Wojciech Szczesny Must Move on From His Drop for Arsenal to Succeed This Year
In Arsenal's first cup final since the 2007, the Gunners were widely expected to beat Birmingham City to claim silverware for the first time since 2005.
However, going into the final, the Gunners suffered a major blow when it was revealed that their captain Cesc Fabregas would miss the match with an injury to his hamstring.
Early on, it did appear that the Gunners did miss their captain and were lucky to not to be down a man inside the first two minutes when Wojciech Szczesny tripped up Lee Bowyer inside the penalty area.
But the assistant referee called the play back for offsides, even though Bowyer was shown to be onside during subsequent replays.
Birmingham City were able to get a well deserved goal in the 28th minute off a Nikola Zigic header from a corner kick, but Arsenal were able to offset that goal with a Robin van Persie goal in the 40th minute.
Despite the goal, Birmingham City and Arsenal were two sides that were evenly matched and appeared to be heading towards extra time before one of the most memorable (or unmemorable) moments of the Carling Cup final occurred.
Following an Arsenal foul, Birmingham City keeper Ben Foster took a long free kick into the penalty area hoping for something miraculous to happen.
And something memorable sure did happen: Foster's ball went into the penalty area and caused massed confusion between Szczensny and Laurent Koscielny, which led to Szczensny mishandling the ball and allowing it to roll to Birmingham's Obafemi Martin.
Once Martin was able to receive the ball and deposit it home, there was no doubt that not only Birmingham City were going to win their first English League Cup since 1963, but also that Szczesny and Koscielny were always be remembered for this moment.
However, for Arsenal to achieve any success this season, it is imperative that Szczesny must forget what happened in the biggest game of his young career.
Right now, Arsenal finds their season in crossroads, with one side showing the same road that Arsenal have riden in over the last six years—getting close to silverware but not being able to claim it once they finish their journey.
The other road shows Arsenal achieving either a Premier League title or claiming a trophy in cup competition this season.
In Arsenal's next two cup matches, they will face Leyton Orient and Barcelona in what could be Arsenal's final match respectively, in both the FA Cup and the Champions League.
If Arsenal fail to advance from either of these two matchups in which they could claim an advantage (being at home against Leyton Orient and being ahead on aggregate over Barcelona), the Gunners will find themselves out of yet another competition.
Obviously, Arsenal will try to win both of these matches but they also will need to maintain their focus on winning the Premier League for the first time since their invincible 2003-2004 season.
Currently, the Gunners are four points out of tying Manchester United for first place in the league, but if Arsenal are to win anything this season, they will need Szczesny to move on from what happened in this Carling Cup final.
As Arsenal's starting goalkeeper, Szczesny has looked fantastic and has certainly played a major role in Arsenal's success this year.
If that is to continue, Szczesny has to make sure he improves his communication with his defenders and must continue to work hard on set pieces such as the one that Arsenal failed on in this cup final.
If Arsenal are to reach their full potential, Wojclech Szczesny must make sure that he puts what happened in the Carling Cup final behind him and focus on winning trophies this season.
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