Carling Cup – Nasri seals Arsenal cup victory

Arsenal scored three times in extra-time to knock the stuffing out of Tottenham in a 4-1 rout of their London rivals in the Carling Cup third round.

Henri Lansbury‘s opener for Arsenal on 15 minutes was cancelled out by substitute Robbie Keane‘s equaliser four minutes after the break before the visitors took control.

Samir Nasri slotted a penalty on 92 minutes after he was pulled down by Sebastien Bassong in the box.

He repeated the dose four minutes later with Steven Caulker fouling Marouane Chamakh before Andrey Arshavin completed the scoring with a blistering fourth on 104 minutes.

Nobody could have predicted such a scoreline after the teams could not be separated over an often breathless 90 minutes.

Arsenal made nine changes from the 1-1 draw at Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday, but fielded a potent mixture of youth and experience that contained players such as Tomas Rosicky and the exceptional Jack Wilshere.

Home manager Harry Redknapp opted to rest most of his regular players and ultimately paid the price as the experience of Arsenal took hold in extra-time.

The visitors could have had a penalty on 10 minutes when Lansbury was clearly pushed by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, but the referee waved play on.

Lansbury’s time arrived four minutes later when he scored his first goal for Arsenal from close range.

Kieran Gibbs played in Wilshere down the left and his cross was nudged home by Lansbury as the home players were left marking fresh air.

Tottenham’s best moment of the half came through Roman Pavlyuchenko as he flashed a shot wide from the edge of the area on 27 minutes moments after David Bentley had thrashed one over from distance.

Gibbs was sent in on goal by a lovely Wilshere pass on 37 minutes, but a linesman’s flag saved the home side when the visiting left-back was clearly onside.

Redknapp was lucky to watch his side only trail by one goal at the break and threw on Robbie Keane and Aaron Lennon to inject some movement into his side with Giovani and Jake Livermore withdrawn.

It paid dividends almost immediately when Keane broke free. He looked offside, but Lukasz Fabianski should have saved as he dived to his left, but could not stop the Ireland forward’s shot from hitting the net.

The game swung from end to end in the second half as the Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny produced a magnificent tackle to deny Lennon a certain goal with 20 minutes remaining.

Spurs inexplicably seemed to go to sleep at the start of the extra 30 minutes when Bassong and Caulker were both guilty of pulling in the box enabling Nasri to convert two penalties with some ease.

David Bentley headed wide in between Nasri’s penatly from five yards which summed up his side’s collapse in extra-time.

Arshavin killed the game off as a contest when he broke free to hammer low through Stipe Pletikosa after some more haphazard home defending.

The majority of Tottenham fans headed for the exit doors before a meaningless second period of extra-time was played out.

It was a big difference from Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat to Spurs at the semi-final stage of the tournament three seasons ago.


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