By Rob Kelly
We booked our place in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory at Anfield on Thursday night.
Bernd Leno – who made a series of fine stops during normal time – pulled off two saves in the shoot-out, before Joe Willock kept his nerve to send us through.
Just three days on from Monday’s Premier League clash at Anfield, Mikel Arteta made eight changes to his side for this clash and we made a confident start.
There were little more than seven minutes on the clock when we carved out our best opportunity of the opening period as Granit Xhaka’s superb pass set Nicolas Pepe free down the left.
The Ivorian entered the box and cut the ball back for Joe Willock, who found Eddie Nketiah but the striker hesitated as he tried to go around Adrian and the chance was gone.
In truth there was little of note during the first half, but right on the stroke of half time Leno was called into action to push away Diogo Jota’s header and Takumi Minamino’s follow-up hit the underside of the bar.
It was a let-off, and after the interval our goalkeeper had to be alert once again to get down low and palm away Virgil Van Dijk’s close-range effort.
Leno was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the second period, and was called into action on the hour mark to keep out Marko Grujic’s firm strike, and then again moments later to palm away Diogo Jota’s fierce effort.
But back we came, and we had a golden chance to take the lead as Pepe picked out Rob Holding in the area but Adrian pushed the centre back’s header away.
Neither side could make the breakthrough, and for the second year running our Carabao Cup fourth-round tie at Anfield would go to penalties.
Leno was once again the hero, saving from Divock Origi and then Harry Wilson, before Joe Willock converted the decisive spot kick to send us through.
THE PENALTY SHOOT OUT
Milner – GOAL
Lacazette – GOAL
Wijnaldum – GOAL
Cedric – GOAL
Minamino – GOAL
Elneny – MISS, saved
Origi – MISS, saved
Maitland-Niles – GOAL
Jones – GOAL
Pepe – GOAL
Wilson – MISS, saved
Willock – GOAL
HOW IT HAPPENED
WHAT IT MEANST
We’re into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.
It’s a quick turnaround for our next game, as we host Sheffield United at Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Then it’s the international break, before we return to action on October 17 with a trip north to take on Manchester City at the Etihad.
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