By Declan Taylor
Thanks to the FA Youth Cup, young striker Sanchez Watt is beginning to understand the true meaning of goals.
The 18-year-old bagged a first-half brace in Arsenal’s 4-1 Semi-Final second-leg victory over Manchester City last month. The result secured an emphatic 6-2 aggregate win against the much-fancied holders.
But then again, goals have seemingly come naturally to Steve Bould’s boys this year. The Under-18s found the net 71 times in their 28 Premier Academy League fixtures this season handing them an eventual plus-40 goal difference, 27 higher than anybody else.
The impressive strike rate did transfer to the Youth Cup but the Gunners also needed some crucial goals to stay in the competition. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’ strikes at Aston Villa and Tottenham spring immediately to mind and, for Watt, this season’s Cup experiences have hammered home the importance of finding the net in senior football.
“In the Youth Cup you start to understand how much one goal can mean,” the striker told Arsenal.com. “A good set-piece can make the difference.
“Maybe in the League we know we can score a lot of goals but in the Cup every one is vital. All the teams are different too, we come up against long-ball sides, good footballing ones so the variation is good too.
“It’s more like a battle in the Youth Cup, we won our League ages ago so this is so much more intense. People are fighting for places and there are much higher expectations. It has been great for all of us.
“All through the professional leagues there is pressure from the fans so you need to be able to deal with that.
“Learning how to handle the pressure, just getting used to that has been great.”
For ticket information for Friday night's clash at Emirates Stadium click here.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 20 May 2009