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Sam Foster
Upper Sixth
School House

The wait continues as Arsenal flop

The wait continues as Arsenal flop

Arsenal yet again shot themselves in the foot yesterday when, in the 89th minute, after having been really pressurizing against Birmingham, another communications break own between goalkeeper and defender gave Obefami Martins the perfect chance to become a Birmingham hero.

On the newly-designed Wembley surface, Robin Van Persie and Stephen Carr led their teams out ready to play a pivotal game in both teams season. Arsenal, who were challenging on all four fronts, wanted to use this as a springboard to bigger and better things, whereas Birmingham are edging ever closer to the relegation zone which, at this time of year, is not the ideal place to be.

The game started in vibrant fashion and, with Arsenal missing a few key players, Birmingham put the pressure on straight away. There was a moment of contention almost instantly when Lee Bowyer raced clear into the area and was hauled down by Szczesny for what would have been a penalty and, in all probability, a red card for the keeper.

The Gunners were relieved as the linesman’s flag had already been raised — but their opponents were frustrated by the fact that the decision was incorrect. Arsenal nearly increased Birmingham’s sense of injustice when Arshavin forced Foster into a fine save on the turn as the favourites attempted to exert early authority.

As the game went on, Birmingham managed to get more into it and were not only defending robustly; they were also looking dangerous coming forward. Finally, come the 28th minute, Birmingham won a corner and after a small amount of ‘head tennis’, Zigic managed to escape from Djourou and find the back of the net from mere yards out.

Arsenal responded well to this and only 11 minutes later were level, after some great play by Jack Wilshere and a thumping shot at the end coming off the woodwork. Arshavin picked up the pieces, and crossed for an airborne Van Persie to volley brilliantly beyond the reach of the keeper.

Ben Foster, who was very much Birmingham’s hero, was splendid throughout, saving three times from Nasri and also from Arshavin and Bendtner. Roger Johnson also played his part in such a way that, through commanding the defence, Arsenal were unable to ever really get through.

Overall Birmingham can be thrilled with what they achieved, not only did they win a trophy for the first time in almost 50 years, they were also a fantastic example on how to stop Arsenal from reaching 5th gear.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger was bitterly disappointed but did not blame anyone, stating: "A little misunderstanding had a great consequence on the game and both players are destroyed. I blame no-one". "When these things happen late in the game, there is no time to rectify it."

Blues boss Alex Mcleish was ecstatic and proudly announced: "Relatively speaking, it is my greatest achievement. For a small club like ours to beat Arsenal is a titanic effort." He also claimed that: “No-one gave us a prayer, we were underdogs but sometimes the bookies don’t get it right” and that was indeed the case as Birmingham will now look to the league with belief that they can now more than salvage their season.

11 March 2011

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