In the words of Britney Spears ‘Oops We Did It Again`
What a fantastic night for everybody associated with the club, not least the Clarets fans, as we progressed to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup by claiming yet another top Premier League scalp, this time Arsenal by beating their Young Gunners side 2-0 thanks to a brace of goals by Kevin McDonald. So I suppose Big Mac was simply not stomached by Arsenal on the night! (Sorry!)
This completes a triple whammy over three Premier League sides in this competition this season and all of them London-based. We previously of course beat Fulham 1-0 at home, followed by the sensational away win on penalties at Stamford Bridge.
Let`s forget any notion of the suggestion that we only beat their third string team. You can only beat what is put up against you (ask Premier League side Wigan who couldn`t!)
The media have been in raptures about how good the Young Gunners have been and now it`s time for them to eat some humble pie and give Championship side, Burnley a massive tick of approval for what they have achieved without underestimating this victory.
Just over 19,000 fans were entertained at Turf Moor last night with all Clarets fans tickets being sold and there must have been many more fans of both sides and neutral fans watching the game on Sky Sports 1.
This victory and run in the competition is some achievement for a small town club like Burnley, with little money. We are winning over many admirers and maybe, just maybe we might have to ditch the often quoted expression ‘Nobody Loves Us, We Don`t Care`. It has been 25 years of hurt since we last reached the semi finals of a major Cup competition and let`s hope we can now go all the way to Wembley in March.
Steve Thompson was of course cup-tied for this match but Wade Elliott was selected in the eighteen after recovering from his groin strain although had to be content with a place on the bench. The team selected was very much as predicted by Vital Burnley and you can always guarantee that Owen Coyle will show faith usually in players playing well in a previous game.
We therefore lined up as follows in a 4-1-4-1 formation exactly as we did against Derby County in our last match:
Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, McDonald, McCann, Blake, Eagles, Paterson
Subs: Penny, Gudjonsson, Mahon, Elliott, Akinbiyi, Rodriguez, MacDonald
It was Arsenal who had the first chance of the game after four minutes despite a lively start by the Clarets. Bendtner got the better of our offside trap but Jensen who would again have an excellent game, saved the shot well
The Clarets however got the lead just two minutes later after Fabianski could only parry a shot by Paterson. The ball landed at the feet of Kevin McDonald who tapped the ball home from close range to give the Clarets fans a 1-0 lead and give the impressive, attacking midfielder his second goal in two consecutive games.
It was Bendtner again after nine minutes who was foiled by Jensen, the in-form keeper once more saving his shot as Arsenal looked for the equaliser.
Paterson after picking up a great ball by Alexander really should have passed to Blake inside the 18 yard box after 25 minutes instead of firing straight at Fabianski but two minutes later the Clarets nearly made it 2-0. After a good run by McCann found Blake, Fabianski took two attempts to gather the ball after Blake`s shot was first spilled.
The Clarets were now having most of the possession and Paterson came close to scoring again as Burnley piled on the pressure,
Jensen however came to the rescue again after 37 minutes bringing off a superb save from Ramsey and then stopped Arsenal again from getting the equaliser three minutes later with yet another superb save.
Referee Andre Mariner finally brought the first half to a close with the Clarets having got the lead and having survived anything the Young Gunners could chuck at them.
The start of the second half saw no changes for the Clarets side and this time it was Arsenal who came out the blocks first, fighting for that elusive equaliser.
Merida went on a mazy run dancing round the Clarets defence but thankfully dragged his shot just wide of the far post.
Jensen was in the way of a Vela shot after 49 minutes after the striker hit the ball straight at the keeper and really should have done better.
Eight minutes later though and Clarets fans could begin to relax after the Arsenal pressure with Burnley going 2-0 up.
A quickly taken throw by Eagles found McDonald who shook off the Arsenal defence to shoot past Fabianski with the Clarets fans going wild with delight.
What a night for the young Scot, two games in succession where he could make claims to be Man of the Match with the attacking midfielder making his goal tally three in two. No wonder he got a standing ovation after being replaced by Gudjonsson with 29 minutes remaining.
It was nearly 3-0 after 65 minutes following a brilliant cross by Blake. Paterson`s header though just didn`t have enough force to beat Fabianski.
Arsenal though were not going to lie down without a fight and Jensen came to the rescue again saving well from substitute Jay Simpson after 66 minutes.
Caldwell nearly let in Vela after a slip. The young gunner found Bendtner with his cross who let rip with a shot. The ball though hit Jensen, bounced back to him and finished up over the bar.
A few more nervy moments thankfully came to nothing and when the final whistle came, the noise emanating from the Clarets faithful will hopefully have been heard in Blackburn! What a season this is turning out to be, 4th in the Championship and now we are in the Carling Cup Semi-Final draw. We shall have to wait to see who comes through from tonight`s games with so far only Derby County through after beating Stoke City last night.
The other games tonight are:
Man United v Blackburn
Watford v Tottenham
I can`t imagine we want to play Derby again do we? Let`s have them in the Final
So who do you want, a side from the North West or another London club (Well Watford or South of Watford!)?
Burnley: Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Blake (Elliott 77), McDonald (Gudjonsson 61), McCann, Eagles, Paterson (Akinbiyi 74).
Subs Not Used: Penny, Mahon, Rodriguez, MacDonald.
Goals: McDonald 6, 57.
Arsenal: Fabianski, Hoyte, Silvestre, Ramsey, Gibbs, Rodgers (Lansbury 46), Randall (Bischoff 72), Merida, Wilshere (Simpson 63), Bendtner, Vela.
Subs Not Used: Mannone, Coquelin, Steer, Frimpong.
Booked: Randall, Merida.
Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).
Burnley Sour More Cream of London
In the words of Britney Spears ‘Oops We Did It Again`