Pre-Match Report

Reserves: Arsenal v Aston Villa - preview

By Rob Kelly

Neil Banfield says his Arsenal Reserves squad can be inspired by the likes of Nico Yennaris and Ignasi Miquel after the pair played in Monday’s memorable FA Cup Third-Round win against Leeds.

The triumphant goalscoring return of Thierry Henry may have grabbed all the headlines, but Yennaris and Miquel both impressed with composed performances in the full-back positions.

And with Damian Martinez and Ryo Miyaichi sat on the Arsenal bench, Banfield believes it offers the rest of the Gunners’ second string hope for the future.

“It’s always good to see [young players] get a chance and have a good game, so I was pleased for the lads. I thought they both did well,” Banfield told

“It was a good result and as long as they can go in and help the first team keep going and try to impress the manager, that’s all we’re looking for. I think they did that on Monday night.

“It will without doubt serve as an inspiration to the rest of the Reserves team. They will realise that everyone can get a chance,  and as the manager says, if you are good enough, you play.”

Arsenal face Aston Villa at London Colney on Wednesday afternoon and Banfield expects a major test against a side who have beaten his team three times in succession.

“With Villa it’s always a really tough game against them - they are a very hard working, very talented team,” he said.

“It was a good game against them last time out [a 2-0 defeat], but I don’t feel we owe them one. We just have to keep to our beliefs and try to get a good result.”

Banfield is hoping for a positive response after he expressed his disappointment at his side’s display in losing 2-0 to Sunderland last week.

“I think they know that they let themselves down but Nico and Iggy played against Leeds and did themselves no harm at all,” he said.

“That’s how quickly the game changes, you have to be ready at any time. We will allow them one blip - I know the way they can play and hopefully we’ll get back to winning ways against Villa.”

With Luke Freeman sealing a permanent move to Stevenage on Tuesday, Banfield praised the striker and wished him well.

“Obviously I’m sad to see him go, but he has done well to get himself a contract and we all wish him well in his career,” he said.

“It was a pleasure to work with him, he was always a great trainer with a good attitude and he has obviously done well at Stevenage.” will bring you live Twitter commentary from the game and match highlights will be available 'on demand' from Thursday afternoon on Arsenal Player.

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