By Rob Kelly
As a return to form goes, Arsenal Reserves’ comprehensive victory at Swansea at the start of the month was about as emphatic as it gets.
On a bitterly cold night in west Wales, the scoreline - 2-0 - only told half the story as the second string swept the Swans aside with a display full of vim and vigour, poise and promise.
It was their first win in seven matches, but such was the confidence of Arsenal’s display you could be forgiven for assuming they had been unbeaten for the season.
Neil Banfield was practically purring as he reflected on a “first-class performance”, while his opposite number, Alan Curtis, admitted that Swansea were “lucky to get away with 2-0. They were by far the better team, they passed the ball a lot better and we struggled to contain them throughout”.
It was a vintage display that bore all the hallmarks of an Arsène Wenger side at their best. However, the challenge now facing the Gunners is to stage a repeat performance against Wolves at London Colney on Tuesday afternoon.
With a host of reserve-team regulars out on loan, some of the Academy’s most talented young players are sure to get their chance to shine and they must look to once again underline their vast potential.
Wanderers proved stubborn opponents for Arsenal in November as the two sides played out a goalless draw, although Banfield drew great encouragement from a committed display against an experienced side.
After being put under pressure in the first half, the Gunners turned the tables on Wolves after the restart and could count themselves unlucky not to come away with more than a point.
Zac Ansah made his first start in that match, and if he gets the nod to face the same opponents at Colney on Wednesday he will be keen to build on his goalscoring display at Swansea.
Elsewhere, Serge Gnabry has impressed in his three appearances for Banfield’s men, while Thomas Eisfeld - who signed on transfer deadline day from Borussia Dortmund - could also feature after making his debut in Wales.
Banfield admitted two weeks ago that there was excitement within the Club about the current crop of youngsters making their way up through the Under-18s and into the Reserves.
Tuesday’s clash against Wolves will act as another stern examination as they look to continue the progress that was so thrillingly evident at Swansea.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 13 Feb 2012