Arsenal won the FA Cup for a record 14th time as they beat Chelsea at Wembley today and a host of academy products contributed both in the earlier rounds of the competition and in the final itself.
Here’s a look at the academy products that were involved in each round.
Arsenal 1 Leeds United 0
Arsenal’s run in the competition started with a home win against Leeds, with Reiss Nelson scoring the only goal of the game.
Emiliano Martinez also started, while Gabriel Martinelli, Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka all featured as substitutes.
Tyreece John-Jules was also called up but didn’t enter the fray.
Bournemouth 1 Arsenal 2
On a night in which youngsters featured prominently, Saka and Nketiah were both on the scoresheet in the victory against Bournemouth.
Saka’s goal was set up by Martinelli before Saka turned provider for Nketiah.
Martinez, Hector Bellerin and Joe Willock also started, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles coming on in stoppage time.
Portsmouth 0 Arsenal 2
On another memorable night for some of the club’s youngsters, Nelson set up Sokratis and then found the net himself.
Martinez, Willock, Saka, Nketiah and Martinelli started with Maitland-Niles again involved in the dying moments.
Sheffield United 1 Arsenal 2
No youngsters scored on this occasion but there were still a host of academy products in a larger matchday squad.
Martinez, Maitland-Niles, Willock and Saka were involved from the outset, with Nketiah being brought on. Matt Macey, Bellerin, Nelson and Matt Smith were all unused substitutes.
Arsenal 2 Manchester City 0
Martinez, Bellerin and Maitland-Niles were all called upon, with Willock being brought on in the 72nd minute.
Macey, Nelson, Saka and Smith were on the bench and Karl Hein wasn’t in the matchday squad but trained with the goalkeepers on the pitch before the game.
Arsenal 2 Chelsea 1
Again, Martinez, Bellerin and Maitland-Niles started and this time Nketiah came on. Macey, Nelson, Saka, Smith and Willock were all unused substitutes, with all nine players getting winner’s medals. Hein again warmed up before the game.
Overall, Arsenal’s academy products made a major contribution to their latest FA Cup triumph and they were especially effective in the earlier rounds. Some of them had already experienced Wembley glory in the Community Shield in 2017, but they deserve praise for the impact that they have made.
For Martinez especially it was an emotional moment as he was finally rewarded for ten years of service at the club, while Nketiah has won both the Championship and the FA Cup in the same season having started the campaign on loan at Leeds.
Matt Smith, meanwhile, may not have played but it was still a fantastic experience for him to be included in the squad in the latter rounds; something which probably wouldn’t have happened if the season had finished as normal.