Thursday 13th January 2010
Stating the obvious seems to be a good place to start and for me it is three-fold. Firstly it is impossible to describe last night as anything other than a bad result. Secondly, although I really don't want to take anything away from our hosts, for reasons that are difficult to understand we simply didn't turn up. Lastly of course, with 90 minutes (or more) still to play at home, at least we can cling on to the fact it is only half-time.
Personally I was really looking forward to the day. If as fans we can't look at a semi-final with eager anticipation there is something seriously wrong. Throw in the fact our particular travelling party had a designated driver and thoroughly intended to enjoy Ipswich's finest wares for a few hours pre-match, all in all there was plenty to whet the appetite.
With reports that many Gooners experienced travel problems on the night, our earlier start seemed an even better idea and with kick-off approaching everything had gone totally to plan so far.
To be honest, that's pretty much where the wheels fell off! We created very little throughout, our quick passing game was non existent, control and accuracy poor and to top it all off, a simple ball over the top and a good finish sees us going into the second leg a goal behind.
Admittedly I never felt at any stage that it would be a comfortable night. The way players somewhat strangely react when a new manager is at the helm and they are all fighting for their places has been seen many times before and this alone dictated it would be a difficult game.
When your own performance is below par however, we can offer no excuses and that is exactly what happened last night.
With a second chance to get things right the packed schedule means we must put that on the backburner and quickly move on and be prepared for yet another fixture that always proves tricky. A London derby against the Hammers is a game that has gone either way on many occasions down the years. Buoyed by their own Carling Cup first leg victory we head to Upton Park with it all to do.
The first of four massive games in two weeks that could arguably make or break our domestic season.
Come on you Gunners!
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