It is interesting that once the AAA were unable to hit Wenger with the “x years since a trophy” and decry the mere fact of finishing in the top four year after year, no matter how much money other teams brought in from oil and state ownership, they took a little time to agree on a new battering ram.
That battering ram in the end turned out to be the “heavy defeat” and it is a story that ignores of course the heavy defeats that Arsenal have secured against other clubs – not least the scoring of six and seven goals in games in 2012/13 – part of the Wengerian era.
And of course it wasn’t just these two – for there have been many before. Indeed there is even an article on this site with the subject line Under Mr Wenger we score five or more goals every 20 games.
In 2006/7 Arsenal’s league cup experience was away from home in each round…
- 26 October 2006: WBA 0 Arsenal 2
- 8 N
- 26 October 2006: WBA 0 Arsenal 2
- 8 November 2006: Everton 0 Arsenal 1
- 9 January 2007…
The BBC headline was…
Julio Baptista scored four as Arsenal routed Liverpool to seal a Carling Cup semi-final clash with rivals Tottenham.
It was the first time in nearly 77 years that Liverpool had conceded six goals at home. Raphael Benitez arrogntly opted to field a weakened team even though Liverpool had lost 3-1 to Arsenal on the Saturday before the game.
Mark Gonzalez didn’t help Liverpool when he tried the traditional trick of taking Theo Walcott out of the match early on with a stupid challenge. Instead of crippling Walcott as per the normal approach he hurt himself and had to go off.
The Kolo Toure put in a long pass which Jeremie Aliadiere ran onto, took down and put home. But this wasn’t an immediate walkover as Fowler equalised before Baptista got his first from a free kick to make it 2-1. Song made it 3-1 and Baptista tapped in for the fourth, and it wasn’t even half time yet.
Baptista then conspired to fail to get his hattrick with a penalty before scoring a much harder chance from 20 yards out, Gerrard and Hyppia got two back, and Baptista showed he wasn’t finished yet with the sixth.Arsenal’s youthful pace and endeavour continued to cause the Reds all sorts of problems and the outcome was beyond doubt before half time.
Firstly, Baptista curled home a free-kick from 25 yards for only his second Arsenal goal, and then in injury time the Londoners scored two in quick succession to stun the hosts.
Song Billong made it 3-1 from close range after benefiting from a ricochet off Hyypia and then Aliadiere was controversially ruled onside before pulling back to Baptista, who slid into an empty net to cap a remarkable end to the half.
A resolute start to the second half from the hosts lasted just 10 minutes as Arsenal continued their rampant display, and the Gunners could even afford Dudek’s penalty save from Baptista after Hyypia had clearly hauled down Aliadiere.
No sooner had the Anfield crowd found their voice again, than Aliadiere cut back to Baptista from the left and the Brazilian drilled into the corner from 20 yards to complete his hat-trick.
The fact that Gerrard and Hyypia were on the pitch shows it wasn’t really a Liverpool reserve team as such, although the excuses came thick and fast after the game.
Matters were made even worse for Liverpool as they tried their robust sort of tackling which they often get away with an Anfield, protected by northern referees and a media who insist that no matter what Liverpool never commit fouls. Eventually Garcia tried the tactic too hard and had to go off injured.
But the night belonged to Baptista and Alliadiere who both played perhaps their best games in Arsenal shirts. The Arsenal away support, so different from those who never go to games but complain about Arsenal letting in too many goals and their “humiliation”, was truly superb – indeed this was perhaps the basis on which the away support built their great reputation in recent years.
What made it even nicer was that the ground was full, at least until about half way through the second half. After that the numbers seemed to die a little.
Liverpool: Dudek, Peltier, Hyypia, Paletta, Warnock (Alonso 58), Guthrie, Gerrard, Aurelio, Gonzalez (Luis Garcia 11) (Carragher 75), Fowler, Bellamy.
Goals: Fowler 33, Gerrard 68, Hyypia 80.
Arsenal: Almunia, Hoyte, Toure, Djourou, Traore (Connolly 88), Walcott (Diaby 74), Fabregas, Song Billong, Denilson, Julio Baptista, Aliadiere.
Subs Not Used: Poom, Lansbury, Randall.
Goals: Aliadiere 27, Julio Baptista 40, Song 45, Julio Baptista 45, 60, 84.
After that Arsenal continued with the league cup…
- 24 January 2007: Semi final first leg: Tottenham 2 Arsenal 2
- 31 January 2007: Semi final second leg: Arsenal 3 Tottenham 1 (after extra time)
- 25 February 2007: Final : Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2