave Birmingham much more then they deserve by his congratulatory tweet ahead of the final.

    Outside of our traditional rivals I don’t tend get too worked up over other teams, but McLeish’s side of thugs and bullies have no business at the top and I can’t wait to see them go back down. We need to be fearless and ruthless with them at Wembley and give them the pasting they’ll never forget before they disappear from the Premier League next season.

    As a B52 supporter, I couldn’t be happier to see him resuming his form. He will be a force for us next month, but the main positive for me off the back of this game is the clear confidence and patience we demonstrated. We did NOT despair after not converting some fine chances in the first half and came right back out and were patient and absolutely relentless. Very heartening to see after some the debacles we’ve witnessed in the last couple of years.

    You’re right AW – it DOES feel good.


  2. We are playing the CC final 1 day after the Away match with the Spuds.. 🙁
    2 must win matches in 2 days…damn our luck 🙁

  3. Nothing feels better than wiping yolk off ones face..

    Well done NB52! Sublime finish, great technique and a great result which summed up a brilliant day to be an Australian football fan 😉

  4. That last paragraph about Fabregas is spot on. That determination to win anything and everything, no matter what the value, that’s a determination that will lead the team. Thanks for a great write up Mr. Weber.

    And you have all said what has to be said about Nicklas Bendtner’s performance. So pleased he’s making such delightful progress. Hope he keeps it up.

    Also, has anyone read the comments made by Arshavin on Mr. Weber, I was wondering if I could please get your thoughts on that? Here’s the link if per-chance you may not have read it:


  5. Hmmm i wonder where is our friend GunnerBoss, surprise surprise no comments from him has yet. Anyways the match will be PP it is on under fixtures clearly written the game will be PP if arsenal reach the CC final.

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