Last night saw over 33,000 people come to support the Arsenal youth team in the final of the FA Youth Cup against Liverpool. Unlike our opponents, Arsenal were made up of young English players with the exception of Coquelin and Sunu. This was truly an Arsenal academy team.
Liverpool started brightly, relying upon the strength of their Finnish striker Dalla Valle, but Arsenal’s defence, marshalled by Kyle Bartley and Coquelin in front of the back four kept Liverpool at bay. Arsenal suffered an early blow when midfield power house Frimpong had to go off injured. Wilshere moved into a central midfield role and started to run the game.
It was no surprise that Arsenal took the lead through Gilles Sunu; this really got the crowd going. Arsenal piled on the pressure and Liverpool’s Spanish defender Ayala cynically fouled Wilshere and was fortunate to escape with a yellow card. Arsenal’s captain, Emmanuel-Thomas, a giant on the pitch, took the free-kick and hit the post, from the ensuring melee, Arsenal won a penalty. This was taken and scored by Jack Wilshere, the shortest and youngest player in the Arsenal team.
Arsenal were coasting at this stage, but a poor pass from Wilshere saw Arsenal lose the ball, Liverpool advanced quickly and a fortuitous short from Swede Kacaniklic came off a defender and he made no mistake with the second attempt.
The second half started with Liverpool coming at Arsenal for the first five minutes, Arsenal repelled these attacks and soon set-up camp in the Liverpool half. Wilshere was orchestrating play from the middle, whilst Emmanuel-Thomas was toying with the Liverpool defenders.
Liverpool were dealt with a knock-out blow when Wilshere delivered a ball to substitute Sanchez Watts who chipped the ball over Liverpool’s Australian goalkeeper Bouzanis.
Arsenal’s strength and fitness was too strong for Liverpool and from a Lansbury corner, Emmanuel-Thomas headed the ball to make it 4-1.
Second half substitute Rhys Murphy was wrongly judged to be off-side as he met a beautiful through ball from Lansbury to slot the ball home.
Arsenal were to strong and too good for this Liverpool side and we can expect some of these boys to be in the Carling Cup team for next season and one or two will make the bench for Premier League games too. What was great is that nearly all the players are English
Arsenal visit Anfield on Tuesday night and it will require something of a disaster for Arsenal not to add the FA Youth Cup to their FA Premier Youth Academy trophy.