Skip to main content

Arsenal stunned by fourth tier Bradford City in League Cup

updated 7:51 PM EST, Tue December 11, 2012
Arsene Wenger will be under the spotlight once again after Arsenal's humbling League Cup exit to fourth tier side Bradford City.
Arsene Wenger will be under the spotlight once again after Arsenal's humbling League Cup exit to fourth tier side Bradford City.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fourth tier Bradford City stun Arsenal as they reach League Cup semifinals on penalties
  • Defeat of strong Arsenal side means club's quest for first trophy since 2005 continues
  • Aston Villa come from behind to win at Norwich and reach semis
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic fires a treble as PSG rout Valenciennes

(CNN) -- Arsenal's stumbling season suffered a new low on Tuesday as the Gunners failed to reach the League Cup semifinals after being knocked out on penalties by fourth tier side Bradford City.

Having made their worst Premier League start since Arsene Wenger took charge in 1996, Arsenal needed a late equalizer to force extra-time -- only to lose a dramatic penalty shoot-out as Bradford reached the last four for the first time in their 109-year history.

Wenger has often fielded weakened sides for League Cup matches but he sent out a strong team at Bradford where the game ended 1-1 after 90 minutes, with extra-time failing to provide further goals.

As they set about creating one of the biggest upsets in the competition's long history, Bradford opened the scoring through Garry Thompson after 16 minutes.

Despite the presence of Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Lukas Podolski, the Gunners failed to register a shot on target until the final quarter of a match against a team from the bottom tier of the English football league.

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen thought he had rescued his side when heading home after 88 minutes, but the Belgian later turned from hero to villain as he missed the decisive kick in the penalty shoot-out to spark wild scenes of celebrations.

"Whenever you go out, it's not a good result for Arsenal," said Wenger. "We lost on penalties to a team who defended well. I cannot fault the effort of my team, we gave absolutely everything for the 120 minutes and you have to give credit to Bradford."

Arsenal's Training Facilities
Ljungberg: 'I was called gay'

The win meant that Bradford, whose stadium was hosting its largest crowd since 1960, had set a British record of nine consecutive penalty shoot-out wins.

While the financially challenged club -- who were playing in the Premier League eleven years ago -- will celebrate the vital income that comes from reaching the competition's semifinals, Wenger can expect ever greater scrutiny in a season that goes from bad to worse.

Many Arsenal fans were incensed when captain Robin van Persie was sold in August to traditional rivals Manchester United, with the league leaders now 15 points ahead of a team lying seventh in the Premier League after 16 rounds.

Wenger, who won three league titles between 1998-2004, angered some supporters earlier this year when stating his belief that it was more important for Arsenal to qualify for the lucrative Champions League than to win trophies.

Without a trophy since the FA Cup win in 2005, some Arsenal followers have lost patience as the gap between the club and rivals Manchester United and Manchester City grows -- with one group of fans recently protesting before the home defeat by Swansea City at the manner in which the club is being run.

In the evening's other League Cup quarterfinal, Aston Villa coach Paul Lambert enjoyed a return to Norwich City, the club he left in June, as the visitors came from behind to win 4-1.

Bradford and Aston Villa will be joined in the semis by Swansea City or Middlesbrough, who play on Wednesday, while the last quarterfinal will be known on 19 December when Leeds United host Chelsea, who are currently in Japan on Fifa Club World Cup duty.

French football club spends big
Zlatan: Inspiring a nation

In the Premier League itself, Sunderland eased the pressure on coach Martin O'Neill when beating Reading 3-0 at home to climb out of the relegation zone and up to 15th in the table.

In France, Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagged a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain's 4-0 win at fifth-placed Valenciennes perfectly set up Carlo Ancelotti's side for Sunday's hosting of league leaders Lyon.

The former Barcelona and AC Milan star needed less than an hour to register a treble, and take his tally to an unsurpassed 17 Ligue 1 goals, before Ezequiel Lavezzi also struck as Valenciennes suffered their first home defeat of the season.

The win takes PSG to within two points of Lyon, who can extend their lead before the weekend's top-of-the-table clash at the Parc des Princes when hosting bottom side Nancy on Wednesday.

PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti was under pressure one week ago, with his side having surrendered top spot in the league, but three consecutive wins have given the Italian some breathing space.

After beating Portuguese title-holders Porto 2-1 to win their Champions League group, the big-spending French side have since thrashed both Evian and Valenciennes 4-0.

Elsewhere, AS Roma beat Atalanta 3-0 to reach the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:23 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
updated 8:53 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT