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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 12, 2008

Young Gunners set for another run-out

Arsene Wenger will not prevent his wonderkids of the chance to cover themselves in Carling Cup glory.

The Arsenal coach is determined to stick with his young guns after watching them pass their hardest test with flying colours against Wigan Athletic.

The Gunners youngsters destroyed Steve Bruce's side with two goals from Jay Simpson and a third from Mexican teenager Carlos Vela.

The north London club despatched Sheffield United in the previous round 6-0 and they reached the last eight with another superb performance.

The average age of their starting line-up was just 19 but they showed maturity and class way beyond their years to send Wigan packing.

And but for a top-notch display by goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, the Latics would have gone home with an even heavier defeat.

"It was a big test for such a young team," said Wenger. "I will keep them together to see how far they can go.

"First we had Sheffield United and then Wigan.

"They were different challenges but now you know they can turn up and produce. It will be interesting to go into the quarter-final and to see who we get.

"We stood up to the test and got a remarkable combination of desire, energy and quality.

"From the first to the last minute we looked really up for it. We had a relentless go. In the end it was a fantastic win.

"These boys they surprise everybody because there is a mixture of character, commitment and calm as well.

"Under pressure they remain extremely calm and play always very good football.

"What they do on the pitch is not a coincidence, it is quality."

Kirkland had already pulled off a string of fine saves to deny Vela and Aaron Ramsey while Simpson had rattled the bar before putting the Gunners ahead three minutes before the break.

Simpson added a second after half-time when Vela ran half the length of the pitch before pulling the ball back for his strike partner to finish a classic counter-attack.

Vela then produced a stunning chip over Kirkland in the 70th minute to complete a rout that had Wigan boss Steve Bruce admitting that Arsene's kids were 'frightening'.

"We simply didn't make it a cup tie," said a dejected Bruce. "We gave them time and space and freedom to enjoy themselves.

"They were frightening on the night. The age of them. Arsene says it is the best crop of youngsters he's had and when you think of the young players they have had in the past, that is some compliment.

"They gave us a torrid evening. We've gone out of the cup with a whimper really. They created more chances against us than any other team this season.

"We've had our backsides kicked by a very good, young Arsenal team."

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