The League Cup, usually that platform for us to see how well our youngsters are progressing, has come and gone. The journey has been short, shorter than it has ever been in over a dozen years. After making it into the last 8 for 10 consecutive years, we have now failed to make that stage in two consecutive years, getting worse from last year’s.
Still, considering the challenge ahead, it’s good riddance.
Still, it was a game of some significance. Not so much about the result but about how the result was obtained. The litmus test for so many wannabes, Wenger finally gave the chance to some of those who fans had been crying out for him to play and while there might be a case made for their performance due to rust in their boots, we know too well that you don’t get many chances to make a good first impression.
- Podolski: Poachmarked
When Wilshere put him through on goal just before the end of the first half, your Poldi of 2 years ago would have unleashed something so venomous to the far corner that Fraser Forster will opt out of ever playing at the Emirates in the future. Instead, he tried a sh-ot which epitomized the indifference that characterized his display in the 45 minutes of that game. He is easily the nicest guy in the group and his love for the club is very refreshing. However, another turn out like this before the winter window may just see him tweet his support from another ground, unless of course he puts in more work in training.
- Defenders: Dauntless
“If we lost the game, it was NOT because of Hayden”. Absolutely NOT. As much as they looked exposed and harried at times, all four defenders on the night were good enough for their money. Wenger’s choice of Coquelin over Flamini was perfect as the young frenchman held his own against the impressive Dusan Tadic. There were times when he made bursting forward runs but could not produce anything of it probably because the German ahead of him was crafting a post-match draft tweet in his head. Isaac Hayden and Calum Chambers may not be England’s future pair having being split apart on one or two occasions, being beat to long balls over the defence, but they were certainly not bullied by Southampton’s big Number 9. Hector Bellerin is ready.
- Rosicky: Rusty
You can’t quite pick out any game in which Rosicky played for Arsenal and did not put in 100%. Today, with the band round his arm, he was to lead the team and dictate the play in the way we know he’s all too capable of. But even legends have their moments of slips. There was not an awful lot in that contact as Mane showed later on in the game that he may be had some affinity for the Emirates pitch. The ‘Little Mozart’ was hardly on his best chords today, but no worries, we face Tottenham next.
- Szezcny: Safe
What judgment you make of Ospina’s effort (or non-effort) towards keeping out Nathaniel Clyne’s blooter will depend on what you made of David Luiz free-kick in the World Cup. That doesn’t detract from his impressive performance on the night, making crucial saves at important moments of the game. There may have been early nerves and why not? What we definitely know is that we have a good goalkeeper who can do the job when required in the future. However, till the FA Cup comes, Szcezny will continue to sleep with two eyes closed.
- Alexis: Awesome
Well, we knew that already, din ‘we?
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