Result: Arsenal 0-2 Sp*rs
Competition: Carabao Cup
Date: December 19th 2008
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Arsenal: Cech, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Xhaka, Monreal, Torreira, Guendouzi, Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Iwobi, Aubameyang
Subs: Martinez, Koscielny, Lichtsteiner, Elneny, Willock, Lacazette, Nketiah
Arsenal went out of the Carabao Cup this season, going down 2-0 against Sp*rs at the Emirates this evening.
Unai Emery picked a strong team to contend with the opposition, but there was no place in the squad for Mesut Ozil who was left out for tactical reasons.
There was early Arsenal danger from a Xhaka corner, and good work between Ramsey and Iwobi saw the Welshman fizz a shot not far wide in the 8th minute. At the other end good pressure from Maitland-Niles saw Eriksen shoot well wide, before Alli headed over.
The Gunners should have been ahead in the 13th minute when Ramsey sent Mkhitaryan through. He only had the keeper to beat but his effort was tame and the keeper made a routine save.
The visitors enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening 20 minutes, and it paid off with the opening goal. The keeper took a long kick out, Sokratis slipped, it was played through to Son who beat the offside trap and curled it beyond the onrushing Cech. 0-1.
Guendouzi set up Aubameyang inside the Sp*rs box but he could only shoot wide, but the best opportunity came to the visitors when they broke from a corner but with Sissoko in a great position to double the lead he blasted over the bar.
There wasn’t a lot of attacking invention from Arsenal, Mkhitaryan and Iwobi struggled to link the play in the final third, and danger came from a mistake by the Sp*rs defence. Auba blocked a keeper’s clearance, then the defender miskicked, Ramsey tried to backheel it to Torreira but it was cut out.
Then we did create. Iwobi went down the left and crossed it into the middle, Ramsey guided it with his left foot, it was going into the net but the keeper pushed it onto the post and away to safety. And as the half drew to a close Sokratis won a header from a corner but couldn’t get it on target – he should have done better.
Ramsey saw another effort blocked before Guendouzi picked up the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Moura as the first half came to a close.
Unai Emery made a half-time change, taking off Mkhitaryan and putting on Koscielny to move to a back three. The change gave the Gunners more control, and there was more intensity and tempo to their football. Iwobi’s low crosses caused danger in their box more than once, and Cech was forced into action to stop an Eriksen free kick.
Xhaka fired a free kick over in the 57th minute, and both sides made changes with Kane and Lacazette coming on for Moura and Iwobi respectively. It was the Sp*rs sub who made an immediate impact though, Kane played Alli through who beat the offside trap and then Cech with an impudent finish to make it 0-2.
There was almost an immediate response from Arsenal when Aubameyang squared for Lacazette but his shot clipped the outside of the post and went wide. Emery played his final card, bringing on Eddie Nketiah for Guendouzi in the 65th minute, someone in the crowd threw something at Alli and there wasn’t much happening from an attacking point of view for Emery’s team.
An Aubameyang cross from the left bounced back off the top of the bar but we couldn’t do anything with the rebound. Xhaka talked himself into a yellow card, Sp*rs brought on Lamela for Son, and Cech saved from Eriksen as the game moved into the final 10 minutes.
Alli got booked for being a dickhead, the game went into 4 minutes of added time, Torreira shot wide but in the end there was no way through and we went out of the least important competition of our season.