Arsenal suffered one of the most humiliating defeats in their history as they were knocked out of the League Cup quarter-finals by Bradford City on penalties.
The Gunners have faced a lot of criticism this season for their worst start to a Premier League campaign in manager Arsene Wenger’s 16-year reign, and tonight’s defeat and performance is only going to heap more pressure on the beleaguered Arsenal manager.
What has to frustrate Wenger the most, is that he lost playing his best side. This was not a team for the future that Arsenal put out tonight. This was the first team with the likes of Wilshere, Podolski and Cazorla.
“They defended well and we all know what happened on the penalties. We had many, many chances and their keeper had a good game,” Wenger said.
“Whenever you go out it’s not a good result for Arsenal. We lost on penalties to a team who played very well. I cannot fault the effort of my team, we gave everything for the 120 minutes and you have to give credit to Bradford.
“It’s not a lack of quality. We’ll get over this, it’s part of our job. We’ll focus on the next game.”
After Bradford midfielder Garry Thompson took advantage of woeful Arsenal defending to volley home a free-kick at the far post in the 16th minute, Parkinson’s side must have expected to be tested to the limit by their illustrious opponents at Valley Parade.
But instead a strong Arsenal team took until the 88th minute to equalise when Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen headed home from a Santi Cazorla cross.
The Gunners were just as laboured in extra time and they paid the price in the penalty shoot-out, which Bradford won 3-2 as Cazorla’s kick was saved by Matt Duke and Marouane Chamakh and Vermaelen both hit the post.
Bradford’s ninth successive penalty shoot-out victory booked their first ever appearance in the League Cup semi-finals.
Arsene Wenger will get all the blame for this defeat, but surely the players have to shoulder a lot of the blame. There was a lot of experience in Arsenal colours tonight, but there was not a lot of passion.