By Giuseppe Muro
Arsenal’s youngsters have the chance to put a forgettable week behind them when they entertain Chelsea in a second-string London derby today.
An “unacceptable” defeat for the Reserves against Aston Villa followed by an FA Youth Cup exit at the hands of today’s opponents has soured what, up until those losses, had been a hugely successful campaign.
Sevens wins from ten, with a relatively youthful squad, is hardly a bad return at the halfway point of the Reserve season. So while acknowledging that his team’s performance in the Midlands last Monday wasn’t up to scratch, manager Neil Banfield wants things put into perspective.
“One swallow doesn’t make a summer,” he told Arsenal.com. “We’ve got to keep a handle on it. We’ve gone through the whole season really well.
“I remember going to Reading a few years ago, we got beaten [by] six and I think Kieran Gibbs was playing with a couple of other lads [Denilson and Armand Traore]. Now Kieran’s in the first team and the 6-0 has drifted into oblivion.
“If you look at the whole picture, we’ve gone the whole season playing really well and gone away to some tough places and got results.
“We’ve got to make sure we get back on the bike and make sure we go again.”
In the wake of succumbing to Villa, Banfield bemoaned the lack of character shown by his players and that’s the first thing he wants put right against the Blues.
Arsenal responded to their only other Reserve League defeat this season with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Everton. The manager wants a similar reaction at London Colney.
“It’s happened to us, so we’ve got to show the character to bounce back and show what young Arsenal players are all about.
“Definitely, I think there will be a response to the defeat. We are looking for a big response against Chelsea.
“We’ve said it’s all about getting the players through [to the first team] but that [result] is unacceptable, we all know that. We all take responsibility for it and we all get on with it. Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 25 Jan 2011