Arsenal 3 Shrewsbury Town 1

Amid all the pressure the tension, the hype over his premature demise after a sequence of poor results, Arsene Wenger sat, smiled and sampled the talents of this young Arsenal side which came through a thorough Carling Cup examination from a dogged Shrewsbury Town. The records will show that the League 2 side took the lead on 16 minutes through James Collins. That the Gunners mustered their renowned spirit when Kieran Gibbs levelled just shy of the half hour mark, and Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain announced his Arsenal arrival with a thunderbolt on 58 minutes may get missed, as might Yossi Benayoun’s first Gunners strike to make it a 3-1 scoreline that would suggest a level of comfort.

Shone

What may not get mentioned is the tough tenacious work rate of Francis Coquelin, who shone throughout, or the vison and pace of Chamberlain who looks such a class act at just 18 years of age. All over the pitch, the Arsenal academy product were on full view for the world to see. Ignasi Miquel looked far the superior centre back, but sadly Johan Djourou seems to be having a game that is going backwards.

Frimpong shift

The Swiss international was at fault as Mavin Morgan crossed and Collins rose unopposed to head past Lukasz Fabianski. Morgan was on hand to provide more concern for the Gunners, but slowly and assuredly their game plan came to the fore. Marouane Chamakh had squandered a couple of early chances and looked as if he was a player playing against his will. We saw Ju Young Park emerge with credit, with one whistling shot that flew just wide. It was not that long ago that Emmanuel Frimpong would be termed as a second stringer, but here he was putting in a solid shift where it mattered. The Ghana player let fly just before the break which Ben Smith did well to smother on the second time of asking.

Confidence surge

One felt that the Gunners superior fitness levels would come into effect and so it proved. When Chamberlain got the ball, he had only one thing on his mind. This time, he kept his head up and let fly with a venomous drive from 20 yards that was too good for Smith. At 2-1, that rare commodity of confidence seemed to surge through the
Arsenal ranks. Chamberlain had seen another powerful shot cause Smith problems. Wenger brought on the talents of Ryo Miyaichi and the Emirates crowd became energised with his pace and trickery.17 year old Holland player Oguzhan Ozyakup was introduced for Frimpong and he slipped in Benayoun to fire in the Gunners’ third.

A Carling Cup fixture that posed all the dangers of walking through a minefield was safely navigated and for Wenger another one in the eye for his many critics.