Feed on

Arsenal were knocked out of the Carabao cup at the first hurdle as they gave up a 1-0 lead to lose 3-1 to Brighton (AND Hove Albion) at the Emirates on Wednesday. We took the lead thanks to a superb curling effort from Eddie Nketiah after an outstanding solo run and pass from Reiss Nelson. However, we were undone by a penalty from former Gunner Danny Welbeck and a couple of exceptional second half finishes from Mitoma and Tariq Lamptey.

Whilst some fans may be disappointed by the loss as it can be viewed as an opportunity for a trophy and a day out at a Wembley car park, it was obvious that this competition was the least of Mikel Arteta and Arsenal’s priorities. Many may be reminded of the days where Wenger would use the League Cup as an opportunity to blood the youngsters and play eight 16-year-olds which was always exciting and probably one of the reasons we never won it under his tenure, but most clubs have bigger squads these days and will just give run-outs to some fringe players. And that’s what Arteta did making ten changes from the win at Chelsea. There was a first team debut (and probably one to forget) for the Estonia number one, Karl Hein, Cedric got a rare start, Lokonga was given another go and we went with a front three of Nelson, Marquinhos and Eddie. 

The opening 15-20 mins were low key, both teams trading off pot shots from outside the box. But on 19 minutes we broke the deadlock. Nelson received the ball in his own half, turned away from a couple of Brighton midfielders, carried the ball into the final third before laying off an excellent pass to Nketiah who had peeled away to the left-hand side. He opened his body up and curled in an excellent finish high into the top corner. An Henry-esque finish! It was a goal that showed that Eddie is much more than just a fox in the box. I have been waiting a long time for him to score a goal like that. I think he is very underrated by most Arsenal fans but for me, he gets into a lot of premier league sides. One of the best back up strikers around. 

However, things began to unravel soon after. Welbeck was sent through, it looked as though Hein would get there first but he slipped on the turf at the worst possible moment and as a result he could only bring Welbeck down and it was undoubtedly a pen. Thankfully Hein was only shown a yellow. Welbeck dusted himself down and calmly sent Hein the wrong way. I noted that he didn’t celebrate which I liked because he always celebrated when he scored against United! 

We started the second half strongly, creating several chances. Eddie hit the post with a fierce drive with the keeper well beaten. Shortly after, Marquinhos sent in a dangerous cross from which Nelson’s header was well saved by the Brighton ‘keeper. It looked like it would only be a matter of time before we restored our lead. But it was Brighton who went in front. They broke down our left-hand side after an impressive switch of play. Sarmiento drove forward and fed Mitoma who had come on as a half time substitute, the Japanese international took a touch and curled it past Hein. We huffed and puffed but couldn’t regain our rhythm. Twenty minutes from time Brighton got a third. Tariq Lamptey waltzed past Cedric with ease and poked his effort into the far corner. From that point onwards the game seemed to fizzle out from an Arsenal point of view, and we were out of the energy drink cup. 

Time will tell if that proves to be a blessing or not, but you sense that it probably will. The 4th round is bizarrely scheduled for the 21st of December just three days after the World Cup final. On a night where Spurs, Chelsea and West Ham also went out you get the feeling this will only free up space in the hugely congested calendar. And for the people who say we have thrown away a chance of a trophy, I would say, we are top of the league, through to the round of 16 in the Europa League and we still have the FA cup to look forward to in the New Year. So, make the judgement yourselves. Personally, I don’t believe we have the squad to compete on four fronts. I don’t think that’s a reflection of our transfer business, more just an indication of how ludicrous it is to have two domestic cup competitions. Quite frankly, no one cares. 

If we win at Wolves on Saturday night this game will well and truly be forgotten. And that’s a game of much more importance anyway. Onto the next….

22 Drinks to “Arsenal Lose the Battle, to Win the War?”

  1. 1
    ClockEndRider says:

    Thx 21CG, that was the game I saw. One thing I find increasingly frustrating though. Despite it having rained for days if not weeks on end in North London, the pitch was heavily watered both before the game and at half ti e. We then proceeded to see Arsenal players slipping on a number of occasions, as indeed Hein did for the goal. Is it too much to expect that our players wear appropriate studs? This seems to happen with an alarming frequency.

  2. 2
    Countryman100 says:

    A very fine report 21CG, on a night when very few Arsenal fans got to see the game. We saw the same match from either side of the North Bank. I had called before the game for us not to rotate the shit out of it and pay due respect to a team only five places below us in the table. Well with 10 changes we did just that and looked a little incoherent. However Brighton also made eight changes. We were a bit unlucky, both with the slip from Hein and also that we got nothing from the storming start to the second half, with the keeper inspired and Eddie hitting the post. But Brighton played well. They are a tidy team. I thought Reiss Nelson, Eddie and Saliba were terrific. I do not blame Hein for the slip, but thought he looked indecisive with the ball at his feet. The most essential duo in this team is Partey and Granit in midfield and that is where we must backfill in January. Cedric is two levels below White or Tomi at right back and he needs cutting loose.

    I am disappointed that we are out of the league cup, not least because it offers a great opportunity for away games for match going fans. But I get the arguments made by the author. I thought it was interesting that Kane, who had played 12 games in a row, had to be subbed at 2-0 down by Conte because of fatigue.

    Now let’s get the first team back on the pitch and win at Wolves on Saturday night. Yes, I’ll be there.

  3. 3
    Countryman100 says:

  4. 4
    North Bank Ned says:

    Thanks for the report of a game I and many others didn’t see, 21CG. It sounds as if the game was there for the taking and the margin of defeat was not as great as the scoreline would suggest. It is always good to keep the momentum of winning going, but you may well be right that we shall benefit from the odd Wednesday off come the second half of the season.

  5. 5
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks 21CG, as you say plenty still to play for this season. I have seen some highlights now and it was a cracking goal from Eddie, I hope he will do it in the PL this weekend!

  6. 6
    OsakaMatt says:

    And congrats to Bukayo, Benjamin and Aaron on making the World Cup squad. It might be spent mainly on the bench for Ben and Aaron but I guess Saka will play some part – I hope that they all come back sound of limb.

  7. 7
    TTG says:

    I’ve no idea if this was an accurate or fair report other than you are a very good judge of the game and this accords with the accounts I have read. It reads extremely well and addresses the key points very effectively .
    We really didn’t need a run in this competition , in this of all seasons it is a menace frankly. I never want Arsenal to lose but if they had to lose this was the game . I was more interested that the Spuds took it so seriously …..and still lost to a side we thrashed
    recently ! You are quite right that if we triumph at Molineux nobody will remember this game

  8. 8
    bt8 says:

    Thanks for your report 21cg. As one of the minority contingent that argues for us to play a strong team in the League Cup, I hope you are right and the damage of this defeat doesn’t carry over to our first team players. Ramsdale, even Turner, might have been useful last night, but the timing for the loss is about as good as we could hope for, at least IF we can recover bravely and get 3 points by hook or by crook at Molineux.

  9. 9
    bt8 says:

    As England prepare for the World Cup an item caught my eye in the match report on Manchester United’s defeat of Aston Villa in the League Cup (“the highlights of a tepid opening period were a needless yellow card for a clumsy tackle by Harry Maguire”)

    What are the odds of Maguire replicating his feat in Dubai? For that matter, what are the odds of him stepping on his feet? Probably relatively low if Southgate is convinced not to allow him to feature but I wouldn’t bet on that.

  10. 10
    bt8 says:

    A rare appearance:

  11. 11
    bt8 says:

    Only the principals.

  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14
    Las says:

    Thanks, 21CG excellent report spiced up with usual optimism.
    Unusually, there were no available streams so I haven’t seen the game but I trust your judgement.
    But I don’t know. Losing a game is never a good thing. It can disrupt the development process and can cause headaches. But yes sometimes it can motivate a fightback.
    From your report, I felt Brighton could have been beaten the other day and that says a lot about our second team’s strength. But a nice and long cup run can build momentum.
    We will see soon enough.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Bathgooner says:

    Thanks 21CG, for a fine report of a match of which few of us have seen more than a few short clips and which fewer of us will remember at the end of the season. Eddie’s goal was lovely and it’s a shame both that Hein slipped on his way to take the through ball that Welbeck was chasing and that in our early second half flurry, Eddie’s shot hit the post.

    I’m old school when it comes to sport. You are in it to win it. I think Mikel Arteta is the same. I do recognise the forthcoming issues of fixture congestion with a small squad but hitherto he has managed the minutes very well and this pot, like the group stage matches of the Europa League has allowed him to give his fringe players and selected youth game time so that they are less like ‘Bambi’ if any are called upon to fill in for a first teamer. There will be no more such games this season. Few players can go from bench warming to match fit in a week. Others lose their motivation and drive without competitive matches – what has happened to Sambi?

    Champions League elimination by the Chavs (we really should have killed them in the first leg at the Bus Stop) a few days after FA Cup elimination by the Mancs is a deep scar I bear and is often quoted as evidence of the risks of fixture congestion on your best players. The key is judicious use of your squad which Mikel Arteta seems to be pretty good at, albeit not as successfully in this game. The lesson for me is the drop off in quality when our second string make up virtually the whole team, and this is most particularly seen in our midfield. This deficit in our midfield options must be addressed alongside the need to add firepower in January if we are to remain in contention for the Premier League.

    Meanwhile I accept it is unrealistic to expect this young team and thin squad to lift the quadruple and this defeat is probably a blessing (though I would have expected the team selected against Brighton to beat Charlton) given the next leg being scheduled for two days after the WC Final and the likely deep involvement in that tainted competition by several of our key players.

    Now, please let’s beat Wolves.

  17. 17
    OsakaMatt says:

    I was reading an online team news site today and the site (the BBC I think) invited supporters to grade their teams season so far – an Arsenal supporter wrote to give us a B
    as we’d done well but still dropping unnecessary points. The lunatic actually made me laugh out loud so I thought I’d share.
    Personally, I am not expecting perfect and would be very happy if we can get 3 points off of Wolves.

  18. 18
    Bathgooner says:

    Heh, OM @17, he’s even more idealistic than I am!

    100% with you on Wolves – any which way.

  19. 19
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Excellent eyewitness account 21CG of a match that inexplicably wasn’t shown on live TV as the first not exception.

    Maybe it’s because I started supporting Arsenal since only the Wenger days, I could never take League cup seriously enough and my fondest memories of this competition are eye catching performances by exciting young talents from Cesc to Martinelli. As Bath and others mentioned, we don’t have a squad to compete seriously on all four fronts and our first two priorities must be the league and Europe.

    Was glad to know that both Reiss and Eddie had a good game (and Saliba too but he has been so imperious until now a 7/10 performance at minimum has become the expectation) . We will need both of them at their best in the second half of the season.

    And congratulations to Hein on his debut. He would not be the first (or last) young keeper to have a shaky debut performance. He is already the #1 keeper for his national team, and I am hoping he would soon give Turner a genuine competition for the #2 spot.

  20. 20
    bt8 says:

    Fair play Faustus on your defence of young Hein. Not having seen the game I don’t know how to grade his performance but he certainly deserves a chance to prove himself, which I’m sure Arteta is planning to do over time. Is Turner injured, I wonder?

  21. 21
    Countryman100 says:

    My main view of Hein, when he stood before me in the first half, was that he was very indecisive with the ball at his feet and he brought pressure on his defenders. He needs to work on this. Apart from the through ball for Welbeck, where he should have collected comfortably but slipped and gave away a penalty, he had little else to do in the first half. I can’t comment on the second half, because it was at the other end, but I don’t recall any great saves.

  22. 22
    scruzgooner says: