Feature

FA Cup: Three things we noticed

YOUTHFUL EXUBERANCE

All ten outfield players were involved in the build-up for the opening goal, stringing together 22 passes in the move.

And it was our young players at the sharp end of the move, with 20 year old Joe Willock driving to the edge of the area before slipping the ball to Garbriel Martinelli (two years his junior) to set up fellow 18-year-old Bukayo Saka to finish for his third first-team goal.

Willock claimed the pre-assist for the second goal too, spraying a wonderful pass out wide to Saka who centred for 20-year-old Nketiah to tap home for his fourth first-team goal.

Two fine goals, four players aged 20 or under at the very heart of them.


EDDIE'S BACK

Our young striker could well have been starting his second loan spell of the season by now, instead tonight he was starting his first game for us for more than 12 months.

The last time our academy product started was in our third round FA Cup win over Blackpool last season. Since then he scored his first Premier League goal at Burnley and netted five times while on loan at Leeds.

It looked as though he would be heading back out on loan again last week, until Mikel Arteta decided to keep him after he impressed in training. And he repaid the head coach's faith in him with the second goal – a typical poacher's finish. Right place, right time.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has now served his three-game suspension, and he returns to find a little more competition for places up front.


THE LEFT-WING LINK UP

Bukayo Saka was named man-of-the-match for his tireless display, and his link up play with Gabriel Martinelli continues to be a major facet of our game under Mikel Arteta.

The two are firm contenders to be voted as our player of the month for January, and the teenagers certainly seem to have quickly built up an excellent rapport.

Martinelli has now been directly involved in a goal in each of his last three games (two goals, one assist) while Saka's assist for the second goal was his seventh of the season so far - more than any other Arsenal player.

In fact he has been directly involved in 10 goals in all competitions – only Martinelli (13) and Aubameyang (17) have been involved in more for us this season.

And the point bears repeating: both Martinelli and Saka are still eligible to play in the FA Youth Cup, never mind the real thing.

 

 

 

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