Sheffield United 0 Arsenal 3: Eduardo profits from Wenger's youth policy

Arsène Wenger vowed to back the burgeoning talent of his Carling Cup side all the way to the final after watching an XI containing four teenagers stroll into the last eight last night. This was all too easy for Arsenal, who might at least have expected that a team with an average age of 21-and-a-half to be given a serious examination of character by Sheffield United but instead found their Championship opponents ultimately not much better than willing accomplices.

Compared with the snarling aggression Wenger's teams always used to face when Neil Warnock was in charge, United were almost ineffectual. Eduardo da Silva, the £7.5m summer signing from Dynamo Zagreb, took advantage by adding his first domestic goals to the two he has scored in the Champions League, Denilson scoring Arsenal's third. A disgruntled United fan who breached security to throw his scarf at Bryan Robson offered an apt expression of what the home crowd thought.

"You could see that our confidence is high whereas maybe Sheffield's is not so good at the moment," Wenger said. "They fought hard in the first half but after the second goal the belief seemed to go a bit for them. But it was a good performance technically from us.

"I will try to stick with these players, although when you get to the semi-final over two legs it is difficult to predict who will be available, particularly if you have injuries."

Wenger was determined to brush aside the controversy surrounding Gilberto Silva, who was denied the captaincy last night despite being by far the most experienced player on duty. Apparently, the 31-year-old Brazilian World Cup winner was unhappy at being asked originally to play in the back four – he was in central midfield, in the event – and even though Wenger insisted "there is no problem with Gilberto" it was difficult not to see his decision to give the armband to Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, making only his second senior appearance, as a slap on the wrist.

United, whose seven changes said something about their priorities, had started brightly. But they were stunned by a superb strike from Eduardo after only seven minutes, the Brazilian-born Croatia international controlling a pass from Nicklas Bendtner at the edge of the penalty area before beating goalkeeper Ian Bennett at the near post with a stinging left-foot drive.

Yet there was regular pressure on Fabianski's goal, David Carney going close with a low, diagonal shot, Jonathan Stead likewise with his head.

Those chances gave Robson every reason to send his players out for the second half believing they could reverse the scoreline and they might have clung to that had Eduardo not been ushered through to score his second goal five minutes after the restart.

Responding to a through ball from Keiron Gibbs, an 18-year-old Englishman making his debut at left-back, the 24-year-old ran unchecked through a gaping chasm in United's back four before slotting the ball home to Bennett's right.

There was no doubt about the outcome after the 69th minute, when United's defence dropped their guard again, allowing Denilson the freedom to retrieve the ball outside the United box, turn unchallenged and then beat Bennett from 25 yards, aided by a deflection off Morgan.

Sheffield United (4-4-2): Bennett; Bromby, Lucketti, Morgan, Armstrong; Carney, Montgomery, Tonge (Gillespie, 74), S Quinn (Webber, 62); Stead (A Quinn, 62), Sharp. Substitutes not used: Kilgallon, Gerrard (gk).

Arsenal (4-3-3): Fabianski; Diarra, Song, J Hoyte, Gibbs; Denilson, Gilberto, Diaby (Merida, 88); Walcott (Lansbury, 83), Bendtner, Eduardo (Barazite, 85). Substitutes not used: Mannone (gk), G Hoyte.

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam