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Paying the penalty

Posted on 21 September 2010  - 12:00

Two penalties in the first six minutes of extra time signalled our exit from the Carling Cup as Arsenal ran out 4-1 winners on Tuesday night.

Paying the penalty

Two penalties in the first six minutes of extra time signalled our exit from the Carling Cup as Arsenal ran out 4-1 winners on Tuesday night.

A keenly-contested third round tie ended 1-1 after 90 minutes but took a turn for the worse at the start of the extra periods.

Sebastien Bassong was penalised for the slightest touch on Samir Nasri in the 93rd minute and Nasri picked himself up to slot home from the spot.

The same player repeated the trick three minutes later when debutant Steven Caulker tripped Marouane Chamakh.

It was a quick one-two and Andrey Arshavin delivered the knockout punch in the final minute of the first half of extra time.

As expected, both teams made a host of changes, although it would be fair to say that Arsenal's team was far from the 'youth team' that had been predicted as the likes of Laurent Koscienly, Tomas Rosicky, Denilson, Nasri, Jack Wilshere, Emmanuel Eboue and Kieran Gibbs all lined-up at the Lane.

Goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa, young defender Steven Caulker and summer recruit Sandro all came in for their debuts while Jake Livermore made his first start and Kyle Naughton only his second.

David Bentley, Giovani and Sebastien Bassong also returned, with Bassong named captain.

Before kick-off, time to reflect on the sad passing of legendary double-winning striker Bobby Smith and a rousing minute's applause.

The first half was end to end, without the contest really catching fire.

We survived an early penalty scare when Benoit Assou-Ekotto tangled with Henri Lansbury.

It didn't take long for Lansbury to make his mark though. Wilshere burst down our left in the 16th minute and Lansbury was there to tap in his low cross from close range.

Bentley lashed just wide and Pavlyuchenko fired into the side-netting and there were few other clear-cut chances.

We needed it spark and, like Saturday's win against Wolves, it came from the bench.

Robbie Keane and Aaron Lennon entered the fray for Giovani and Livermore at half-time and it took just three minutes for Keane to make his mark.

Naughton burst forward from the right and prodded the ball through Arsenal's defensive line. They waited for offside but Keane was away, steadied himself and side-footed beyond Lukasz Fabianski into the bottom corner. Game on.

Now the chances arrived. Vela headed Nasri's cross over, Wilshere shot straight at Pletikosa and at the other end, Keane sent Lennon clear but he delayed long enough for Koscielny to slide in to block.

Arsenal brought on two heavyweight substitutes in Arshavin and Chamakh on 72 minutes as both teams searched for the win.

Pletikosa was forced into his first serious save in the final minute, palming away Nasri's 20-yarder and Sandro was forced into a last-ditch clearance in added time, but it stayed 1-1 and extra time beckoned.

The two quickfire penalties completely turned the game in Arsenal's favour and we were suddenly chasing our tails at 3-1 down.

There might have been a glimmer of hope had Bentley found the target with a close-range header that struck the outside of the post after 99 minutes, but Arshavin's low strike across Pletikosa distinguised any lingering flame of a possible comeback.

Spurs: Pletikosa; Naughton, Caulker, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto; Palacios, Livermore (Lennon, 46), Sandro (Kranjcar, 96), Bentley; Giovani (Keane, 46); Pavlyuchenko. Subs: Cudicini, Hutton, Huddlestone, Jenas.

Arsenal: Fabianski; Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs (Clichy, 102); Denilson, Lansbury, Wilshere, Rosicky (Arshavin, 72); Nasri; Vela (Chamakh, 72). Subs: Almunia, Sagna, Eastmond, Emmanuel-Thomas.

Goals: Spurs - Keane, 49. Arsenal - Lansbury 15, Nasri 92 pen, 96 pen, Arshavin 105.

Attendance: 35,883.

Referee: Mr L Probert.