Carling Cup: Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1

Wednesday 28 October 2009 Carling Cup – Result

Arsenal 2 – 1 Liverpool

Match reports:

BBC: “Arsenal proved too strong for Liverpool as they beat the Reds in an absorbing Carling Cup fourth round tie. Fran Merida thundered in an 18-yard shot to put Arsenal ahead. Emiliano Insua equalised with a superb 25-yard dipping strike but Nicklas Bendtner shot into the roof of the net for what proved to be the winner…”

The Times: “A distinguished Liverpool old boy once said that teams “win nothing with kids”, but, if the Merseyside club’s fifth defeat in six matches told us anything, it was that their resources at youth level cannot match those at Arsenal, whose youngsters swaggered into the Carling Cup quarter-finals for the seventh successive season thanks to goals from Fran Mérida and Nicklas Bendtner. It would be an exaggeration to liken this to an FA Youth Cup game, since there were 14 full internationals on the pitch at the start of play, but the most memorable contributions came from those with long futures ahead of them. Mérida’s opening goal was spectacular, albeit matched seven minutes later by an equally spectacular effort from Emiliano Insúa, Liverpool’s young left back, while the performances in the Arsenal midfield of Aaron Ramsey and Craig Eastmond, an 18-year-old from Wandsworth, were highly encouraging…”

The Guardian: “The sheer zest of these players flooded a fourth-round Carling Cup tie with consequence. Arsenal were more incisive over the course of the night and deserved the victory. If there was any consolation for the Liverpool manager, Rafael Benítez, it lay in seeing the midfielder Alberto Aquilani, a £20m signing who has been sidelined with an ankle injury, at last make his debut as a substitute. With 13 minutes left, the Italian stepped into an animated game and he might have had a penalty in stoppage time when his attempt hit the arms of Philippe Senderos…”

The Telegraph: “Arsène Wenger may just have unearthed another gem. With all eyes on the arrival in English football of Liverpool’s Alberto Aquilani, it was actually another midfielder – Fran Merida – whose presence lit up the Emirates and tipped the scales in favour of Arsenal.Flawless in possession, Merida was also incisive going forward, scoring an outstanding goal and then helping to create Nicklas Bendtner’s winner.”

The Mirror: “Nicklas Bendtner sent Arsenal into the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup as Arsene Wenger’s kids showed Liverpool the strength they have in reserve. Fran Merida, who is out of contract in the summer, opened the scoring at the Emirates Stadium with a spectacular drive before Emiliano Insua levelled with a dipping lob before the break for Liverpool, who gave Alberto Aquilani his debut off the bench. Denmark striker Bendtner finished off a sweeping move constructed by Wenger’s youngsters just after the interval for the winner in the fourth-round clash…”

The Sun: Don’t buy it.

Arsenal: 21 Fabianski, 6 Senderos, 18 Silvestre, 28 Gibbs, 37 Eastmond (48 Randall, 75), 42 Gilbert, 8 Nasri, 16 Ramsey, 32 Merida (35 Coquelin, 87), 9 Eduardo, 52 Bendtner (54 Watt, 76)
Subs unused: 53 Szczesny, 34 Bartley, 41 Frimpong, 51 Sunu
Bookings: None
Goals: Merida 19, Bendtner 50

Liverpool: 1 Cavalieri, 16 Kyrgiakos, 22 Insua, 27 Degen (39 Eccleston, 88), 37 Skrtel, 26 Spearing, 28 Plessis (4 Aquilani, 76), 10 Voronin, 18 Kuyt, 19 Babel, 24 Ngog (15 Benayoun, 74)
Subs unused: 25 Reina, 32 Darby, 38 Dossena, 40 Ayala
Bookings: None
Goal: Insua 26

Stats: Arsenal-Liverpool
Possession: 57%-43%
Shots on target: 5-8
Shots off target: 5-5
Corners: 7-6
Fouls: 10-12

Attendance: 60,004

Referee: Alan Wiley