Wenger not embarrassed by cup defeat to lowly Bradford

Updated 12 December 2012
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Wenger not embarrassed by cup defeat to lowly Bradford

LONDON: Arsenal’s quarter-final League Cup exit at the hands of minnows Bradford City left manager Arsene Wenger questioning the power of his strike force but the Frenchman refused to label the defeat as an embarrassment.
Despite playing almost an hour with five attackers, Arsenal failed to break down the League Two club who went on to claim Tuesday’s match 3-2 on penalties after a stubborn defensive display.
Wenger started German international striker Lukas Podolski alongside Gervinho and finished the match with attack-minded players Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Marouane Chamakh and Tomas Rosicky on the pitch, but it was left to captain and center back Thomas Vermaelen to send the match into extra time when he equalized in the 88th minute.
Gervinho squandered a glorious chance in front of goal and Francis Coquelin hit the woodwork in the 38th minute. The end-of-match statistics showed Arsenal had registered 28 shots with 12 on target compared to Bradford’s five shots with three on target.
“We played with a very offensive team. What is disappointing is (we played) basically over an hour with five strikers and couldn’t score,” Wenger told club website www.arsenal.com.
“We created a lot of different situations. You have to say they defended very well. It’s difficult to play this kind of game.
“I know people will say: ‘it’s League Two’, but a cup game is a cup game. In football you always have a chance if you give everything.”
Asked whether he was embarrassed by the defeat, Wenger said: “You feel embarrassed when you don’t give everything. I feel the team did fight and will be more disappointed and frustrated.
“I cannot fault the effort. We have put the effort in (and) have given absolutely everything until the last minute. It was a typical English cup game and Bradford got on top of us in the end. We missed three penalties — that’s a lot to take.”
Arsenal have not won a major trophy since the FA Cup in 2005 and the latest setback in a disappointing season could trigger another departure at the club with Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reporting on Wednesday that Manchester United have their eye on Theo Walcott.
Walcott, who did not play against Bradford, has yet to commit to Arsenal after contract talks broke down in August and the 23-year-old becomes a free agent at the end of the season when his current deal expires.
Striker Robin Van Persie went to Old Trafford at the start of the season. Arsenal have felt his loss with the Dutchman so far netting 11 goals in the Premier League for his new team.
Former Arsenal player Thierry Henry has been linked with another loan return to the Emirates but Wenger said before the match with Bradford that there was no news about his compatriot.


Liverpool's Andrew Robertson ready for Roma Champions League test

Updated 23 April 2018
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Liverpool's Andrew Robertson ready for Roma Champions League test

  • Young Scottish star was very impressive during Liverpool's 5-1 aggregate destruction of Man City in last-eight clash.
  • Robertson refuses to take Roma lightly after their shock victory over Barcelona in the last round.

LIVERPOOL: With a desire stoked in the stands of Parkhead, Andrew Robertson is now fired up to fulfil a childhood dream.
While following the fortunes of Celtic, the defender’s first Champions League final memory was when Zinedine Zidane volleyed Real Madrid to success in 2002 as the contest was staged in Robertson’s home city of Glasgow. He was just eight years old.
While Robertson was deemed too small to play for his boyhood idols, released at 15 with a future uncertain, he has grown to prove his worth on Europe’s biggest club stage with Liverpool.
Now, with a semifinal encounter against AS Roma after beating Premier League champions Manchester City in the last eight, he wants to emulate those Reds heroes who lifted the trophy five times before.
“I was a big Celtic fan growing up and my heroes were Henrik Larsson and Co,” Robertson told Arab News ahead of tonight’s first-leg clash 
at Anfield.
“But these heroes who have won the European Cup and Champions League for Liverpool, you have to look up to them — and we want to emulate them and hopefully get a winner’s medal too.
“The club’s won it five times and the history of the club has always been this, the Champions League, where the fans create a special atmosphere and the club challenges for the trophy. It would be unbelievable to be a part of that history.
“This is the highlight for me so far and an incredible feeling, but it just makes you hungry for more. I don’t want it to end.
“As a kid, you sit back and watch how great it would be to play in this competition, let alone in the final.
“I always used to go to Celtic and we didn’t progress very far in the Champions League, but the occasions at Parkhead were always unbelievable.
“The fans at Celtic are incredible, world renowned, but Anfield was unbelievable against Man City and we have another chance for them to create that same atmosphere and hopefully we can put in another great performance.”
Having beaten Pep Guardiola’s City so convincingly, 5-1 over two gripping games, Liverpool will start favorites against Roma.
That is despite the Italians upsetting Barcelona in the previous round with an epic 3-0 win in the second leg after a 4-1 loss at the Nou Camp.
But Robertson will take nothing for granted against a Roma side who last reached the final in 1984 where they were beaten by Liverpool in a penalty shootout at their Stadio Olimpico home.
“Barca are an unbelievable team,” added the Scotland left-back, 24. “But let’s not kid ourselves. For Roma to score three goals against Barcelona, that’s special.
“They’ve been unbelievable this season too in the Champions League and deserve to be in the semifinals. It will definitely not be an easy game.
“But once you get to the semis, the fear of who you are playing has gone because you know how good the teams are.
“It’s like you look forward to the possibility of playing in the final, that’s what drives you forward. We will have fire in our bellies because we are so close to getting there.”
Jurgen Klopp’s men will no doubt be looking to Mohamed Salah to conjure more magic against the club he left in the summer for £36.9 million ($51.5 million).
But Robertson insisted Liverpool are no one-man team and the Egyptian, crowned PFA Player of the Year on Sunday night after scoring 41 goals in an unforgettable campaign, epitomizes a team united and ambitious in their quest for glory.
“He’s just unbelievable,” said Robertson of the frontman.
“In the first half (of the second leg) against Man City we struggled to get him in the game and he wasn’t quite at it. But the second half he was different class and pops up with a goal to help us win it. That’s what he does.
“His goals have been incredible and long may that continue. He’s a great guy, so humble, and for someone who has done so much this season he’s so down to Earth.
“That’s credit to our squad because we don’t let anyone get ahead of themselves.
“Mo is no different, he’s a lovely person and stands for what we are as a team.”

 

HEART OF GOLD

Five years ago Andrew Robertson was playing in the fourth tier of Scottish football with Queen’s Park and earning extra money by selling concert tickets in the corporate offices at Hampden Park.
Last summer he suffered relegation from the Premier League with Hull City before Liverpool signed him for £10 million ($13.9 million).
In a career fraught with setbacks and hardships, he has been grateful, supporting foodbanks that help those in need.
“It’s all about giving something back to the less fortunate,” said Robertson.
“I’m in a fortunate position where I do a job I love and get paid well and it’s nice to give something back, especially in my hometown. I’ll always do that.
“It’s been a great journey for me in my career, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. But I don’t forget where I came from. Maybe it is rare, but a lot more people are doing it now and I hope even more will.”