Bradford turns Arsenal into laughing stock – Silverware drought continues
Hope of Arsenal ending their silverware drought this season are hanging by a thread following their League Cup exit at the hands of League Two minnows Bradford. Arsene Wenger and Co. were on the road against a brave and resilient Bradford side after their 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion on the weekend.
After grabbing an early lead through Gary Thompson, Bradford parked the bus in front of their goal to keep Arsenal’s attack at bay. Success was on horizon for Bradford, but Thomas Vermaelen provided Arsenal with an equalizer in the dying moments of the game to take the match to penalties.
Santi Cazorla and Marouane Chamakh failed to put the ball in the back of the net on their penalty kicks before Thomas Vermaelen was asked to provide Arsenal with a life-extension once again. The Arsenal captain struck the post allowing Bradford to celebrate victory.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger defended his men in spite of the defeat. The Emirates boss has been under scrutiny for a long list of chastening defeats in recent history, still he refrained from putting any blame on his men.
Bradford played well against the English football giants, but disappointing game-play from Arsenal was the reason for their success. Arsene Wenger told reporters that his decision to field an attacking team worked as Arsenal did come up with a plethora of chances to score.
The Frenchman’s analysis was true as Arsenal had 28 goal attempts from which 12 were on target. Putting the ball in the back of the net seemed to be the real problem.
“In the second half and extra time it was all us, but it's an English cup game on a difficult pitch,” Arsene Wenger said. “Overall I cannot fault the effort of the players. It was a traditional English cup game and Bradford got on top of us.
“The pitch was a bit slippery. Bradford defended very deep and played the ball forward. There was not much space. When it goes to penalties you know what can happen. When you miss the first penalty of course it is difficult.
“We played a very offensive team and for over an hour we played with five strikers and created many goal-scoring situations. But they defended very well and it was difficult to play this kind of game.
“We lost on penalties against a team who defended well. I cannot fault the effort of our team and you have to give credit to Bradford. I don't think it was a lack of quality it's just we could not convert our chances for different reasons.”
It’s been seven years without a trophy for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger could be asked to pack his bags and move at the end of the season. The Frenchman admits he anticipates a sack, but not just yet. Arsenal might not be favorites in the Champions League, but they are fighting their way back to the top in the English Premier League. Nonetheless, defeat to Bradford will leave an ugly scar in the minds of Arsene Wenger and his men, who were already lacking confidence.
“You feel embarrassed when you don't give everything,” Arsene Wenger added. “I think the players are more disappointed and frustrated. When you go out it is never good enough for Arsenal, but we'll get over this. It's part of our job.”