Arsenal v Doncaster

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'This is a moment I've always dreamed of'

Josh Dasilva became the 845th player ever to play for the Arsenal first team when he came on at half time of our Carabao Cup match against Doncaster on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old was understandably delighted to have made his first appearance for Arsene Wenger’s side and discussed the match with Arsenal Player afterwards.

This is what he had to say:

on making his first-team debut…
It was quite surprising, obviously the boss threw me on at half-time and it’s just a good feeling to finally make my debut for Arsenal Football Club.

on a very special moment…
It’s a moment I’ve dreamt of since I’ve been here since I was nine, so ever since I’ve just been working towards this dream and I’ve achieved it. I’m just trying to push on and get more appearances for this great club.

on his journey to the first team…
I came through Hale End and I’m a third year now so I was in the under-18s for two years and now I’m with the under-23s and getting to grips with first team football now. It’s good, so I’m just trying to push on now.

on his performance…
I thought it was quite fast and Doncaster are a good team, so we had to give them respect. But I tried to adapt because I’m not used to playing centre-back, so it was a good challenge for me. The boss can play me anywhere and I’ll play so it was a good experience!

on what he learned…
Just to play the ball quick and know the next pass and just enjoy it really that’s the main thing. That’s why I play football because I enjoy playing football.

on the motivation to keep working hard…
I just want to get more appearances for this club, so I’m just going to carry on doing what I’ve been doing and hopefully I can get more appearances.


Match video: Arsenal v Doncaster Rovers

Theo Walcott scored his first goal of the season as we beat Doncaster Rovers to reach the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.

The England forward latched onto a ball from Alexis before volleying it into the net to set up a home fixture against Norwich City in October.

You can now watch all the match action from Emirates Stadium. Our extended highlights are available at the top of the page, and a bitesize cut is viewable below.

You can also watch the match in full - and also watch Olivier Giroud’s stunning bicycle kick.

Post-Match Report

Arsenal 1-0 Doncaster: How it happened


Theo Walcott’s first goal of the season was enough to seal our place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup against a hard-working Doncaster Rovers team.

Pitting Arsene Wenger against Sir Alex Ferguson’s son, Darren, we dominated the first half but struggled to maintain our intensity after the restart and survived some nervy moments in the closing stages. 

We had made a bright start to the game, completely in charge during the opening exchanges and pinning the visitors back deep in their own half.

Walcott saw a shot saved low down by Ian Lawlor, before Olivier Giroud came close to reaching his century of Arsenal goals with an acrobatic effort that cannoned off the bar.

It was one-way traffic, with Jack Wilshere – in his first start since May 2016 – dictating play from the centre of the pitch, stroking the ball around and underlining his enduring class.

The England international had half a chance to double the advantage, but scuffed his shot at the near post after being found by Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Giroud was next to try his luck after Mohamed Elneny curled in an inviting cross to the striker from the right, but his header looped just over the bar.

Doncaster briefly threatened just before the interval when Rodney Kongolo pounced on a loose ball and raced towards goal, before finding Alfie May but the forward’s shot flew into the sidenetting.

We remained on the front foot after the interval, with Walcott spurning a good chance to double our lead after being played in by Giroud, but he lifted his shot over the bar.

With Doncaster growing in confidence the longer the game remained with just a goal in it, a degree of tension filled the ground.

It only deepened when, in the 79th minute, an error from Ainsley Maitland-Niles saw John Marquis race through on goal… only for the Arsenal man to race back and win the ball back before the forward could take advantage.

Liam Mandeville then came close to an equaliser after working space for himself in the Arsenal area, only to see his shot deflected wide. From the resulting corner, Matty Blair sent a towering header towards the top corner, but David Ospina tipped it over.

With nerves jangling, that was the last of the chances and the final whistle was met with relief from the home fans.


See how the game unfolded through our play-by-play coverage of the match.


We have secured our place in the fourth round of the League Cup for the 14th time in the past 15 seasons.


The draw for the fourth round of the Carabao Cup was made after the final whistle, and we'll host Norwich City at Emirates Stadium in the week commencing October 23.

The boys now have the weekend off – but return to Premier League action on Monday night at the Emirates against West Brom.

We have won our last six home games against the Baggies, conceding just once in the process – although Tony Pulis’ side beat us last time out, 3-1 at The Hawthorns, in March.


Jack Wilshere was back on home territory, making his first start for the club since a 4-0 win against Aston Villa in May 2016.

It was an encouraging performance from the 25-year-old too, as he passed the ball around slickly and always looked to prise open the Doncaster defence.

Here are some of his highlights:

6 - Wilshere gets the ball outside the area and chips a lovely ball over the top of the defence to Olivier Giroud, whose acrobatic volley hits the bar

11 - Alexis releases Maitland-Niles down the left flanker and he cuts the ball towards Wilshere at the near post but he scuffs his shot wide

28 - Wilshere collects the ball 25 yards out and, with time and space available, takes aim, but his fierce drive is deflected just wide

Jack in action at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night

48 - Doncaster take an elaborate free kick, but before they can deliver the ball into the area Wilshere races out and slides in to win the ball, earning a huge cheer from the home fans

49 - Arsenal break with Wilshere feeding Giroud, who curls a lovely ball around the back of the defence for Walcott to race in on goal, but he fires over the bar

89 - Iwobi breaks down the right and cuts the ball back across the edge of the area for Wilshere, whose powerful drive is deflected out for a corner


‘He kept the ball well… that’s vintage Jack’

Per Mertesacker admitted the team had been given a thorough test by Doncaster on Wednesday night - but felt one big positive was Jack Wilshere.

The England international completed 90 minutes and impressed in central midfield, with the club captain pleased with what he saw.

This is what he told Arsenal Player:

on the performance…
It was tough from the first to the last minute. The longer the game was, the harder it got for us to keep control of the ball, to keep control of the game. It was difficult today. We got through and we’re going to build on that.

on Doncaster not making life easy for Arsenal…
That’s what I meant. I think it was a good test for us to see that you cannot give five per cent less in such a game against lower-league teams. They did really well and their forwards, especially in the second half, had the physique to withstand 90 minutes plus. It’s a good test for us and those who didn’t feature in the Premier League last time had a go tonight. It’s important that we get game time, that we get extra fitness. Only with these games can you get that extra shape that you need to compete for places in the Premier League. It was important to win, but we obviously need to improve and move the ball quicker at times.

on Jack Wilshere’s first start in 493 days…
It was very good to have him back out there. You can see that he’s getting more comfortable with his position now. He’s brave now and he trusts his body. That’s the most important thing, that he’s capable of playing 90 minutes. He will just grow with that and he was vocal as well, which was important for us, especially at the end. He kept the ball well in tight situations and to come out of that is vintage Jack. That’s what we want to see from him in the future here at Arsenal.

on the young players…
You can see that it’s going to be difficult against League One teams. They are tough, they come at you, every single time you touch the ball someone is behind you. It was a good test for everyone. To get comfortable playing in front of 60,000 is what we have the development centre for, the academy. That’s what they want, so they need to rise to those occasions and play to the level that’s required. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be tough, but those tests are vital for those young players.


'You can see that Jack will soon be back'

Jack Wilshere made his first start for us since May 2016 on Wednesday night - and his performance offered plenty of encouragement.

The England international impressed as he completed 90 minutes in our 1-0 win against Doncaster Rovers and afterwards Arsene Wenger had this to say about him:

on Wilshere getting a run out…
I wanted to leave him on to give him 90 minutes and overall I think it was an ideal game for him tonight to gain confidence and fitness. We’ll see after that how he will respond, normally he’s alright after the game.

on him proving something to Wenger…
Well I think you have to put this game into perspective as well - it has not exactly the intensity of a Premier League game, but it’s important for him to build him up gradually. 

on whether he has the same diet as Sead Kolasinac…
No, no, no, no I don’t think they eat together.

on when he will start in the Premier League…
I don’t know, I go game by game and we play next week three games, Monday, Thursday, Sunday before the international break, so I will have to make decisions to balance the team and to see who I play and when.

on whether Jack needs careful management...
For me he is available now to play and the decision I have to make is when to play him, but I think this kind of game in its 90 minutes at that intensity repeated and then he will soon be back. You see that in his movement it is natural and after that everybody is looking at him because of course everybody expects him to come back to his best and I wish that as well.

on contract talks with Wilshere…
Tonight is not the best moment to speak about that.


'We started well... but lost a bit of cohesion'

Arsene Wenger gave an honest assessment of his side’s performance in their Carabao Cup third-round win against Doncaster - admitting they lost some cohesion in the second half.

Theo Walcott’s goal put us in front at the interval, but we could not add to the scoreline and had to soak up some late pressure from the visitors.

Afterwards, Wenger had this to say in his post-match press conference:

on the performance…
I would agree with you, I believe that we started well and in the first 25 minutes had a good pace in our game and good flow and slowly lost a bit our cohesion and our speed in our passing and decreased our level and after that I think we did the job even if we had not anymore the style we want to play and the flair to kill the game off.

on his relationship with Sir Alex…
I invited him tonight, you know! Sport is good for that. You fight against each other and with respect.

on whether he misses him from the Premier League…
I think he was a big personality in the Premier League of course, but I still meet him sometimes in the European meetings.

on whether Darren is a chip off the old block…
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, oh sorry yes.

on Theo Walcott’s injury…
He had a kick behind his knee at half-time and in the second half he got another kick. I don’t think it’s big, it looks to me a kick - not more than that.

on giving Alexis 90 minutes…
For me he needs competition and that’s why I left him on the pitch as well.

on whether Alexis will be ready for Monday night…
Yes, he should be ready now.

on Doncaster Rovers…
I would say that they played well, very well and that has changed in the lower divisions now, first of all everybody is super fit. They had absolute total fitness, they were well organised, they came they gave us a tough time, they never have shown any weakness mentally, they kept going until the end - they could have scored a goal as well. I must say I was surprised by their quality and their level, so they shouldn’t be too concerned to stay in the league. I think they need to adapt because they just came up, but they have enough to stay in the league for me.

on Calum Chambers…
Chambers is injured again on the hip, yes.


Wenger - What the youngsters will learn from that

It was a challenging night for us on Wednesday as we had to dig deep to beat Doncaster Rovers to progress to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.

Arsene Wenger handed first-team debuts to the Josh Willock and Josh DaSilva, while Reiss Nelson made his full debut, and the boss says they will all learn from the experience.

“[They’ll have found out about] the intensity of the game,” he told Arsenal Player. “That the quality of the decision-making has to be spot on, and especially the quality of your concentration. 

“They showed all qualities but sometimes they were surprised by a lack of concentration. At that level, you cannot afford that. 

“Overall, there are positives in it because they’ve shown a good level, but tactically they still have to adjust to the intensity of that.

“Overall, in the first half we played very well. We started very well with a quick flow in our game, good passing and good movement. Slowly we lost our way a little bit and couldn’t score the second goal. 

“In the second half we missed a few opportunities and it was always open in the end. It was important not to make a mistake. We looked like we lacked a bit of competition in the second half. 

“We had some tired legs and then our level went a little bit. Overall we managed to win the game without conceding a goal, and that is positive.”