Football

Arsenal lucky to book last 16 berth

Next Story →
Arsenal celebrate shoot-out success. (©GettyImages)
Arsenal celebrate shoot-out success. (©GettyImages).

Arsene Wenger made nine changes to the starting line-up from the victory over Stoke City on Sunday, as Arsenal faced West Brom in the Capital One Cup last night.

The only two players who kept their place were Serge Gnabry - who continued to deputise for Theo Walcott - and Per Mertesacker, who played in quite an experienced back four which consisted of Carl Jenkison, the returning Thomas Vermaelen and Nacho Monreal.

The display was more than unsatisfactory, it was abysmal. Arsenal were very lucky to scrape through this tie as West Brom dominated possession for the most part and were unlucky to go behind to a well-crafted Arsenal goal - one of the very few moments of creativity from the visitors.

Gnabry found Nicklas Bendtner - the surprise inclusion of the night - who in turn played a perfectly weighted through-ball for Thomas Eisfeld. The young German's first touch was perfect and he placed his effort in the near post from eight yards out.

The lead only lasted nine minutes - Shane Long capitalised on some poor Arsenal defending, lifted the ball into the six yard box and Saido Berahino headed home past a helpless Lukasz Fabianski.

West Brom had chances to win it in 90 minutes and extra time but to no avail. Penalties loomed and it got off to a bad start for Arsenal.

Steven Reid converted his spot-kick for the Baggies while Gnabry saw his saved by West Brom keeper Luke Daniels.

The Gooners turned this around though, scoring all of their next four - Monreal sealed the win after failed attempts from Craig Dawson and Morgan Amalfitano. 

This is a victory that will only help to pave over the cracks and the lack of squad depth at the club.

When you consider the players that have left the club since last season - Gervinho, Andrei Arshavin, Sebastien Squillaci, Maraoune Chamakh, Johan Djourou and Francis Coquelin - these are players that have not been replaced.

This has been a problem for several seasons now, Arsene Wenger has even said that he has worries about the squad size. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't that be your job to change that Arsene? Not sure he can blame the 'fickle' fans for that one.

It is something that many fans have said for a while now. I am not taking anything away from the youngsters that played last night they didn't play as well as they can but one thing that can be taken away from last night was the fight that they showed - there were quite a few players aged 20 years or younger in the side and they showed some real character.

As a starting XI, Arsenal have one of the finest in the league, maybe in European football, but get a few injuries and it is a massive problem. It becomes a problem when you are looking at an opponents substitute bench and you are envious every time.

Even in the Stoke game I would have been envious that they had options. Out of the players Wenger brought in only Mesut Özil is likely to play at the weekend - he is the only one that is fit, other than Italian goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano.

One thing is for certain, Wenger will need to sign at least three players in January or have a completely clean bill of health at the club to bring some silverware this season.

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/130seMa

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Football
Arsenal
League Cup
Next Story →

Article Comments

Trending

Read more

Scroll for more articles below.