Christmas Competition – Prizes to be won!

Hi guys and gals,

There will be a big competition this year leading upto Christmas.

A different competition will be posted weekly on the forum and you will be awarded points. There will be a thread with the table so you can see where you stand.

Unlike other competitions on here, there will be more than one winner. The member who finishes 1st will receive the top prize. Then 2nd and 3rd will receive a prize. The members who finish 4th and 5th will receive a booby prize.

 

Prizes are as follows:

1st – £20 Gift voucher which can be used in most UK shops

 

2nd – Arsenal Toaster

 

3rd – The book, Arsenal: The Making of a Modern Superclub

 

4th and 5th – Your very own Arsenal Tea Bags

 

The competition is free to enter!

For more details visit the forum and go into the Christmas Competition board.

http://www.goonersworld.co.uk/forum

Advertisements

Wenger confirms Gibbs will replace Clichy

Arsene Wenger confirmed today that he will not be signing a replacement for Gael Clichy and that he sees Kieran Gibbs as a ready made replacement.

Gibbs

When asked why he let Clichy go, Wenger said that “Kieran Gibbs at some time has to get a chance to play” and that “Gael only had one year left on his contract”.

Wenger has a lot of faith in Gibbs, adding “I rate very much highly Gael, but I rate as well hightly Kieran Gibbs. He is at an age now where he has to play”. Whilst some fans do not share Wenger’s faith and would like to see a replacement for Clichy signed, I am willing to trust Wenger’s judgement.

The left back position is one for which Wenger has a history of unearthing gems. After inheriting Winterburn as part of Arsenal’s best ever back four, Wenger has brought through the likes of Silvinho, Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy. Hopefully Gibbs will step up and make the left back position at Arsenal his own. I’d then like to see him take Cashley’s place in the England team!

See Wenger’s interview here

Discuss Kieran Gibb’s progress here

Discuss Gael Clichy’s transfer here

Carl Jenkinson

Carl Jenkinson

Arsenal’s first signing of the summer is Carl Jenkinson. Keeping his promise to add height to the squad and shore up the defence, Wenger opted for Charlton’s Jenkinson who is predominantly a right back but can also play centre back.

The nineteen-year-old follows Walcott and Ramsey out of the Championship and into Arsenal’s squad and here’s hoping he has as much talent as those two. Jenkins qualifies to play for both England and Finland and has already represented Finland at under twenty-one level.

Rumours around the transfer suggest that Jenkinson might have been a second choice after Phil Jones turned down Arsenal and opted to join Manchester United. The fee is rumoured to be around one million pounds but as always with Arsenal has not been disclosed.

So how much playing time do you think he’ll get next season? Could he replace Eboue as cover for Sagna? Could he be used as a sub to come on and help us hold onto a lead (we conceded lots of late goals this season)? Does Wenger see him as a centre back and might he put him in ahead of Bartley (20) and Miquel (18) or even Squillaci?

Is Jenkinson the only defensive signing we’ll make this summer? If the rumours about him being a second choice to Phil Jones are true then that would suggest links to Cahill or Samba were unfounded.

Discuss all of the above on the Goonersworld forum by following the following link:

Arsenal sign Carl Jenkinson

Arsenal 3 Tottenham Hotspur 3

The title race hung on the balance in North London, with Arsenal eager to gain space away from Chelsea and closer on Manchester United, while Spurs looked to get another year in the Champions League by putting pressure on Manchester City. Previous form made this game on paper a tight contest, with Tottenham not having lost at home since August, and Arsenal having had the best away form in the League and not having lost for 15 games- but having drawn plenty. Their last match- Spurs having won 3-2 while 2-0 down at half time-also made this a tasty encounter before the first whistle had blown.

Newly crowned PFA Young Player of the Year Jack Wilshere was left on the bench leaving tree trunk Diaby in midfield, while for Spurs PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale was selected on the Spurs wing.

The game started off well enough, with Arsenal creating chances as usual, but Walcott drew first blood with a fantastic run putting him one on one with Gomes in which he dispatched, putting it 1-0 to the Arsenal, to what promised to be a not only exciting, but high scoring game.

The lead only lasted for 82 seconds though, with Spurs playmaker Van Der Vaart with his weaker foot beating Szczesny at his near post to put things all level again. Arsenal, however were undeterred by this setback, and continued to bombard Spurs with good ol’ passing round the box and the odd high cross that gets headed out again.

A few minutes later, Nasri picked up the ball just outside the box, took aim briefly and fired towards Gomes, with the ball going in (again) to make it 2-1 with only 12 minutes gone, with the ball flying straight through Dawson’s legs.

Chances galore came during the middle of the first half, as Spurs looked for a way back, and as Arsenal looked to gain more on their lead. One decent chance came on the half hour when Walcott shrugged off two Spurs defenders and hoofed a shot that just sprayed wide to the right of Gomes. Meanwhile Szczesny was having the game of his life, taking out Bale and making save after save to deny the efforts of Tottenham.

Just when the match looked to settle down, Sagna whipped in a low cross towards Van Persie. He smashed his header at Gomes, only for him to parry it upwards, and for Robin to blast it to the roof of the net, making it 3-1 to Arsenal.
But once again Spurs had their say, and off a clearance by Arsenal Huddlestone effortlessly drove his shot towards the goal that had Arsenal and Szczesny bamboozled, to make it 3-2 at half time.

This half was a neutral’s dream and a supporter’s nightmare, as both teams looked as if they could win it, regardless of past home or away form. Meanwhile in other fixtures Chelsea were taking a 2-0 lead to Birmingham at their break, and if Arsenal lost or drew Chelsea would take 2nd spot on the ladder- unthinkable a few weeks ago, but with Arsenal’s persistent draws against teams such as Blackburn and Sunderland it was now fairly possible.

A few minutes into the second half a poor Diaby with a very weak first touch was replaced with Wilshere, as Arsenal looked to open up the game. It didn’t happen. Instead, Spurs took the offensive through Van Der Vaart out-doing Arsenal with creating chances, and as usual we let one leak.

Aaron Lennon was sent clear on the left hand side, and as Szczesny had done twice before in this game he had come out to successfully claim the ball- but this time it wasn’t to be. His hand clipped Lennon (who had gotten to the ball microseconds ahead of him) and the referee pointed to the spot.

Van Der Vaart took the penalty, and converted it coolly as he had done previously against Arsenal back in October, to tie the game up again.

One minute later Spurs again looked the goods as Modric attempted to sweep the ball into the goal, but Szczesny’s left shin saved the day by blocking the ball. He proceed to make more saves from a Spurs side that looked determined to derail Arsenal’s title chances, and did so against Van Der Vaart and from substitute Sandro.

Meanwhile Arsenal looked more and more desperate, with wave after wave coming from Spurs attack, but Van Persie could not be found, and once again passing round the box with the occasional cross failed, even though it resulted in the odd shot from our attackers. Even Koscielny looked to be playing for Spurs as his header nearly caused an own goal.
And so another draw, as Chelsea move into 2nd place making Arsenal title chances fairly non-existent. Funny to think that since the loss against Birmingham in the Carling Cup we had only won once and drawn the rest in the league. Results like that (and here) really do make us think if we really deserve the title anyway.

North London Derby

Manchester United dropping points at Newcastle last night has made this one of the most important NLD’s in a long time. A win will see our title challenge back on, anything else would pretty much write our title challenge off. I really don’t want to have to listen to another chorus of “we f…ed your season up” and this really is an opportunity to put to bed any suggestion that Spuds are gaining on us in terms of their position in English and European football.

A season of champions league football and Gareth Bale recently winning, although not necessarily deserving, the PFA player of the year award has seen the Spuds appear to be getting a bit big for their boots. It would be really good to give them a hammering tonight!

Nik

I only hope that the players realise the importance and signinificance of the game. Theo and Nik seem to be saying all the right things in interviews (see links), but we have been saying the right things all season. Now is the time to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk! Now is the time to show that we are still a force in English football!

Since the draw with Liverpool there has been a lot of negativity surrounding the club. Untimely comments from Vieira about our lack of a winning mentality and Fabregas’ about the need to win rather than developing talent have added to that negativity. I invite anyone reading this to try to counteract the negativity by logging onto the goonersworld forum and posting one thing they like about the current squad.

Vieira

Back to tonight’s game, it is good to have Szczesny and Djourou back in the team, on Sunday we looked good at the back. Assuming Sagna and Song are both fit I have no concerns. Even with Spurs having the lamp post that is Peter Crouch back doesn’t concern me now that we have Djourou to deal with his sort!

Djourou

My only concern is recent comments from Wenger about having to manage the workload of Jack Wilshere. I hope this isn’t an excuse to see Diaby keep his place and for Jack to be rested and replaced by Song. Diaby played well on Sunday, but still hasn’t shown anywhere near the consistency or talent that Jack has.

Wenger keeps talking of mental strength, well now is the time to show that! I want to see us come out fighting. Tackles flying in, attacking from the start, playing more direct, getting balls in the box, showing the aggression and passion that were always a trademark of Arsenal Football Club and the North London Derby!

COME ON!!!

Tony Adams


Click here for the latest chat in the build up before, discussion during (unless you are lucky enough to have a ticket) and reflection after the game!

Some quotes on KSE’s takeover of Arsenal Football Club

Kroenke and Hill-Wood

The following e-mail which most of you will have seen was sent to members this morning:

“I wanted you to know that that an offer has been made by KSE, UK, INC. (“KSE”), a company wholly owned by Mr Kroenke, to buy Arsenal Holdings PLC. The Independent Directors of Arsenal are recommending that shareholders accept the Offer.

KSE is proposing to continue to run the club along the existing self-sustaining business model and has invited the Board to remain in place. This includes myself as Chairman. Mr Kroenke is also fully supportive of Arsène Wenger whom he has stated is a wonderful manager

Full details of the offer announcement can be found by clicking here. Please understand this is a formal legal document so is complex. We will update you as we can in line with Takeover Rules.

Yours Sincerely,

Peter Hill-Wood
Chairman”

I won’t copy and paste from the information in the link to Arsenal.com because there is a disclaimer to click on but you can go there and get the information yourself. Any other websites, blogs etc. are unlikely to do anything other than regurgitate what is in that article (or in the case of the metro completely twist Kroenke’s words and somehow get the headline ‘Stan Kroenke’s Arsenal takeover to give Arsene Wenger £60m warchest’). For this blog I wanted to just deal with facts so below are some quotes on the takeover. Firstly there are some quotes from those involved in the take over and then there are some quotes from fans on the Goonersworld forum.


BBC Sport

“We are excited about the opportunity to increase our involvement with and commitment to Arsenal. Arsenal are a fantastic club with a special history and tradition and a wonderful manager in Arsene Wenger. We intend to build on this rich heritage and take the club to new success. I am delighted that Peter Hill-Wood has agreed to support us by continuing as chairman. We especially wish to acknowledge and thank the board, Danny Fiszman and the Fiszman family as well as Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith and her family for the confidence they have had in me over the past years and in allowing us to move forward in this more prominent role.” Stan Kroenke

“I have worked with Stan Kroenke at board meetings over the past couple of years and I believe he has the best interests of Arsenal at heart. He understands the club’s heritage and traditions and our ambition to run the club in a way which protects our long-term future.” Arsene Wenger

“KSE is proposing to continue to run the club along the existing self-sustaining business model and has invited the Board to remain in place. This includes myself as Chairman. Mr Kroenke is also fully supportive of Arsène Wenger whom he has stated is a wonderful manager.” Peter Hill-Wood

ESPN Sport

“AST thinks it is really important that supporters remain involved in Arsenal’s ownership structure. Stan Kroenke has a good relationship with the AST and recently supported our fanshare scheme. We are hopeful of having discussions with him to discuss how our members and Arsenal supporters can keep their shares in Arsenal Football Club.” Arsenal Supporters Trust


Telegraph Sport

“This marks the end of an era for our family’s association with Arsenal Cf and we are proud to have had such a long history with one of the world’s greatest clubs. I am confident of Arsenal’s continued success both on and off the pitch and believe that Stan Kroenke will continue to develop the club in a manner true to its heritage for the players and the fans. We wish the club, the directors and the supporters every success in the future. At the end of the day, our family will always be gooners.” Lady Bracewell-Smith


This is London

“We have no comment to make. We are considering our position in light of this news.” Red and White Holdings (Usmanov’s company)

Goonersworld Logo

The following selection of quotes come from the Goonersworld thread for discussing the takeover. There are more comments in the thread as well as some excellent links to more information and other blogs about Kroenke, Usmanov, the takeover and rumours about David Dein possibly returning – the thread and links are really worth reading.


Goonersworld Forum – Thread to discuss the takeover

“This is a good thing imo. We’ve been courting him for ages now so the current board know him inside out and trust him.” Hypogooner

“For me the main factor is he already owns 3 other sports teams so i am not sure as to whether i am all for his take over.” Bristol Gooner

“we’ve seen what happened to Liverpool and what is currently happening to United” Thereisbearcum

“I like how 2 examples turns into ‘most Americans’… Conveniently ignoring the new Liverpool owners and Learner at Villa. And debt, if used responsibly is not a bad thing. If you can use the money from the loan to grow the business at a higher rate than you interest rate, then it is a very good thing. It allows you to leverage your growth and grow faster than you would without it. I honestly feel that this is going to be a good move for the on field product. And many will look back and realize their fears were unfounded.” Leody

“Better than Usmanov in fairness” Shamrock11

“Don’t see the need for big changes at board level! Really don’t for all i care he can pay off the rest for the stadium and well, just do nothing” elkanofan

“These American bringing debt to clubs is very generalising and degrading and it needs to stop, especially when you see the types of people who bought those clubs. I think you really need to do your homework on Usmanov and his past and Kroenke and his. You do also realise that Chelsea OWE Abramovic nearly £700m, or did you not know that? He gave his own club and business a loan, yes, lets do that.” GunnGunn

“I don’t want any single man in charge but to be honest I’d take Kroenke over Usmanov. Kroenke has a history of owning sports teams at least. He owns an MLS team and therefore obviously knows he is not going to make billions, plus does anyone really believe he hasn’t done his homework? or hasn’t paid attention to whats gone on at the mancs and scousers?” Fabrestuta

“If he has a longterm interest and the deal is done without involving debt, i’d be alot more comfortable with any take over. Regardless, its been shaping up for a while now and i cant really see any other money than foreign money coming in for us, so Kroenke might be the best of a bad bunch. If he buys in cash, clears our outstanding debt and provides a transfer kitty? Hmmm, i could just be swept off my feet. Doubt that will happen though.” Zedie

“You guys really think Silent Stan will spend around £900m of his own cash to buy us out and clear the remaining debt? As pointed out already he’s not worth much more than that. No chance it will happen without leverage debt. And you forget he’ll take out as much as he likes per annum to pay himself back – as much or more than our current repayments. Yeah, wooo. I hope the fat Uzbek sits on his shares.” Cynical Gooner

“It wont cost £900 million to buy the club out, he owns 30% already and is spending £224 million CASH to buy another 32%, as he is over 50% he now has CONTROL of the club, Usmanov wont sell up, but if he did and Kroenke took full control, it would only cost him another £260 million to do so. All the major media BBC, Telegraph, Times etc are all saying its a CASH purchase.

The club is worth about £700 million in share value, of which Kroenke owns 62% paid in CASH, leaving about £266 million worth of shares available, of which Usmanov owns about £189 millions worth.

The remaining £200 million from the £900 million, is the clubs debts, by law you have to clear the debts prior to a full 100% takeover, but as you said, Usmanov will sit on his shares so that wont happen.

I dont see how Kroenke will be leveraging any debt on the club, also Kroenke is worth £2 billion and his wife is worth £2 billion, I am sure a few hundred million cash is well within his reach

Apparently, the reason for the sale is that Fiszmans health has deteriorated and he wanted a quick sale of his shares, so the money goes to a fund as his family do not want to inherit the shareholding.” Goose

“Kroenke = no change in how we operate (but is that more Wenger than board anyway?) So anyone unhappy with how Arsenal is ran now will not be in favor of this. Kroenke fields perpetually competitive teams – he knows that is what it takes to be successful as a club. He likes to win championships as well, but will not chase them with excessive spending. Sounds like Arsenal to me, and he doesn’t even have ownership yet.” Golfinguy

Keeping with the self sustaining model 😦 Not bought using debt 🙂 Plymouth Gooner

“I’m no expert but it looks to me like this whole exercise was arranged just to keep Usmanov out.
It seems like it was never about clearing debt or anything else.” Inchpractice

“Sad times, of the top teams we were the last remaining club that was English owned, PRIDE has been hurt.” She-Gunner-Wales

“Its good to hear that he wont be landing debt on Arsenal, but I would like to know how he will be funding his purchase? Is it a straight cash purchase e.t.c.” Proud Gooner

“So unless Stan is taking the Limitless pill… he’s basically gonna change f all and it’ll be same again especially with Dead-Wood still in charge.” IMF

Some comments on Jens Lehmann’s return

Lehmann and Almunia

With Jens Lehmann returning to the club I thought I’d post a few comments that I have seen online.

“Lehmann is like a guy who has not been in goal for a long time but who has kept his body fit. He has the basic physical fitness, he needs little bit of decision-making practice in goal.” Arsene Wenger

“It’s good to have him around as well. He’s a very experienced guy and has massive leadership skills in the dressing-room.” Wojciech Szczesny

“There is respect between us. We have keepers out injured. Jens was one of the best keepers in the world and has returned to give his best.” Manuel Almunia

“Lehmann’s experience is invaluable” Jack Wilshere

“We can see how difficult it is for many to find a fulfilling, meaningful job after leaving professional sports. From a sporting perspective, he can certainly help out for some games. The whole situation is further evidence of the goalkeeper malaise in England.” Oliver Kahn

The following comments come from the Goonersworld forum:

AW to loan a keeper

“Lehmann would be the mad kind of leader we could do with. He could p**s round his goal area, that will stop the opposing strikers” djaxter

“the hole he left in stuttgarts defence has really hurt them they were second from bottom last week, so might not be as crazy as it sounds” Liam Cork


Almuniaaaarrgghhh!!!

“Lehmann was a World Class GK, with a World Class mentality who performed at a World Class level after he left us. He is better than Almunia now and he will be better than Almunia in 5 years time. He has an Iron mind, he won’t be phased playing for us, you think he cares what we think? He has a pair of f***ing balls.” GunnGunn

“Please play Jens in the next game, he certainly won’t do much wrong than this muppet [Almunia] and would organize our defense better.” Jay22

“Jens was treated like crap when he was let go. I never ever had any faith in Avi Al. The most overrated keeper we ever had with his stupid “saves for the camera” bulls**t, inability to parry a shot away from oncoming attackers and his fear of the near post.” IMF

Jens Lehmann

“Please lets just have a few boring dependable Jens displays, not any suicidal oppo killing phsycotic moments.” UFGN

“I can’t believe some people want a 41 year old whos been out of the game for a year to come in as first choice. I can understand back up if you are really desperate but any thing else is pointless.” Yorky Blue

“i bet almunia will get a mysterious injury now” Dejan


Phantom injury due to strike again:

“If he can perform to his abilities prior to retirement then it’s all good!
I hope his reflexes are as good as ever. You just know his mentality will be.” gzagee

“Even if Jens isn’t a tenth of his former self, the fact is he’ll still be a hell of a lot better than Almunia.” Est83

“If he stays on his goal line and doesnt rush out into midfield, then run past the attacking striker and the ball, whilst pushing our CB over, he will be better than Almunia” Goose

If you are not already a member of the Goonersworld forum, please sign up and have your say on the signing of Lehmann and anything else Arsenal related!!!

Wenger not worried about Squillaci

Arsene Wenger has reiterated his belief that French Centre Back Sebastien Squillaci can shoulder the responsibility of the title run-in now that Johan Djourou has been sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Squillaci, a summer signing from Spanish side Sevilla, has found it difficult, like any new player, to find his feet, but Wenger is not concerned.

“I think he had a good start to the season, after that he had a little dip in December,” said Wenger.

“But the recent games he played, like Stoke, he did well, so I do not especially worry about that.”

Squillaci has enjoyed a mixed spell in his first season so far, starting very well in the opening months of the season in the absence of Thomas Vermaelen, but lately he has found it difficult to forge a partnership with fellow Centre Back Laurent Koscielny.

Here’s hoping the French International can really help Arsenal to the Premier League title.

Barca 3(4) – 1(3) Arsenal

RVP sent off

The match began with Arsenal ‘getting stuck in’ and whilst Barca had a lot of possession we seemed to mean business. Clichy, Nasri and Diaby all gave away free kicks before Koscielny was booked on 15 minutes. Whilst Barca continued to dominate as expected, I always felt that if we could keep it to 0-0 at half time then we had a very good chance of going through. On 18 minutes Szczesny injured his finger whilst making an important save and this was the first sign that things might not go our way. The sign of Almunia coming on didn’t fill me with confidence.

Arsenal continued to play hard and it was nice to see a battling performance. Van Persie seemed fired up and was lucky not to be booked earlier in the first half, team mates Sagna and Wilshere weren’t so lucky and their names went in the book on 28 and 35 minutes respectively. At this point I still had belief that we could go on to get through the tie, we were winning the physical battle and it reminded me of Premiership games where we dominated but couldn’t capitalise on the domination, except this time it was Barca who were being frustrated.

Van Persie’s aggressive approach earned him the inevitable card on 45 minutes but I still saw this as a sign of our passionate and hard working approach. We had almost made it to half time without conceding, the 5 minutes of injury time needed mainly due to Szczesny’s injury wasn’t welcome but was correct. Unfortunately 2 minutes into the injury time Messi scored. Barca were rewarded for their possession and things weren’t looking so rosy.

I watched the second half without much expectation, if I am totally honest, I expected Barca to go on and win comfortably. So when 7 minutes into the second half Busquets headed into his own goal I was pleasantly surprised. Suddenly my hopes were up again. We had the vital away goal and Barca looked shocked. The momentum was now going our way, 3 minutes after the goal Van Persie went through on goal and took his shot only to be flagged offside. The ref deemed the shot to be kicking the ball away, Van Persie was sent off and the momentum was lost. Van Persie had been riding his luck earlier in the game with spats with Alves in particular, perhaps he could already have been sent off for some of his challenges, but there is no way that his second yellow should have been a booking. Another sign that things weren’t going our way.

Barca then dominated the rest of the game, we defended well but on 68 and 70 minutes the inevitable second and third Barca goals came. Fabregas’ back heel on the edge of the area and Koscielny’s foul to give away a penalty were costly mistakes. Just two minutes later we conceded again and it was game over. Wenger made his remaining two substitutions bringing on Arshavin and Bendtner on 73 and 76 minutes respectively but by then the tie was already Barca’s. Arsenal were out of the Champions League.

Discuss the match here:


Barca vs Arsenal match thread


It was not a heroic failure so time to move on

Is Arsene Wenger’s football philosophy flawed?


Szczesny has a dislocated finger

Arsenal 1-2 Birmingham City

Arsenal’s first final in four years resulted in a heart-breaking loss for the men in red and white.

We entered the match with high hopes, knowing that we had a golden chance to end our six year trophy drought. Following our convinving 3-0 win at St. Andrews earlier in the year, the Arsenal boys seemed to be getting a little complacent, remarking on who would lift the trophy that was still to play for.

Arsenal were without captain Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott, both picking up injuries against Stoke City four days previous to the final. Arshavin and Rosicky joined Nasri and van Persie in attack, with Song and Wilshere sitting infront of our defence consisting of Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Clichy and Szczesny.

Arsenal had a strong line-up, but as Arsenal learnt in the following 90 minutes, games aren’t won on paper.

Birmingham City had an immideate chance after Zigic found Lee Bowyer, the midfielder raced through on goal and was fouled by Arsenal ‘keeper Szczesny, but Arsenal were fortunate the linesman ruled out the chance (wrongly) for offside.

Arsenal reacted quickly in this incredibly open game, and had a clear shot on goal after Samir Nasri threaded through Andrey Arshavin. The Russian pulled off an exquisite turn, but his tame shot was saved comfortably.

Another chance was created for Arsenal single-handedly by Samir Nasri, who delicately danced through a sea of Birmingham players, though his shot was blazed wide left of Foster’s goal.

Despite Arsenal’s higher possession and shot count, it was Birmginham City who took the lead.

Former Arsenal midfielder Seb Larsson whipped in a corner, after being helped on, it found the head of target man Nikola Zigic who nodded Birmingham City into the the lead.

Birmingham City goal:
Arsenal 0-1 Birmingham City
Nikola Zigic

Arsenal responded like lighting to the devestating blow they had just recieved. A perfect cross by Sagna found a straining Robin van Persie, but the Dutchman could only head wide.

A couple of half-chances for either side elapsed, before a swift counter-attacking move resulted in a classic Arsenal goal.

Arshavin found Jack Wilshere, and the midfielder’s long-range (by Arsenal standards) shot rattled the crossbar. The ball returned to Arshavin, whose neat chip was found by red-hot striker Robin van Persie meeting the ball on the volley with his back towards goal giving Arsenal the equaliser in spectacular fashion.

Arsenal goal:
Arsenal 1-1 Birmingham City
Robin van Persie

After the break, both teams looked intent on winning the Carling Cup.

Sagna crossed in for Rosicky whose half-volley swerved wide, but clear shots on goal were few and far between.

Birmingham City’s Fahey struck the inside of the post with a powerful effort, as both teams’ resilience was tested with the final whistle drawing closer.

Arsene Wenger bought on Chamakh and Bendtner in an attempt to further pile the pressure on Birmingham’s goal, but heroic defending from the team in Blue denied Arsenal a breakthrough.

Alex McLiesh bough on a player of his own, Obafemi Martins, who, in the 89th minute, broke the hearts of every Arsenal fan watching.

A lack of communication from Koscielny and Szczesny led to Martins with the ball at his feet and an empty goal, to win Birmingham City the Carling Cup.

Birmingham City goal:
Arsenal 1-2 Birmingham City
Obafemi Martins

http://goonersworld.co.uk/forum/