Carling Cup: West Ham Stun United, Arsenal Pass Wigan
It rained cats and goals all night for Alex Ferguson’s side as West Ham United kept scoring until the rain turned into snow. Foot of the table in Premiership, the Hammers thwarted leaders United 4-0 at the Upton Park in Carling Cup quarter finals. Avram Grant, former Chelsea coach, led West Ham to their first League Cup semi finals since 1989. The Hammers scored a double-double that stunned United in what has been their biggest defeat of the season. Alex Ferguson charged Bebe and Hernandez with the goal-responsibility, but neither the Mexican, nor Bebe, nor Macheda could score for Manchester.
Manchester felt Berbatov’s absence after the Bulgarian striker hit five past Blackburn this weekend in United’s 7-1 win over Rovers. It is also true that the Scottish manager didn’t use ten starters, but neither did Avram Grant. The Israeli boss also rested six key players from Tuesday’s game. Thus, Hammers’ bench proved to be too good than United’s. Despite Ferguson didn’t send more starters against West Ham, he decided to use Evans, O’Shea, Fletcher, Ryan Giggs, Anderson and Hernandez. However, both Spector and Cole came up with a double each. Spector opened the score in the 22nd minute against his former club after Obinha’s action. American’s double would be completed just 15 minutes later. Once again Obinha directed a wonderful action that saw Spector scoring his second English goal in career. He scored from close range to beat keeper Kuszczak for the second time. This was also half time’s result.
The two sides looked almost the same even in the second period. Cole would make it 3-0 just ten minutes into the second half as they were already shaping an historical victory over the Premier League leaders. With Obinha producing his assist-hat-trick, Cole brought the joy with a diving header past keeper. Finally, the last one came just ten minutes later. Obinhia shined the brightest in Birmingham’s snow to serve once again Cole for his double. The left striker, who would have been replaced later in the game, turned Evans to shot past keeper from six or so meters.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s youngsters might need some education following this defeat, one that stunned the Scottish manager. “I didn’t expect that, that’s for sure. But if you analyse why we’ve lost, the goals we’ve given away were too soft. You just can’t give goals away like that at this level. They’re all young players. We’ve invested in youth, we’ve done that well over the years, and they will come on from this. They will remember tonight. It’s unfortunate that it was a quarter-final of the cup and we had a good opportunity of winning it again this year,” said Ferguson after the game.
He would look satisfied with the manner the team kept the ball possession in the first part of the match, but would complain youngsters’ lack of concentration. The coach mentioned in the same time that they proved to be too young for turning the situation upside down at one point. Indeed, enthusiasm replaced efficiency on Tuesday night. West Ham United gets closer to their third League Cup final. They also played the last round back in 1966 and 1981. They qualified for the quarter finals after passing Stoke City 3-1 in the last 16.
Arsenal 2 – 0 Wigan Athletic
Arsene Wenger is also happy to have his youngsters in the semi finals. The French manager also used part of the first team. Thus, he sent Bendtner, Theo Walcott, Eboue, van Persie and Samir Nasri in Tuesday’s game. The opening goal came from Wigan’s Alcaraz, the center defender sending the ball into his own net to make Athletic look like a relegation zone-team they are. The half time went 1-0 to the Londoners, Arsene Wenger’s side heading to their fifth League Cup final. They last reached it in 2007. Concerning the second half, it saw the Gunners looking for more just to make sure they will be there playing the final. Bendtner made it 2-0 in the 67th minute after Vela froze Wigan’s defense with a tremendous pass that found the Danish striker alone inside the box as he scored past keeper Al Habsi.
It’s been a warm win on a cold night. Wenger would admit that the main goal is to claim the trophy. Arsenal won two League Cups, last occasion in 1993. On contrast, they collected ten FA Cups, last occasion in 2005 when Wenger also had a solid contribution. The Frenchman would praise his team for not giving Wigan any opportunity to score. Furthermore, Arsenal’s defense looked very well against one of the weakest sides in Premiership. Dutch Robin van Persie played his first match since August. Injury left the midfielder out for almost three months. He played 70 minutes last night, but he is expected to play more time in the near future.
Apart from this, Wenger couldn’t believe Manchester United conceded a shameful 0-4 defeat in front of West Ham United and claimed that he cannot explain this loss the more United just showed great form in Premier League. Other two matches are scheduled to take place on Wednesday 1 December. Birmingham City, who just beat defending champions Chelsea 1-0, host Aston Villa, who follows a 4-2 home defeat against Liverpool. West Bromwich Albion, who had a surprising start of the season, will make the trip to Ipswich to face Town at the Portman Road.11