It has been a miserable few weeks for Ipswich Town, a diabolical run of form in the league and a 7-0 drubbing in the FA Cup means that by all accounts Paul Jewell should inherit a side in poor form and low on confidence.
Tonight though the Tractor Boys betrayed their recent form and produced a passionate and determined performance, to defeat Arsenal by a lone Tamas Priskin goal and give themselves a slim lead at half time in the semi final tie.
It was a game in which it was hard to tell which team was the meant to be the underdog as Arsenal struggled against Championship opposition for the second time in a week.
Although this was a well deserved victory for Ipswich, Arsenal are likely to provide a much tougher proposition at the Emirates in the second leg, with Gunners fans will be hoping that this abject performance will inspire some kind reaction from the players.
Arsene Wenger’s side did not seem to realise they were playing in a semi final, failing to show heart or passion with some players seeming to have forgotten how to play football.
In contrast the whole Ipswich side excelled, pressing the ball, winning the 50-50’s and really taking the game to Arsenal. at the back Damien Delaney and Gareth McAuley were as solid as a rock and 17 year old Conor Wickham produced a performance to rival any of the best from Arsene’s Wenger’s current crop of teenage proteges.
With this result Paul Jewell is likely walk into a smiling training ground as he takes his first training tommorow morning, however he will know that there is alot of work to be done if Ipswich are to build on this result and win the tie whilst the real challenge starts in the league at the weekend.