- match commentary
- English Capital One Cup
- 11 December 2012, 7:45pm
- The Coral Windows Stadium
- Attendance: 23,971
3-2: But VERMAELEN MISSES! BRADFORD ARE INTO THE CAPITAL ONE CUP SEMI-FINALS! The Belgian hits the inside of the right hand post and Valley Parade erupts! What a season they're having, but this is a new barrel-scraping low for Arsenal.
3-2: Jones has this to win it for Bradford.. but it's SAVED by Szczesny. A timid, bnervous penalty! 3-2: Big pressure on the Ox. He nets ruthlessly. 3-1: Connell nets confidently 2-1: wilshere scores calmly 2-0: Szczesny saves from Darby! 2-0: Chamakh hits the post! Disaster looming for the Gunners. 2-0: Jones whacks it home! 1-0: Duke saves from Cazorla! 1-0: Doyle scores!
ET 30 mins: WE WILL HAVE PENALTIES!! Don't touch that button! Live commentary of the shootout is coming right up.
ET 29 mins: A yellow card is flashed at Hanson. I missed the offence. Sorry.
ET 27 mins: Another hopeless final ball; this time Rosicky is the guilty party. Wenger looks strained in his technical area. He knows penalty kicks gives his side only a 50/50 chance. Whilst extra time lasts, their chances against a totally knackered Bradford are much better than that.
ET 25 mins: Chamakh gives Oxlade-Chamberlain a hospital pass in the Bradford box and the ex-Southampton winger gives him both barrels in complaining about it. Are Arsenal running out of steam a bit here?
ET 22 mins: Still Bradford hold on. Oxlade-Chamberlain is slipped in by Rosicky down the right but his cross is absolutely hideous.
ET 18 mins: Yowzers! Cazorla, who's been poking and probing with greater intensity as this game has gone on, takes aim from 25 yards and his wobbling drive thunks against the top of the crossbar!
ET 16 mins: We're under way again and Chamakh's run to the near post is picked out at a corner. His flick header drifts beyond the far post, however.
ET HALF TIME: Bradford clinging on. Shall I mention for a third time that Bradford have won their last eight successive penalty shootouts? Looks like i just did.
ET 13 mins: Oxlade-Chamberlain slips Sagna in down the right. The Frenchman's cross deflects off the first defender, looping up to Gibbs at the far stick. He gets a little too much air on his header which ends up on the roof of the net. Just beforehand, Bantams fans wanted a penalty for a supposed Vermaelen foul but pleas smacked a little of desperation.
ET 10 mins: Duke makes a decent save down by his near post. When the resulting corner comes in, Sagna heads through a crowd of players and Darby heads it off the line. It may actually have been going wide.
ET 9 mins: Arsenal totally dominant now. Gervinho snakes his way to the byline on the left but his cutback is whipped off Gibbs' toe by McHugh.
ET 6 mins: Mesmerising run from Wilshere. He plays a one-two with Chamakh and snakes his way past three defenders, and suddenly a shooting chance opens up. He takes perhaps one touch too many before the angle becomes too narrow and his eventual shot is smothered by Duke.
ET 3 mins: Rosicky's pull-back from the right sees Oxlade-Chamberlain stretching to get his shot away. It hits McArdle on the shoulder at point blank range and penalty appeals are rightly deemed to be bunkum by Mike Dean.
ET 2 mins: Substitution for the Bantams as West Ham loanee Blair Turgott comes on for Atkinson.
ET 1 mins: Vermaelen is booked for catching Connell.
ET 0 mins: No rest for the wicked. Extra time is off and running.
FULL TIME: We will have an extra half an hour here at the Coral Windows Stadium, otherwise known as Valley Parade. Bradford looked more and more fatigued as that second half went on, for which you can hardly blame them. They've been outstanding tonight, but the momentum, one feels, is now with the Gunners. Don't go away now!
90+4 mins: Arsenal almost snatch it! Twice! Cazorla's 30-yard free kick is parried by Duke. Bradford scruffily clear, but it's whacked goalwards by Rosicky. Duke once again plunges to his right to repel it, then McHugh slides in to hack away as Gervinho piles in to attempt to bury the loose ball.
90+3 mins: Arsenal camped on the edge of the Bradford box, which is being manned by all those in claret and amber. Doyle is booked for tripping up Cazorla, 30 yards out...
90 mins: We'll be having four minutes of the old injury time malarkey.
88 mins: I guess Arsenal couldn't continue to be quite so incompetent forever. One delicious cross from Cazorla and a second's lack of concentration from Bradford was all it took for all the hosts' excellent work to be undone. It ain't over for them yet though.
87 mins: ARSENAL ARE LEVEL!! Bradford's bold resistance is finally pierced. Cazorla's corner is headed back to him by McArdle, and his second cross is a peach, floated to the far post where Vermaelen darts in to bullet a header into the net from only a couple of yards.
86 mins: Pressure growing from Arsenal now. Cazorla's drive deflects away for a corner...
84 mins: Arsenal slalom down the left but Oxlade-Chamberlain's low, driven cross eludes Rosicky and his off-balance shot flies well off target.
83 mins: Sagna hurtles down the right but his cross from the byline is tidied up so calmly by Meredith. As well as being a new low in Arsenal's season, this is surely a new high for Bradford.
80 mins: Belatedly, Arsenal reigster a second shot on target. Wilshere's low drive is repelled by Duke down to his left. Pretty comfortable save, in truth.
78 mins: Bradford are approaching this situation so, so well. They haven't gone into a defensive bunker. They've got enough players still stationed in forward positions to keep the ball in Arsenal's half for decent periods.
76 mins: Fifteen minutes for Arsenal to find something. *Anything*. Worth remembering that there are no replays. This has to be done and dusted tonight. And Bradford have won their last eight penalty shootouts.
74 mins: The sensational Wells is taken off after a night of tireless running the channels. Alan Connell, another striker, is his replacement. No shutting up shop here from Phil Parkinson. "FOR THE OF LOVE OF GOD SACK WENGER NOW PLEASE," bellows Stu in Durham.
72 mins: The goalscorer Thompson is taken off by Phil Parkinson, replaced by Ritchie Jones.
71 mins: At last some concerted Arsenal pressure, but Chamakh heads over from a corner to give Bradford a few more seconds for a breather.
70 mins: Oxlade-Chamberlain immediately produces Arsenal's first shot on target, forcing Duke into a routine low parry.
69 mins: Tomas Rosicky and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain come on for the utterly anonymous Podolski and the bloodied Ramsey.
67 mins: Wells is booked for a late flick out at Wilshere.
65 mins: Bradford are in the midst of a good spell of pressure, winning 50/50s and keeping the ball in the 'wrong' areas, from an Arsenal point of view. Chamakh then breaks but passes the ball straight to Jones. Garbage.
63 mins: Ramsey re-enters the fray but immediately gives the ball away sloppily in midfield. Arsenal cannot get a grip on this game. RE the comments at half time, Chris in Exeter retorts: "Mike-Sorry 2 disappoint U -I'm an OAP Watford fan who hates cheats of ANY CLUB." Amen to that Chris. There are a lot of irritating things in football. Diving is right up there. It's even worse when referees fall for it.
61 mins: Ramsey has taken a nasty whack on the conk and goes off to have the blood mopped up.
59 mins: Another poor decision by Gervinho in the opposition box. Slipped the ball by Cazorla, he neither shoots nor crosses with an angled prod and the ball drifts harmlessly wide. Marouanne Chamakh comes on for Coquelin.
57 mins: Another spurned opening by Arsenal. Somehow Coquelin has escaped down the right and has time to pick a pass into the danger zone. He whacks it past Podolski at the near post and the ball flies all the way through the area. The German is not happy.
54 mins: Promising counter from Arsenal here. Gervinho feeds Cazorla on the left who slips it back inside for Ramsey just inside the box. He cuts inside his marker, cocks his right foot back but his shot is wayward. Has Matt Duke made a save yet? I don't think he has y'know.
51 mins: Wells is on the rampage again, somehow staying onside down the right but failing to pick out his partner in crime Hanson with his cross from the byline.
49 mins: Arsenal are hogging the ball but are not hurting Bradford at all. Their possession is too deep and it all seems to break down when they do dare to probe further forward.
47 mins: Wilshere's powerful cross is cleared just as Gervinho prepares to attack it. He'd probably have missed anyway. Down the other end, Bradford attack at pace down the left, but the cross is just beyond Hanson at the far stick.
46 mins: Welcome back. The abuse has been (prematurely?) piling in for Arsenal from you lot. "Strange how Arsenal find it hard to score without dubious penalties!" says Chris in Exeter (possibly a West Brom fan still harbouring bitterness from Saturday). Katie in Bradford adds: "Come on Bradford, show the highly paid women that you dont have to have the big money you need loyal fans." I'm sure Arsenal's fans would argue they're loyal too, Katie. Fat lot of good it's done them lately.
HALF TIME: Bradford are cock-a-hoop at the break as they head down the tunnel leading full-strength big boys Arsenal. They've been strong, robust, and in Nahki Wells have a quick, dangerous operator. Arsenal have hit the post, hogged the ball, missed a sitter but have not bulged the onion bag.
44 mins: So, SO close to a second for Bradford! Hanson wins a knockdown from a goal kick, setting Wells free once he's wriggled past the last man Vermaelen. He toe-pokes the ball past the prone Szczesny and it rolls, almost in slow-motion, *this far* wide!
42 mins: A howler by Gervinho! So, so close to an equaliser. Gibbs flashes the ball across the six yard box and Gervinho only has to push his right foot forward at the apposite moment to tap it into the net. Sadly for him, he's a milisecond too late in doing so and the ball skims off his instep and embarrassingly wide.
40 mins: Cazorla tries his luck from distance, whipping his right foot across the ball but not quite getting enough fade on it. Wide.
38 mins: Against the post! Coquelin beats one defender via a lucky ricochet and smacks a low left-footer from the edge of the box which pings off the outside of the post and away to safety. At last some encouragement for the visitors.
36 mins: Unfortunately, the virtual first-choice team that Wenger picked makes this doubly embarrassing for the Arsenal boss. Had he played a load of ridiculously young, skilful French and Spanish kids from the youth team, as he usually does, he'd have had a ready-made excuse.
33 mins: Gibbs absolutely creams a bullet of a shot just over the angle of post and bar. The flag had already gone up against Podolski, but, blimey, there's someone sitting just behind that goal who must have felt that.
31 mins: Arsenal win a corner which is headed out by Hanson, then Wilshere's follow-up blast from outside the box is lofted like a six iron about 20 yards wide. While not wanting to overlook Bradford's effervescent start to the game, Arsenal, it must be said, have been pretty ropey.
29 mins: Thompson wins an aerial duel in the end of a long diagonal cross. The ball drops for him to scissor kick goalwards but Szczesny is behind it pretty comfortably. Arsenal haven't had a chance in over 20 minutes.
26 mins: Nakhi Wells is catching the eye early on with some fearless, direct running with the ball. It's his dart down the right which helps set up a blast from distance from Meredith, which is blocked bravely by Coquelin.
24 mins: Keystone cops in the Arsenal box again as a right-wing corner is bundled goalwards at the near post - Arsenal's marking inept again - and Gibbs has to hack it off the line!
22 mins: A goal apiece in tonight's other quarter-final as Morison gives Norwich the lead, only for Holman to quickly equalise. Here, Arsenal are passing it around with no particular cutting edge. Their fans have certainly heard that before.
19 mins: Well then. For a team that's already played the most games in the entire Football League, Bradford have looked very fresh-legged. Trouble is, they've got 70 more minutes to hold on.
15 mins: BRADFORD TAKE THE LEAD!! From the free kick conceded on the right, it's whipped in to a heavily populated area, but Arsenal's defending is just atrocious. Two Bradford players attack the ball untracked at the near post. It's flicked on beyond the far post where Thompson instinctively sticks out his left foot to volley it beautifully into the roof of the net through Szczesny's grasp! Valley Parade erupts!
14 mins: Arsenal are finding plenty of space down the right through Sagna and Ramsey. Down the other end, Wells nutmegs Vermaelen and thuds into the Belgian's body. It's a free kick in a useful area, right of the box.
11 mins: Bradford have started at a high tempo and with a boisterous crowd fully behind them, as you'd expect. Wells has been running himself daft up front, nearly beating Szczesny to a loose ball inside the box. Arsenal looking dangerous every time they attack though.
9 mins: Gervinho embarks on a solo run down the right, and after leaving McHugh on his backside, he blasts his shot against the covering defender. It rebounds out for a corner, and Vermaelen really should score after a big leap. He meets it full on with a forceful nod but the ball just clears the bar.
7 mins: Bradford right-back Darby does well to head away for a corner as Podolski closes in menacingly behind him to meet Wilshere's cross. Seconds later another cross from the right sees Gervinho challenge with his arm up with Meredith. The whistle goes and the Arsenal striker is booked for handball.
5 mins: Vermaelen and Wells persue a long ball, which the Belgian allows to bounce. He's hustled off the ball by the Bantams whipper snapper of a striker, who goes on to shoot low against Szczesny's legs. The referee's whistle had gone anyway, rather harshly.
3 mins: Coquelin feeds Ramsey to the right of the area then marches on into the box, but the return pass from the Welshman is hit too hard and at a rather awkward height. Coquelin fails to control it and gives his team-mate a quizzical look.
1 mins: Gibbs trips Thompson in the Arsenal half, but instead of the expected lump into the box, the Bantams play it down the right flank. Thompson gets to the byline, but his cutback is cleared by Vermaelen.
0 mins: Mild amusement before kick off as Per Mertesacker walks out of the dressing room and down the cramped tunnel, and has to duck to even fit through it. Proof if needed that this ain't The Emirates. Arsenal will need to adapt PDQ. It's the Gunners who get this quarter-final off and running.
1930:Welcome to Valley Parade where it's bitterly cold, but the pitch is passed fit. Both sides have had remarkable runs already in this competition - Arsenal beating Reading 7-5 in the last round, and the Bantams' progress incorporating their ridiculous record string of eight successive victories in penalty shootouts. They're still in the JPT too, as well as a League Two promotion campaign, and if they hadn't fielded an ineligible player in the last round, they'd still be in the FA Cup as well. This could be a pivotal moment in a long season for them. It will be the biggest crowd in 60 years as well. We're all set.
Team news:Arsene Wenger is determined to scratch that seven-year itch and clearly sees this competition as the ideal balm to apply to Arsenal's ever-lengthening period of uncomfortable potlessness. He's selected a very strong side here in West Yorkshire that includes eight of the 11 who started at the weekend against West Brom.
Francois Coquelin, Gervinho and Lukas Podolski come in for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mikel Arteta and Oliver Giroud. Bradford, meanwhile, are unchanged from their 1-0 win over Torquay on Saturday.
Orange's Mike Dale will bring you live commentary from 1945. In the mean use the box on the right to send in your score predictions and who you think will win the cup, plus any bets you've got on tonight.