First cup final since 2007 secured
It took a lot of patience and some character, but Arsenal did not let slip of a berth into the Carling Cup final on Tuesday as they defeated Ipswich Town 3-0 to overturn a first-leg deficit.
Arsenal saw none of the comfort to Wembley many expected once this tie was set up and in truth, Ipswich were successfully defying the odds tonight until quick-fire goals from Nicklas Bendtner, Laurent Koscielny and Cesc Fabregas turned the semi-final contest on its head after an hour of frustration for the hosts.
Indeed, the visitors came close to doubling their 1-0 aggregate lead with the very first kick of the game on Tuesday as Grant Leadbitter lofted a shot onto the roof of the net – in attempt to beat Arsenal’s off-guard goalkeeper – right from the kick-off.
Paul Jewell’s side retreated into their shells thereafter, though, and invited Arsenal pressure for much of the opening 45 minutes.
The Gunners struggled to break down the Tractor Boys’ stubborn resistance, with a Robin van Persie header which cannoned off the face of the crossbar as close as they came to finding a route back into the tie.
It was, however, only a matter of time before the breakthrough came and it duly arrived on 61 minutes when Jack Wilshere picked out Bendtner and he cut inside Carlos Edwards before stroking the ball into the bottom corner.
Less than two minutes later the Gunners were on their way to Wembley, with Koscielny beating Marton Fulop to an Andrey Arshavin corner and glancing home.
Fabregas then ended any hope Ipswich had of staging a recovery when he netted a third on 77 minutes, with the Spaniard rounding of a flowing counter attack by drilling through the legs of Fulop.