Arsenal 3 Reading 0: Highbury's class of 2005 dazzle in Reading test
Wednesday 30 November 2005
Arsène Wenger has said he prefers to judge his players on their technique rather than the country on their passport and watching his young foreign charges overwhelm the Championship leaders last night, Highbury could only agree with his criteria. The Reading fans may have chanted "England" in mockery but a Carling Cup victory built on goals from Jose Antonio Reyes and Robin van Persie was the ideal riposte.
It was the first goal for the Spain international since 10 September and Wenger said that he had brought Reyes back into the team to "help him find his confidence".
A return to Highbury for Reading's Steven Sidwell, Graham Stack and James Harper will have told these three former Arsenal trainees everything they needed to know about how Wenger sees the future of his club. In the Arsenal team against them, the élite graduates of the Highbury academy were, among others, a Swede, two Dutchmen, two Swiss, a right-back from the Ivory Coast and two Englishmen.
On 12 minutes, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie collected the ball on the left and passed through Reading's back line for Reyes to run on to. He darted around Stack and rolled the ball into the net from a tight angle to give Arsenal an early lead.
Owusu-Abeyie, who was making his seventh first-team appearance this season, was the outstanding performer and, shortly before half-time, Wenger's side scored a goal that mimicked the style of their senior team-mates. Van Persie found Sebastian Larsson on the right and when his cross was laid back by Reyes, the Dutch striker tucked home his eighth goal in as many games.
The Arsenal goalscoring record that Thierry Henry surpassed this season was one of the club's more remarkable milestones but another phenomenon has emerged in their reserve side and his strike rate is no less impressive. At 18, Arturo Lupoli has scored 31 times for the second string in his past 29 appearances.
Lupoli managed two in the Carling Cup defeat of Everton last season and this time he was the recipient of a gift from Ibrahim Sonko. The Reading defender tripped over a long punt from the back to allow Lupoli to roll in the third and secure Arsenal's place in the Carling Cup last eight for the third successive year.
Arsenal (4-4-2): Almunia; Eboue, Senderos, Djourou, Gilbert; Larsson, Muamba, Flamini, Owusu-Abeyie (Bendtner, 83); Reyes (Cygan, 74), Van Persie (Lupoli, 63). Substitutes not used: Poom (gk), Connolly.
Reading (4-4-2): Stack (Hahnemann, 83); Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey ( Makin, 59); Oster, Sidwell, Harper, Hunt; Lita (Doyle, 73), Kitson. Substitutes not used: Little, Convey.
Referee: L Mason (Lancashire).
Latest in Sport
Ashley Cole and Luke Shaw rise to the bait to deny they are the rumoured 'gay England footballer'
Chelsea 4 Tottenham 0 match report: Samuel Eto’o stoops to conquer sorry Spurs
West Brom 0 Manchester United 3 match report: Manchester United stick to the script as Robin Van Persie loses the plot
Arsenal 4 Everton 1 match report: Revitalised Mesut Özil breathes life into Arsenal
Transfer news: Micah Richards could fill gap at Arsenal with Bacary Sagna's departure as Manchester City contract winds down
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 3 Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
- 4 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’