‘Arsenal could be on the verge of something special’
Nigel Winterburn’s exclusive Arsenal column - read it here every week
MOST people will know that I have been saying for a long time now that this Arsenal team need to win that first trophy together to learn what winning is all about. Well, they are now just one step away after reaching the Carling Cup final.
Even reaching the final is a great boost for this team, and you could see that on the faces of the players on Tuesday night. Semi-finals have been lost all too often in recent seasons, so it was good to get over that hurdle and get to Wembley.
And who cannot be excited by a Wembley final. As a player, no matter what the competition and what the opposition, it is still a special game and one they will be looking forward to immensely.
And for the supporters, days at cup finals are what it is all about. As long as the team wins, of course, but let’s celebrate getting there first.
It might have looked like a stroll against Ipswich in the end, but Championship side really made it hard for Arsenal. They had to work for that win and the creative players had to be at their best to finally break the Ipswich resistance.
You always felt Arsenal had it within them to win the tie though, and when the deadlock was broken it was a real quality goal from Nicklas Bendtner, one that will do him the world of good too. Bendtner has not been in the side and not been scoring too much of late, but that was a good confidence booster for a player who knows he is behind Robin van Persie and Marouane Chamakh in the striking pecking order.
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They finished them off well, and got another clean sheet, that’s a nice habit to be getting into and it’s the fourth 3-0 win already this month - clearly 1-0 is not good enough for everyone these days!
Of course the Carling Cup needs to be kept in context and will not come close to winning the title, but there is a growing feeling at the club about what this side can achieve, and maybe we are starting to see that now.
People have even started talking about a quadruple but that is crazy talk – come back to me in May and if Arsenal are in two more finals and about to win the league I might take that one seriously.
But they should overcome Huddersfield on Sunday and then can start looking to the latter stages of the FA Cup, and everyone will want to just stay in contention for everything for as long as possible.
In Europe though there is the small matter of Barcelona to contend with, and in the league Manchester United showed just how hard they are going to be to beat with their comeback to win at Blackpool.
Those trophies will be much harder to win, but the Carling Cup is almost within Arsenal’s grasp.