If Arsenal are going to put an end to their lengthy drought of not winning any silverware it’s not going to end this season by winning the Capital One Cup. The Gunners were knocked out of that competition at the earliest stage in the past 11 years when they were beaten 2-0 at the Emirates on Tuesday. It was generally a forgettable performance and a forgettable fourth-round game considering these are currently the top two clubs in England.
Arsenal couldn’t muster up anything in the way of serious chances and with players such as Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott, Mathieu Flamini, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mikel Arteta, it looks like they simply don’t have the depth needed to challenge strong clubs such as Chelsea. At least it doesn’t look that way based on tonight’s performance.
It was Jose Mourinho’s 200th game in charge of Chelsea and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger continues to struggle against the Portuguese boss as he hasn’t beaten him in nine tries. Cesar Azpilicueta scored on a gift from Carl Jenkinson in the first half and Spanish international Juan Mata put the game out of reach in the second and as that was all Chelsea needed to cruise to victory.
Before the match Mourinho threatened to field his club’s under-21 development squad for the game in as he was whining about having to play this contest just two days after beating Manchester City. However, somebody should tell him that’s why he has a 25-man squad and to get on with it in a professional manner. Needless to say, he fielded a regular senior side of internationals , but there were 10 changes from Chelsea’s last game.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 25th minute when Carl Jenkinson foolishly tried to head a ball back to goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski instead of trying to head it laterally out of play or back up the pitch. The ball ended up in no man/s land as the header didn’t have enough power on it to reach Fabianski and Azpilicueta waltzed in and deposited into the back of the net for his first Chelsea goal.
Nacho Monreal and Aaron Ramsey had chances to tie the match, but neither could hit the target and the first half ended 1-0. The Gunners gave it a good go at the start of the second 45-minute stanza and had Chelsea pinned back in their own end for the first 15 minutes of it, but couldn’t come up with any clear-cut scoring chances against Chelsea’s Australian keeper Mark Schwarzer.
Mata put the game out of reach in the 66th minute when he hammered a hard right-footed shot from the edge of the 18-yard box which eluded the hand of a diving Fabianski. This earned Chelsea a spot in the fifth round and it wasn’t undeserved. Wenger started the match with Nicklas Bendtner in the striker’s role, but had to replace him with Olivier Giroud right after Mata’s goal to have any hope of coming up with some sort of response. Alas, it wasn’t to be and the Gunners left the pitch a dejected bunch.
Arsenal’s next game is a huge Premier League showdown with Liverpool at the Emirates on Saturday, November 2 at 5:30pm
Arsenal Player Ratings-Tues. Oct. 29
Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea Carling Cup Fourth Round Match
Lukasz Fabianski – 6
Fabianski couldn’t do much about the first goal as Jenkinson hung him out to dry and he tried in vain to reach Mata’s shot, but to no avail. Other than that, he didn’t really have too much to do.
Nacho Monreal – 6.5
Monreal, as usual, was pretty good going forward and did his job defensively.
Laurent Koscielny – 6
He wasn’t as steady as usual in the back and gave the ball up too easily.
Thomas Vermaelen – 5.5
Vermaelen hasn’t played for awhile and he was a bit rusty and certainly not at his best.
Carl Jenkinson – 5
Jenkinson made a brutal mistake by trying to head the ball back to the keeper and paid for it dearly. It’s a dreadful move at anytime in a football match.
Aaron Ramsey – 6.5
Ramsey tried to spark his teammates and created a couple of chances which failed to hit the net. Was taken off after 81 minutes and replaced with Park Chu-Young
Jack Wilshere – 5.5
Wilshere was guilty of giving the ball away on too many occasions. He tried well enough, but just didn’t have it tonight.
Tomas Rosicky – 6
In the context of things, Rosicky had a decent game but like everybody else, wasn’t had his best.
Santi Cazorla – 6.5
Cazorla was steady but not spectacular. Again, the effort was there but not the results.
Ryo Miyaichi – 6
The young Japanese player finally got to start a game and played reasonably well. He was one of the Gunners better players, but was taken off after 62 minutes for the more experienced Mesut Ozil.
Nicklas Bendtner – 5
Bendtner didn’t do much of anything but he wasn’t supplied with the ball either. He came off after 67 minutes and was replaced with Olivier Giroud.
Came on for Miyaichi after 62 minutes and added a bit of a spark but not much else.
Came on after 67 minutes for Bendtner but didn’t see much of the ball either.
Came on after 81 minutes for Ramsey.