West Brom vs. Arsenal: Capital One Cup Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Arsenal survived the third round of the Capital One Cup with a 4-3 penalty-shootout victory at West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night. The Gunners will host Chelsea in the fourth round.
Nacho Monreal converted the decisive spot-kick for Arsenal, who trailed 3-1 at one point in the shootout. Chuba Akpom, Kris Olsson and Nicklas Bendtner also scored in the shootout for the Gunners, while Serge Gnabry had his shot saved.
Steven Reid, Markus Rosenberg and James Morrison scored in the shootout for West Brom, but Craig Dawson and Morgan Amalfitano missed the target with their kicks.
The match ended 1-1 after 90 and 120 minutes. German midfielder Thomas Eisfeld scored his first senior goal with Arsenal to put the Gunners ahead in the 61st minute.
Saido Berahino leveled for West Brom 10 minutes later.
Eisfeld was just one of many unfamiliar faces in Arsenal's lineup as manager Arsene Wenger rested most of his first-team regulars. Bendtner, the Denmark international striker, made his first Arsenal appearance in more than two years, sporting a new look with beard and ponytail. Captain Thomas Vermaelen also returned to Arsenal's starting lineup for the first time this season.
After an uneventful first half, the game came to life midway through the second. West Brom came close to taking the lead on the hour with the first clear chance for either side. Youssouf Mulumbu cranked a high shot on goal from the edge of the box in the middle, but Arsenal goalkeeperLukasz Fabianski tipped the ball over for a corner.
Moments later, Arsenal were ahead.
Serge Gnabry won the ball on the right side of midfield and passed to Bendtner, who held his pass momentarily before picking out the run of Eisfeld. After taking a cushioned first touch, Eisfeld slotted past Daniels coolly at the near post.
The goal gave Arsenal confidence, and the Gunners pushed forward for a second. But 10 minutes later, West Brom drew level. The visitors failed to clear a corner, and Berahino headed in Shane Long's cross from the right.
4 - West Brom's Saido Berahino has scored four goals in just two League cup appearances this season. Specialist.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 25, 2013
In extra time, both teams carved out—and wasted—chances.
First, in the 96th minute, Arsenal countered quickly as Gnabry picked out Bendtner with a precise through ball. With only the keeper to beat, Bendtner waited to long to shoot, giving Craig Dawson time to tackle away the ball.
Then it was West Brom's turn.
In the 116th minute, Amalfitano collected a pass on the right side the box, took a touch and slammed a high shot off the bar. A minute later, Rosenberg nearly broke the deadlock after a scramble in front of Arsenal's goal.
Then, in the 118th minute, Rosenberg picked out Scott Sinclair as West Brom broke forward quickly. The ball found Sinclair free in the box, but his weak volley was off-target.
That set the stage for penalties. Arsenal rode their luck into the next round.
West Brom wasteful. Arsenal should be out, but still 1-1 with a few minutes of extra-time left.— James Dall (@JamesDallESPN) September 25, 2013
Nicklas Bendtner, Arsenal: C+
Bendtner made his first appearance for Arsenal in two years, and even though he featured for other clubs during that time, some rust showed. His first involvement was to run into the post, prompting jokes about finally making an impact on the pitch.
During that first half, Bendtner often looked off the pace, and his movement was not intuitive.
In the second half, though, he set up Eisfeld's goal with a clever pass.
In extra time, he blew a glorious chance. But he converted his kick in the penalty shootout. In other words, there were good moments and bad. Taken all together, Bendtner was a bit above average in his return.
Thomas Eisfeld, Arsenal: C
Eisfeld took his chance well but otherwise failed to put his mark on the match. For a player with his potential, this match was an opportunity to show what he can do.
He largely let that chance go by.
I like Eisfeld but if he doesn't start making an impact in games like this he won't last at #afc— Jon Molyneux-Carter (@jmolyneuxcarter) September 25, 2013
First-placed Arsenal return to the Premier League on Saturday with a trip to Swansea. Following that is a home match against Napoli in the Champions League.
The fourth-round Capital One Cup home match against Chelsea is scheduled for Oct. 29/30.
West Brom return to the Premier League with a match at Manchester United on Saturday.
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