Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gunners news : Ipswich 1-0 Arsenal

A second half goal from Tamas Priskin gave Ipswich Town a 1-0 advantage in their Carling Cup semi-final against Arsenal after Ian McParland's side dominated the Gunners in a surprisingly one-sided affair at Portman Road.

With incoming manager Paul Jewell watching from the stands, McParland's men had the better of the game and revived memories of Ipswich's glorious past.

The Suffolk side have great cup heritage with the Sir Bobby Robson sides of the late seventies and early eighties winning both the FA Cup in 1978 and taking home the UEFA Cup three years later.

Their only other major silverware was clinching the league title under Sir Alf Ramsey way back in 1962. Both these men have had such an enormous effect on the English game that statues of both stand outside Portman Road. Those halcyon days seem an eternity away as the club finds itself languishing at the wrong end of the Championship.

A lack of silverware is not the sole preserve of Ipswich. Five long years have passed since a trophy was won at the Emirates and is now a growing concern for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal which indicates the need to field strong teams in all competitions this year, and this game was no different. Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas and Andrey Arshavin were all in the starting XI. A clear statement of intent by the Gunners.

Ipswich too entered the game all guns blazing and McParland decided to go out with a bang by selecting a 4-3-3 formation, a ploy which very nearly paid off as after 13 minutes Hungarian Tamas Priskin’s powerful run from the left channel resulted in a shot which narrowly whizzed by the left hand upright of Wojciech Szczesny’s goal.

Surprisingly it was Ipswich who controlled the tempo of the first half and it took Arsenal over half an hour to have an attempt of any real value. A pass from Denilson found Walcott in the middle of the park and his shot was fired directly at Marton Fulop.

Things remained in favour of Ipswich but Arsenal did have a great opportunity when Mark Kennedy obstructed Emmanuel Eboue on the edge of the box. Fabregas stepped up to take the dead ball but delivered into the wall and the frustration grew for the Londoners.

Any neutral would say that McParland’s side were clearly the better of the two teams and once again Arsenal were fortunate to not be losing when after 38 minutes more great work from the talented Priskin lost two defenders but his cross was too high for the diminutive David Norris.

Only moments later Ipswich scored a terrific goal which was called back for offside. Carlos Edwards cut into the right channel, and sent the ball inside to Colin Healy who’s heavy touch meant the famous Arsenal offside trap was sprung before the spectacularly controlled and finished bicycle kick from Priskin hit the back of the net.

As the teams made for the dressing rooms, the Suffolkers would have been immensely proud of their first half. Paul Jewell, wanting in the proverbial wings, will also have been delighted with what he was watching.

The second half continued in the same vein and Ipswich had their best chance of the evening when, on the hour a long ball over the top from Jamie Peters beat Laurent Koscielny and fell for the ever busy Priskin. The forward, who was being tracked by Koscielny and Eboue, couldn’t manage to get the shot away and Arsenal breathed a sigh of relief yet again.

Wenger decided enough was enough and brought on Alex Song and Marouane Chamakh for Jack Wilshere and Nicklas Bendtner.

The changes did make a difference for Arsenal as the Gunners fashioned another chance when a strong run down the left form Kieran Gibbs resulted in a great cross which Fabregas could only connect with with his thigh.

That wastefulness was punished shortly after when the tireless Priskin's labours finally bore fruit with another ball over the top which allowed the Hungarian to run onto goal and coolly stroke under the advancing Szczesny to give the Tractor Boys a deserved lead in the tie.

He was later taken off for Ronan Murray and given the standing ovation he truly deserved.



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