Arsenal beat Blackburn 3-2 in a thrilling Carling Cup tie at Ewood Park last night, here I look at how some of the younger players got on.
Mark Randall started the game and was involved in the first goal. He played a neat pass to Bendtner who crossed for Eduardo to fire home. He made some good touches throughout the match, but was subject to some rough challenges from Robbie Savage et al and eventually tiredness got the better of him. He definitely needs to work on his fitness, but the ability is definitely there. He was booked for a mis-timed challenge.
Nacer Barazite replaced Randall on 80 minutes, and showed flashes of his great pace and technical ability on the ball before being strechered off with what looked like a very serious injury. It was later revealed that he had dislocated his shoulder. The injury comes at a bad time for the Dutchman, who has been performing well for both the Reserves and the u-18s recently.
Spanish sensation Fran Merida came on for Barazite on 101 minutes. He made a few decent runs and set up a few goalscoring opportunities but failed to make an impact on the game. It was, however, another great learning curve for the ex-Barcelona youth player. It is rumoured that he is set to return to Spain to join Real Sociedad in January.
Lambeth born Kieran Gibbs replaced the hero Eduardo in extra-time. He didn’t really have any chances to make any sort of impact on the game, but it was another great experience for him nonetheless.
Gavin Hoyte was once again an unused substitute, but his chances will come. Perhaps in next season’s Carling Cup.
Italian ‘keeper Vito Mannone remained on the bench throughout the game, but he did have something to smile about afterwards as he signed a new contract, confirming Arsene Wenger’s strong belief in the youngster.
After the game, Arsene Wenger unsurprisingly revealed that he will continue to play the youngsters in the semi-final no matter who they come up against.