By Rob Kelly
Neil Banfield says that Arsenal Reserves’ past two performances should act as the benchmark for the rest of the season.
The second string delivered a stirring display to beat Swansea at the start of the month and followed it up with another thrilling showing in the 3-0 defeat of Wolves last week.
Banfield has been hugely encouraged by his team’s emphatic return to form and is hoping for more of the same against Norwich on Tuesday night.
“The win against Wolves was really pleasing because of the players’ enthusiasm, work rate and willingness to work on their games,” he told Arsenal.com.
“Without a doubt that performance, along with the display against Swansea, is the benchmark for them to try to reach for the rest of this season.
“That is what we are expecting from them, they have set the bar very high. Wolves and Swansea are physically different sides, but both had senior players playing and we managed to deliver two good performances.”
Banfield says that some technical changes in training and an emphasis on trying to press opponents higher up the field has worked wonders in recent weeks.
But he also believes the enthusiasm of some of the younger members of the squad has helped to spark a rejuvenation in form.
“Overall it has been a really good season. We had a bit of a dip when one or two went out but some of the younger lads have come in and they are working hard to show what they can do,” said Banfield.
Arsenal will travel to Carrow Road in good spirits and will be confident of further success, having beaten the Canaries 4-2 at London Colney in November.
Banfield is hoping for of the same from his side, but he appreciates the challenges that young players tend to face at this point in their careers.
“Consistency tends to come with age and maturity. It comes with time, but the quicker they add a bit of maturity to their games and become more consistent, the quicker they move on to the next level,” he said.
“You can see what Norwich are all about with the way that Paul Lambert has set them up and I think it will be a good game there in front of a big crowd.
“We have a large Arsenal contingent in the Norwich area so it will be a good atmosphere and a good night hopefully.”
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