Pre-Match Report

Under-21s: Norwich v Arsenal - Preview

Benik Afobe

"I still felt I had the legs to go past their defenders. We knew we would get that one chance and we needed to take it. I said to Kris Olsson to look for the ball in behind and luckily he did that with a great ball and I managed to finish it off."

It may have been his final act in an Arsenal shirt this season, but Benik Afobe made sure he went out in style after his extra-time winner sent the under-21s through to the semi-finals of the Premier League Cup.

"Personally I think that's the best defensive performance we've produced this season"

Benik Afobe

Afobe has joined Sheffield Wednesday on loan for the remainder of the campaign and the Championship club have undoubtedly gained a striker in form. The 20-year-old has scored three goals in as many games and will provide Stuart Gray's side with a much-needed boost as they fight to avoid relegation to League One.

Steve Gatting's side soaked up a swarm of Chelsea attacks to ensure Monday's quarter-final went the distance before the Gunners pushed on in the extra half an hour to claim probably their most significant win this season.

"It was important to keep compact in defence and midfield and try and hit them on the counter-attack," Afobe told Arsenal.com. "We knew we had the legs on them up front so we just had to stay focused. Personally I think that's the best defensive performance we've produced this season.

"Chelsea started off really well and they are probably one of the best technical teams we'll play this season. But we grew into the game and we showed we were fitter than them in extra time.

 

"When the final whistle went we looked across to the other half and they were on the floor lying down. We could see that they were very tired. But we stayed composed and really attacked them.

"Being out for seven and a half months is always difficult," added Afobe. "No one expects me to come back to my best straight away but, me being the person that I am, I want to regain the form that I once showed as soon as possible.

"I've got stronger game by game. I started off playing 20 minutes and now I've got through 120 minutes and I still felt I had more in me. So that just shows how far I've come over these last few months."

Next up for Arsenal is a trip to Carrow Road, a ground they have already won at this season. Gatting's men are have lost their last two games in the league. Norwich sit two places and just a point above the Gunners, who slipped down to 12th after their 4-2 defeat at home to Liverpool last time out.

We will have live tweets from Carrow Road from 6.55pm (UK time) on the @Arsenal account.

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