Ipswich Town 1 v Arsenal 0

Arsenal suffered a shock Carling Cup semi-final 1st leg 1-0 defeat at Ipswich after lone striker Tamas Priskin slotted home twelve minutes before time. Arsene Wenger made four changes from the side that were pegged back by Leeds in the FA Cup, but the way in which so many first team players went absent on a night that demanded nothing but concentration will worry the Arsenal manager.

Cost

It was another woeful defensive display from the Gunners who saw keeper keep the score Wojciech Szczesny at only 1-0 after producing a fine late save from Carlos Edwards. There was nothing special about what Ipswich did, it was just that a comlpliant Arsenal defence and their naive defensive ability cost the north London side in Suffolk.

Frailty

Theo Walcott saw a couple of chances go begging with Andrey Arshavin and Cesc Fabregas missing the target when well through. The possession statistics were again in favour of the Gunners but that same old frailty of converting that possession to goals came back to haunt Wenger.

Invisibles

However, it was another night when Nicklas Bendtner and Arshavin were once again conspicuous by their absence. Thoughts will always go to the 2004 Arsenal “Invincibles” side, but the Dane and the Russian are quickly getting a name as the “Invisibles,” they are currently playing that poorly. Wenger said afterwards that ” We had no spark,” and even Cesc Fabregas could not motivate from midfield.

Determination

Johan Djourou was possibly the best Arsenal player on the night,Jack Wilshere showed flashes on brilliance, but until they went a goal down, the Gunners never opened up the Ipswich defence. ‘Keeper Marton Fulop produced some fine late saves from substitute Marouane Chamakh and Walcott, but Wenger knows that his players will need to show more commitment and determination if they are to progress to the Carling Cup final after the second leg of this tie at the Emirates in a fortnight’s time.