Arsenal are just one game against Liverpool at the Emirates away from a trip to Wembley. We drew the first leg at Anfield which is a good omen. In our previous three League Cup Semi Finals we advanced despite not winning the 1st leg, leaving the home tie to win.
Spurs 2-2 Arsenal
The manner of the draw and the strength of the two sides gave us a mental advantage.
Arsene Wenger continued his policy of playing youth in the competition which saw impressive wins at Goodison and Anfield.
Spurs on the other hand fielded their strongest possible 11, therefore zero surprises they raced into a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes.
Then they went Spursy.
Long before we got our away goal, we were dominating possession and controlling the game.
As soon as Baptista got his first of the evening all the momentum was with us.
Spurs knew they blew a golden chance to get at a time what would have a been a rare NLD win and even a rare appearance in a final.
Arsenal 3-1 Spurs (after extra time)
Understandably so close to a Final, Mr Wenger had some big names on the bench as precaution, a decision which would prove vital.
Another test of the youngster’s character was trying to protect a 77th minute lead given to them by Adebayor.
An 85th Mido header forces extra time, but hanging on in the final moments of the 90 was the crucial factor as if there was a time Spurs were going to win it, it was in that period.
Being able to bring on a Fabregas and Rosicky helped calm the nerves, plus the knowledge that per the away goal rules, it was Spurs who needed to score again in the additional 30 min period.
Aliadiare scored his most meaningful goal as a Gunner, while confirmation that Rosicky’s effort had crossed the line created one of the early great atmospheres at the Emirates.
Ipswich 1-0 Arsenal
Arsene Wenger would accuse the home side of playing rugby tactics but in truth the Gunners were guilty of underestimating their opponents.
Which was perhaps understandable with the Tractor Boys 19th in the Championship and without a manager.
It was further evidence that we had a young squad who lacked the mentality when it mattered.
Szczesny had kept the game goalless until the 77th minute and in truth a 1-0 defeat when not performing wasn’t the worse result.
Arsenal 3-0 Ipswich
Predictably the longer Arsenal failed to break the deadlock the more frustrated the Emirates became. Meaning that Bendter’s strike was timely as the home crowd were growing restless.
As soon as the visitor’s resistance caved in, normal service was resumed. 3 mins later we were winning the tie outright, 13 mins later we were out of sight.
Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
Arsene Wenger had played a weak team in the FA Cup days earlier to rest whoever would start here. With the club struggling to qualify for the top 4 there was serious pressure to win this competition to rescue our season.
Playing with a back 5 it seemed our first priority was to keep a clean sheet as we showed defensive organisation not recognisable from the majority of our campaign.
Sanchez came on in the 66th minute, his final appearance as a Gunner.
Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea
A few days after Sanchez was sold to Man United, Gooners were fearing the worse when Hazard scored the first goal in the tie.
Like the 1st leg we showed Chelsea too much respect in the first half but improved after the second.
A couple of deflections went in our favour, an own goal and one that went into the path of Xhaka.
A win on Thursday puts us through to the Final. In previous years away goals counted after extra time but that’s not the case this season. Meaning any kind of draw after 120 minutes would see the first ever penalty shootout at the Emirates.
The atmosphere at home has improved dramatically this campaign. Let’s make some noise and get the Gunners over the line.
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