Arsenal dumped Spurs out of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night in their own back yard thanks to goals from Mathieu Flamini. Yes, you read that right – goals.
It was a much changed Arsenal lineup that strode out at White Hart Lane looking to avoid three defeats in a row for the first time since early in 2010.
The boss used the game to give minutes to bench players and with some looking to show that they deserve to be in the starting line up regularly I was optimistic we would get a strong showing from the Gunners. Many, however, were on the verge of a nervous breakdown over the team.
The first half was, for the most part a sedate affair, with not a thunderous nor snide challenge anywhere to be seen. Even the home crowd didn’t sound like their usual guttural selves and the opening exchanges were pretty balanced in a ‘this is different’ kind of way.
The first chance fell to the Gunners with 12 minutes on the clock as Gibbs got in behind and pulled the ball back to Giroud. While it was slightly behind him you would have expected him to do better and Joel Campbell missed the target with his header on the follow up.
After 26 minutes of tedium, Arsenal found a way through just as I was moaning on Twitter about how boring it all was. The Ox took a shot from range which Vorm could only parry and Mathieu Flamini, goalscorer extraordinaire, was waiting to pounce.
1-0 to the Arsenal.
The goal, however, did not really spark the game into life with tedium soon restored. The most exciting thing of note to happen in the rest of the half was Arteta being booked for catching Townsend who certainly made the most of it. Flamini was also booked for, well, being Flamini. The Ox did have a chance to double Arsenal’s lead but went for the extravagant and got it so wrong it’s probably best we don’t talk about it.
It wasn’t a great half from either side but Arsenal always looked comfortable, apart from when Spurs attacked down the right as Debuchy had an absolute mare.
Tottenham came out in determined fashion for the second half and after just three minutes, Harry Kane had the ball in the back of the net only to see it ruled out as he was offside when Eriksen took on the shot that was parried by Ospina straight into his path. Was a great save though.
It took another Arsenal own goal for Spurs to pull level; Chambers sticking a foot out to stop Chadli’s cross only to stick the ball into the back of his own net but in all honesty, it was a catalogue of sloppy defending in the buildup that left Arsenal with the real problem.
With 65 minutes on the clock, Kieran Gibbs stopped Arsenal going behind with a quite wonderful goalline clearance, using his head, after Kane had connected with an overhead kick. Tottenham were the only side looking threatening at this point and Arsenal turned to Alexis from the bench, in place of Campbell, who instantly livened things up.
The Chilean immediately got in behind before Ramsey slipped in Giroud who could only hit the keeper. Arsenal were coming back into this.
The game stretched as both sides looked to win it, offering more excitement in the closing 20 than we’d got in the rest of the match and it was impossible to tell which way it would swing as ‘you have a go, we have a go’ took hold.
Sanchez had a great shout for a penalty waved away as he was hauled to the ground in the box but it was a moment of pure genius from Flamini that broke the deadlock. Latching on to the ball on the volley outside the box that fell from the heavens, he rifled it past Vorm who had no chance.
It was outstanding.
Mathieu Flamini strikes again with a phenomenal volley. 2-1 Arsenal! pic.twitter.com/ZCIXBfppl0
— Terje (@ArsenalTerje) September 23, 2015
And that was that.
Tottenham offered little in the time remaining as they realised how awful it is to concede two goals to Mathieu Flamini and just gave up.
Arsenal ended their losing streak and dumped Tottenham out of the league cup.
North London is red, football is fun again, bring on Leicester!