Lowly Bradford stun Arsenal!
League II minnows hand Arsenal their most humiliating defeat in history in League Cup quarters
Arsenal suffered one of the most humiliating defeats in their history as League Two minnows Bradford City clinched a stunning triumph on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the League Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.
The Gunners have endured a traumatic campaign that included their worst start to the Premier League in manager Arsene Wenger’s 16-year reign, but this was a new low for a club now in the midst of a full-blown crisis.
Arsenal players look on during the penalty shootout. Pics/Getty Images
Not even Arsenal’s most ardent critic would have believed they could produce such a spineless display against a team from English football’s fourth tier.
Wenger said: “They defended well and we all know what happened on the penalties. We had many, many chances and their ’keeper had a good game. I cannot fault the effort of my team, we gave everything for the 120 minutes and you have to give credit to Bradford. It’s not a lack of quality. We’ll get over this, it’s part of our job. We’ll focus on the next game.”
Bradford manager Phil Parkinson added: “The lads were terrific, the discipline was first class against such a talented team like Arsenal.
“The talk will be about the penalties but the overall performance was excellent. The way the lads stuck at the task was a credit to them.”
After Bradford midfielder Garry Thompson took advantage of woeful Arsenal defending to volley home a free-kick at the far post in the 16th minute, Parkinson's side must have expected to be tested to the limit by their illustrious opponents at Valley Parade. But instead a strong Arsenal team took until the 88th minute to equalise when Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen headed home from a Santi Cazorla cross.
The Gunners were just as laboured in extra-time and they paid the price in the penalty shoot-out, which Bradford won 3-2 as Cazorla's kick was saved by Matt Duke and Marouane Chamakh and Vermaelen both hit the post.
Bradford’s ninth successive penalty shoot-out victory booked their first ever appearance in the League Cup semi-finals.