Carling Cup… Arsenal 3 – 0 Wigan: Wow, what a game!

Yesterday's game was an outstanding display of energy, flair, passion, desire and skill. And the end result was a 3-0 win to a very youthful Arsenal side.

The line up yesterday was:

Fabianksi
Hoyte – Song – Djourou – Gibbs
Wilshere – Ramsey – Randall – Merida
Vela – Simpson

An exciting starting XI and Simpson coming into the team was a good test for him. That was the only change from the side that beat Sheffield United 6-0 and it would be a sterner test against very good Premiership opposition. Wigan and Steve Bruce are no fools and the team include their strongest XI with the likes of Zaki, Koumas, Valencia, Palacios etc.

But it was a test that the team passed. The one great thing about yesterday’s performance was the quality of football. Such an energetic performance meant that this game was fast and flowing. In terms of entertainment, this squad is definitely up there. It was one of those game, where you just didn’t want to miss a minute.

The game started well, and the focus was evident from the beginning. The one and two passing game was their, but Wigan were a stronger opposition than Sheffield United and proved more intent on stopping us play. But on the 42nd minute, an “eye of a needle” pass from Jack Wilshere set up fellow teenager Jay Simpson to tuck the ball under the advancing keeper and get on the scoresheet for his first start for the club in the first team. It was goal that we thoroughly deserved. It could of been at least 3-0 by half time as we certainly had the chances.

The second half started in a similar vein. In terms of entertainment, the game was up there. With Wigan, their top players, Koumas, Valencia, De Ridder and Zaki were really playing well, but couldn’t really get the ball. It wasn’t too long until we added a second when a amazing counter-attack  with blistering pace from the Carlos Vela ended with the young Mexican squaring for Simpson to sidefoot home.

The third followed a few minutes later when Vela outpaced Titus Bramble and went on to chip Chris Kirkland with a stunning lob. This goal is really some goal of the season. Two touches, one to lay himself on, the other to lob the keeper. Amazing. The goal was similar to the effort in the crushing of Sheffield United in the previous round, and Carlos Vela has definitely shone in this competition.

Arsenal: Fabianski, Hoyte, Song Billong, Djourou, Gibbs, Wilshere (Bischoff 76), Randall, Ramsey, Merida, Simpson (Lansbury 76), Vela (Fonte 84).
Subs Not Used: Mannone, Coquelin, Ogogo, Frimpong.

Booked: Ramsey.

Goals: Simpson 42, 66, Vela 70.

Wigan: Kirkland, Cattermole (Brown 67), Boyce, Bramble, Melchiot, Valencia, Koumas (Camara 58), Palacios, De Ridder, Figueroa, Zaki.
Subs Not Used: Kingson, Taylor, Scharner, Kilbane, Cywka.

Att: 59,665.

Ref: Steve Tanner (Somerset).

Arsene was particularly pleased after the game and had a quick interview in regards to the game. He said:

“I enjoyed every minute of it because it was a big test for such a young team with many Under-18 players involved. I believe we stood up to the test and it was a remarkable combination of desire, energy and quality. From the first to the last minute we looked up for it and were relentless in having a go at Wigan. In the end it was a fantastic win. I keep them together to see how far they can go. I see them in training and they are good but when you turn up against a Premier League side, that is a different challenge; now I know they can turn up and produce. It is interesting going into the Quarter-Final and I will keep them altogether, but you will always need experience. Don’t forget the goalkeeper and the two defenders have good experience and they had an important role at important times in the game.”

For those of you who watched Sky Sports, Steve Bruce’s interview was pretty decent. He said something like, we turned up and got thrashed by these kids. He had praise for our team but was obviously disappointed in his.

Two goal hero, Jay Simpson has been reflecting on his striking ability and said:

“When I was growing up I used to watch Ian Wright and that’s what made me an Arsenal fan. I had posters of him on my wall. I met Wright once, it was quite a while ago at my first Arsenal match at Highbury. I met him in the tunnel and I was starstruck, I didn’t know what to say to him! He shook my hand and I didn’t know what to do! I was nine at the time. He’s still an Arsenal fan and he would have been happy to see the English players out there tonight. I played on the wing for Millwall so my runs from wide positions have improved a lot. It was a whole new position to adapt to, especially with how Millwall play because it wasn’t about getting the ball down and playing a passing game. It was about making runs in behind. If I got it to feet you would go down the line and cross it whereas at Arsenal you would normally pass it, so it’s a lot different. Also I went up and spoke to Emmanuel Adebayor before the game and he gave me a bit of advice which paid off on the pitch. He told me that when I am shooting, just make sure I hit the target, don’t concentrate too much on power. I scored a hat-trick in the Youth Cup at Emirates Stadium but this is a lot more special, especially because I am an Arsenal fan. I would have been happy with one so to get two is great.  Now all of us want a big side, we want to test ourselves. That’s what it’s all about, playing against the big teams, the big-name players and seeing what you can do against them. If we get Manchester United or Liverpool, we’d want them to put out their first team because it would show they’ve got respect for us. I’d be delighted if we got them in the next round.”

It’s funny what Ade said to Jay considering that Ade nearly always misses the target.

It was a good day out for everyone involved. Bring on the quarter finals.

‘Til tomorrow…

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  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Well that was pretty amazing. I have so much fun watching this team play, i spent most of the second half just laughing. I was loving seeing the boys grinning, especially Vela who was clearly in his element. He likes putting on a show thats for sure. I just hope he can produce that in the league for a years to come.

    Wilshere looked outstanding on the ball. His ability to sheild it is second to none, he treats the ball like his own little baby. He got pretty tired though and endurance didn't look his strongest point. I'm sure that will improve massively in the next year.

    Who do you guys think will actually progress into the first team? Beyond the obviuos Ramsey, Wilshere and Vela - I have doubts over the rest. Hopefully Simpson, it would be great to idolise an English center forward again, like Wrighty.]]>

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Fantastic result, its good to see we have talented players coming through, hopefully someone like Song, Djourou or Denilson will develop into the tough tackling hard running enforcer we need to complement the wealth of footballing talent we have.

    Either that or Wenger might be one or two good buys away from making us a complete team.]]>

  • http://barselona.blog.co.yu barsa

    Fantastic result. Yo are favorites in a premier league

  • willsscott

    < ![CDATA[Great result and a great game.

    Looking at the two line ups pre-match, I thought we might actually be in a bit of trouble, but the young players really proved just how good they are.

    Fabianski had a nervy start, although he made one of the saves of the season in the last few minutes, he looks like he could be an excellent number 2, possibly a number one, bearing in mind he does have another 15 years ahead of him!!

    Once again, the majority of the praise has got to go to Vela. He was outstanding yet again and I cannot wait to see him in the league testing himself against the Big Boys of English football. I honestly believe this kid could be the next big thing. He reminds me of a cross between Messi and Henry, not a bad mix at all!! He took his goal superbly and his team work was second to none. Great find by Mr. Wenger!

    Both Wilshire and Ramsey look the real deal too, both superb on the ball and with vision coming close to that of Fabregas', lets not forget that they are just 16 and 17!

    The whole team played really well and I hope that who ever we get in the quarters, Wenger will stick with the majority of the players. I'm still not convinced on Hoyte, Gibbs, Randall, and Simpson, but hey, I don't pick the team.

    I'd be happy going into the next game with possibly Eboue, Bischoff, Bendtner, Diaby, and maybe Eduardo in the squad, because I still don't think last nights 18 could match up to United or Chelsea should we get them.

    Overall though it was a fantastic result and performance, one that all Gooners should be proud of, if you picked a team with an average age of 18 from any other Top 6 side, I doubt they'd do what our boys can!]]>

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Wenger has stated pretty clearly that he will not be making any big changes to the "Carling Cup Squad". I think this is a great policy for a few reasons:

    - The young players need and deserve games
    - The young players are always fresh for these games
    - It keeps the 1st team fresh
    - It gives the young players consistency
    - It lets us test whether these players are ready to fill any gaps in the first team when we have injuries or fatigue
    - They are bloody brilliant and its great to watch
    - It showcases our talent so that any players that don't make the Arsenal grade can be sold on]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    Great result.

  • shamal

    < ![CDATA[According to the Sun (that great vanguard of truth and taste) Ray Wilkins of CSKA said exciting things about Arsenal’s cup win against Wigan.

    Things like “You enter a competition to win the competition. Why go into it if you’re not concerned whether you win it? Playing a young or weakened team undermines the value of the competition. And we have not and will not do that. We want to win it, big time.”

    Which means he’s going to be a bit upset at losing to Burnley, who we also beat with a young side a year or two back in the FA Cup, I think.

    On the other hand Chelsea won’t mind the fact that a coin was lobbed into the crowd by one of their players. In 2002 a Liverpool player called “Carragher” did the same sort of thing when the Insolvents were playing at Highbury. There was quite a demand that, since a fan who did this would be banned for life from the ground, so should the player.

    But no, the “Carragher” was sent off, got a police warning, was fined £40k and told not to do it again.

    Seems like it is all getting a bit softer these days - after all the EPL doesn’t fancy being sued by the might of Russia. No sending off, and no sign of a fine or anything else.

    What we do see is that after 10 years of careful nurturing of talent, combined with world-wide scouting, Arsenal have produced a youth team that can defeat an EPL team, with Liverpool Insolvency and CSKA Fulham have used the time to buy anything that moves.

    Their buy-buy-buy policy has resulted in a second team (not a youth team) that in each case doesn’t really look as if it wants to play much.

    If ever there was a week that shows the worth of the approach of the Lord Wenger, it is this. I know we are behind in the league - obviously I look at the league table - but knowing what the youth team is up to gives me a really warm feeling.]]>

  • harry

    I’ve been the staunchest of defenders of Wenger in the past 3 years when there has been criticism of his methods, and of his tendency to place method on an equal footing to result. The approach against United on Saturday strengthened my belief that Wenger is the only man for this club. Which other top manager in world football under such pressure, with his team out of form, against a major rival, would have sent his team out to play with such freedom and abandon? Rafa or Jose… Ancelotti, Capello, Macnini and maybe even Sir Alex himself would undoubtedly have instructed their troops to batten down the hatches and “keep it tight” to “grind out a result” to “win when playing badly.” Not Wenger. He sent them out to express themselves and play. He has built the club a structure for the 21st century. A wonderful new home, that reflects Wenger’s vision, a team that plays football the right way, and a club that sets out to entertain people. To see essentially a youth team tear apart a Premiership outfit with such youthful abandon. This isn’t the Arsenal Carling Cup sides of even the past 2 years including second string players. Take out Djourou, the keeper and Song and the rest wouldn’t make the second XI (one could argue for Vela). This genuinely is a bunch of kids, playing the beautiful game, and doing it with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts. It’s the boys born in Stevenage, Walthamstow, Tottenham and Milton Keynes with the boys born in Douala, Cancun and Barcelona. It’s football as it should be played by the cosmopolitan new world order, played by young men for the enjoyment of the game. We have a youth set up now which is the envy of the world….. bringing through our own and and bringing in the best. There is only one man who could have created that. There truly is only one Arsene Wenger…….

  • jembea

    < ![CDATA[So we haven't won a trophy since 2005 and I'm not convinced that we will win anything this season. Every year we also talk about our kids and when they will become men and make the step-up. Last night showed that it could be getting close. Yes, Wigan had a blatant penalty not given. And the kids at times made some naive mistakes but only a bitter Spurs fan could deny that at times you could have been forgiven for thinking that you had been watching Arsenal's first team last night, such was the quality. The precocious confidence of 16-year-old Jack Wilshere, the power and vision of Aaron Ramsey, the daring trickery of Carlos Vela.

    While Liverpool, if reports are to be believed this morning, may have to sell their best bought in talent having spent millions they can't afford and the so-called richest club, Man City, continue to struggle after early promise, the future for Arsenal certainly looks promising. I don't need any response to the fact that we have spent considerable money buying in some of these kids like Vela, Ramsey (and before them Walcott) but, paying in installments as the players develop, it is far from the ridiculous one-off prices that other clubs are forking out for established stars.

    We Arsenal fans continually clamour for Wenger to strengthen and bring in some experience and while we continue to be trophyless, this will continue I'm sure but if the kids develop as quickly as they now seem to be doing and if we continue to bring British talent through (six of the starting line up last night), then maybe we can have real confidence - and maybe those outside the club may also start believing - that 'Wenger knows best'. Not just for the future of Arsenal Football Club but for the future of football in general.]]>

  • http://www.myspace.com/badboys0m0e emilio

    i like men!!! arsenal r the best team in the world!!! liverpool and chelsea are rubbish!!!!

  • Arif aka RF

    < ![CDATA[Fantastic !!
    All bout Pretty Football.]]>

  • Fo

    Amazing result, considering the opposition. Ha, ha Chelsea are out…