Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Silver Lining At Last, Arsenal 3-1 Shrewsbury Town

It was a day of first at the Emirates this afternoon.  As usual, Wenger used the Carling Cup tie as an opportunity to give Arsenal's young talent a first team debut.  In a nervy first half, the League Two Lions were first to nick the scoresheet and the young guns were lucky to have kept them at bay.  The Shrews ousted Derby and Swansea to book their ticket to Emirates and there was an upset brewing in the early stages.  However, the Professor and his youthful crew held on and staged a resilient comeback to liven the fans and silence some critics.  Its on to the next round!!

Shrews draw first blood
After a pair of Arsenal chances in the first five minutes, it was all Shrewsbury and they stole the lead in only the 17th minute.  The North London youngsters were looking shellshocked as the traveling Shrews fans made themselves heard.  With less than 47,000 in attendance, Emirates was not its usual self this evening.  However, the Shewsbury end was euphoric.  As the minutes ticked away, the host's backline were finally able to settle down and see off the pressure of the Lions attack.  That patience would be rewarded.  In the 34th minute, it would be two Arsenal defenders responsible for leveling the game and restoring some much needed confidence.  A well timed cross came in from Jenkinson on the right and Kieran Gibbs was there to bury his header into the net.  In 57 games for Arsenal, the goal was Gibbs very first.  The score gave the hosts confidence to build on, but the visitors were hardly abated.  A young Arsenal set to work, intent on reaching the next round.

Young Guns fight back
After the break, it was Arsenal who emerged from the tunnel the stronger side.  Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain had been the most promising young gun on the pitch for most of the evening.  In the 58th minute, he secured his status as man of the match.  From a distance of about 25 yards, he collected a short pass, then let loose a screamer of a shot.  Shrewsbury keeper Smith was able to get across, but the shot proved too hot to handle.  "The Ox" was into the books and onto the scoresheet with his first senior debut.  Ryo Myachi was subbed in with nearly twenty minutes to play.  Yossi Benayoun ended the competition by slotting in Arsenal's third goal with only ten minutes of regulation to play.  All three goals were the first recored by the Arsenal players.  At full time, the hosts had seen off a fiery display by the visitors from Shropshire.

The youthful Arsenal squad played well and responded accordingly to early pressure from Shrewsbury.  Oxlaide-Chamberlain was wonderful to watch and is well on his way to a regular first team spot.  Also, Francis Coquelin put on an impressive show.  The only complaint from Arsenal fans may be that Ryo was given only 20 minutes in his debut, but i'm confident we'll see more from him in the future.  Give credit to Shrewsbury Town.  They certainly scared and silenced Emirates early on, and stunned the hosts with chants of "Are you Wrexham in disguise??"  The Lions gave Arsenal plenty to do and the League Two side should be proud of their performance.  Hopefully, Emirates will host them again before too long.  Well Done Shrews!!  And best of luck in the League!!

More Carling Cup News:
Man U trounced Leeds United 3-0.  Stoke bested Tottenham 7-6 on penalties.  Newcastle fought off three Notts Forrest comebacks to win 4-3.  Bolton bettered Aston Villa 2-0 at Villa Park.  The Wolves thumped Millwall 5-0 and Burley came back to beat MK Dons 2-1.

In today's fixtures, Championship Brighton take on Liverpool.  The Bluebirds of Cardiff City battle Leicester City.  Chelsea duel with Fulham and West Brom travel to Everton.  Finally, the Manchester Millionarios take on cup holders Birmingham City.

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