Arsenal crashed out of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday at the hand of League Two club Bradford City on penalties. Defender Thomas Vermaelen, who earlier denied Bradford victory in normal time with an 88th minute equalizer, missed the final kick of the shootout to send Bradford through to the semifinals. League Two is the fourth division of English soccer; Bradford is some 64 places beneath Arsenal in England’s soccer hierarchy. The defeat was compounded further by the fact that coach Arsene Wenger had picked an almost full strength team for the quarterfinal clash, selecting eight of the 11 who started in the Premier League win over West Bromwich Albion over the weekend.
After the game, Wenger defended his team, saying his players had no reason to be embarrassed by their cup exit. "You feel embarrassed when you don't give everything but the team did give everything," the Frenchman said. "It is disappointing but congratulations to Bradford, they defended well. They started stronger than us but in the second half and extra-time we dominated but couldn't convert our chances. It was difficult to create chances."
Bradford manager Phil Parkinson, lauded his players after the win. "It is a great night, especially with all the exposure we have had. We wanted to show a wider audience that we are a decent side and we produced our best. It is a great night for Bradford. To be honest, I don't want to talk about the penalties because it was the performance that was more impressive. Arsenal played their best team, Arsène Wenger showed us a lot of respect, and we were three minutes from beating them in normal time.”