Arsenal too strong for Reds in Cup

Arsenal knocked Liverpool out the Carling Cup with a 2-1 win at the Emirates on Wednesday night.

Nicklas Bendtner’s goal on 50 minutes proved the winner after Emiliano Insua had canceled out Fran Merida’s opener in the first half.

Insua’s strike was an impressive left foot volley from outside the box, over the goalkeeper’s head.

Neither side were at full strength, with Arsenal fielding a host of their impressive youngsters combined with a front pair of Bendtner and Eduardo, while Liverpool had Voronin and Ngog up front.

Jay Spearing and Damien Plessis gave the Reds midfield a reserve team look about it, while Babel and Kuyt occupied the wide midfield spots. Babel and Voronin were again disappointing and Babel should have equalised late on from close range. Full back Philipp Degen was impressive going forward.

Liverpool valiantly probed for a winner, bringing on Alberto Aquilani for his debut. He showed some impressive touches and passing, and was denied from an overhead kick by a handball inside the box from Senderos late-on. Youngster Nathan Eccleston made his Reds debut too, but didn’t have time to influence the game as Arsenal ran down the clock and held on for the win to put them into the quarter finals.

Observations in short:

  • Babel is simply not taking his opportunities and runs the ball into trouble far too often
  • Voronin is simply not good enough, although we knew that already
  • Degen is pretty impressive going forward, but not great defensively
  • Skrtel is someway off the player we saw last season
  • Ngog will be a class act in years to come
  • Eccleston needs more than 3 minutes to influence a game – c’mon Rafa give the lad a chance!
  • Spearing and Plessis may work hard but Plessis in particular will never be of first team standard
  • Aquilani is just the type of player we need and I cannot wait for him to get fully fit and on-form
  • We can only hope in years to come Rafa can assemble a group of youngster’s as impressive as Wenger’s
  • Liverpool: Cavalieri, Degen (Eccleston 88), Skrtel, Kyrgiakos, Insua, Kuyt, Spearing, Plessis (Aquilani 76), Babel, Voronin, Ngog (Benayoun 74)
    Subs not used: Reina, Darby, Ayala, Dossena

    Arsenal: Fabianski, Gibbs, Senderos, Silvestre, Gilbert, Eastmond, Merida, Ramsey, Nasri, Eduardo, Bendtner

    Referee: Alan Wiley
    Attendance: 60,004