Bradford* 1 – 1 Arsenal [Pen.] – Match Analysis & Player Ratings

Final Score
Bradford* 1 – 1 Arsenal [Pen.]

Having beaten West Brom, Arsenal were looking to get back to winning ways against Bradford in the Capital One Cup. Arsene Wenger opted to field a strong side this round, meaning that a win was practically in the bag. It turns out, it was a Bradford bag.

Arsenal started the first half with dominance. Chances were being created, and our victory against West Brom was certainly settling our nerves. However, chances were falling to the likes of Gervinho, who simply could not finish. A fact that Arsene Wenger can’t seem to comprehend.

It took Bradford just sixteen minutes to shatter our shaky defence. Vermaelen gave away a free kick, which was whipped in, and flicked on towards the back post. Arsenal’s zonal marking was yet again exposed, and Thompson was able to guide it home.[quote_right]“Yet again, the midfield was taking the ball forward and creating chances, but as more chances were wasted, Gervinho proved nothing except that Football simply isn’t his game.”[/quote_right]

Arsenal had conceded from a set piece to a League Two side in just sixteen minutes.

The Gunners tried to pick themselves back up. Yet again, the midfield was taking the ball forward and creating chances, but as more chances were wasted, Gervinho proved nothing except that Football simply isn’t his game.

Unfortunately, the second half held nothing new for Arsenal. Aaron Ramsey was struggling to compose himself, our attempts on goal were tame, and Bradford were gaining confidence by the minute. It was looking like the makings of a catastrophe.

As the second half snailed on, it was difficult to distinguish which team wanted to preserve the scoreline more. Arsenal simply couldn’t find the net, and Bradford were energetic. Jack Wilshere was the main man, urging the team forward, but to no avail.

Finally, in the eighty-eighth minute, Cazorla second attempted cross found Vermaelen unmarked at the back post. The Belgian headed the ball in, and jubilation ensued. However, the reality was, the goal did nothing but paper over the cracks.[quote_left]“The only beacon of hope was the excellent Jack Wilshere. A beacon, stifled by his lethargic teammates.”[/quote_left]

Vermaelen’s header sent the game into extra time, where Arsenal once again looked dominant, but couldn’t produce any end product. It’s difficult to admit, but the thirty minutes of extra time literally held nothing of interest for Arsenal. The Gunners had most, if not all of the possession, yet couldn’t break down a League Two side.

Chance after chance went begging, and players such as Gervinho, Cazorla & Rosicky looked disinterested. The only beacon of hope was the excellent Jack Wilshere. A beacon, stifled by his lethargic teammates.

Arsenal completed one hundred and twenty minutes against Bradford City with 25 shots on goal. 6 of which were on target. Embarrassing.

[title]Penalty Shootout[/title]

Our penalties were not just an optimization of our performance, but of our season thus far. Gervinho, who is our second choice striker according to Arsene Wenger, failed to take any of the five penalties.

Instead, Cazorla missed our first spot kick, followed by a miss by Chamakh. Jack Wilshere & The Ox finally put Arsenal back on track, with Szczesney saving two penalties. Vermaelen needed to score to send Arsenal through to sudden death. His penalty rattled off the post.

Arsenal ‘s first team were had been well and truly beaten by Bradford City. I hope Arsene Wenger had his notepad with him today, because Bradford City beat Arsenal not just via penalties, but through sheer guile, strength & determination. Three things Arsenal simply lack.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Szczesny: [6/10]
Didn’t have too much to do, and couldn’t do much for the goal. Did well to save two penalties, although they were of poor quality.

Sagna: [5/10]
Hasn’t been himself since his injury, and perhaps now would have been a good time to allow Jenkinson to stake a claim for his position. Needs to improve offensively.

Mertesacker: [5/10]
Found it difficult to deal with the pace of the Bradford strikers. For the first time in a long while, Mertesacker struggled to handle his opposition. A game to forget for the German.

Vermaelen: [5/10]
After producing some decent performances over the last few weeks, Vermaelen had another terrible game by his standards. The initial free kick from which we conceded was a result of poor defending, and he obviously missed the deciding penalty. Did well to grab the goal though. However, our skipper needs to get back on his feet, and fast.

Gibbs: [6/10]
Wasn’t really tested defensively, but did well to get forward whenever he could. His crosses, much like Sagna, need improving. However, I can’t really fault him on his performance today.

Coquelin: [7/10]
Slotted into the midfield very well and did his job. He sat in front of the defence, offered protection, and distributed the ball well. Subbed.

Wilshere: [8/10]
MOTM. Despite being the least fit, Jack worked tirelessly to push Arsenal forward throughout the game. His determination is something obviously missing from the rest of the team, and it’s harrowingly evident. Our future leader & talisman. I hope.

Ramsey: [4/10]
Another woeful game for the Welshman. Passes were misplaced and his touch was terrible. I wish I could say that this was a one off, but we all know that it wasn’t. Not good enough. Subbed.

Podolski: [6/10]
As usual, Podolski drifted in and out of the game, and didn’t really offer much in terms of goal threats. However, I’m sure he’d rather be upfront ahead of Gervinho. Subbed.

Cazorla: [5/10]
Cazorla will shimmy his way out of tight situations, and let off explosive long shots with accuracy. He’s a technical genius at times. However, he’s also very weak and scared to go in for challenges. He misplaces passes relatively often, and is non-existent for long periods at a time. He also seems to be good at ‘winning’ penalties, but not actually taking them. Frustrating.

Gervinho: [4/10]
Simply not good enough to wear the shirt. And I’m talking about a Bradford City shirt. Missing sitters is his forte. He’s the best at it.

Subs:

The Ox [6.5/10]. Chamakh [6/10], Rosicky [6/10]

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[title]Beaten By Bradford. No, Really.[/title]

It’s hard to summarise a game which is so full of exasperation and hopelessness. Arsenal now are in dire straits. Can it be possible that a Champions League side can be beaten by a League Two team, not through skill, but through desire? Is this what Arsenal has become?

Everybody backs the underdog. That’s why I’m backing Arsenal to beat Reading this coming Monday in the Premier League. Here’s hoping. Because hope is all we have right now.

What did you think of the Bradford Vs Arsenal Match? Share your views in the comments section below.