Arsenal 3-0 Wigan: Arsene Wenger's kids show English talent to impress Fabio Capello - match report
Published 00:00 12/11/08 By By John Cross
Jack Wilshere won the man-of-the-match bottle of champagne - but cannot touch a drop for two years.
In fact, Arsene Wenger might have taken 16-year-old Wilshere off with 15 minutes left because it was past his bedtime.
Arsenal's wonder kids humiliated Wigan's first-choice Premier League side with a magnificent performance which left Arsene Wenger just as excited as he was after Saturday's win over Manchester United.
And it left you wondering just how these kids would get on in the high pressure of the top flight after they blazed their way into Saturday's quarter-final draw.
There is no doubt Aaron Ramsey, 17, Mexican wonder-kid Carlos Vela, 19, and Wilshere could step straight into the first team.
Last night also saw a new star of the future, Jay Simpson, 19, burst on to the scene with a superbly-taken brace.
And what is more, Simpson was one of five English players in Arsenal's starting line-up which gave Fabio Capello plenty of food for thought as the England manager watched from the directors' box. Wenger has established himself as an X Factor-style talent guru and yet has been hammered for not bringing enough English players through the ranks.
But English kids Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Gavin Hoyte, Mark Randall and Simpson started last night - and gave Capello a wonderful glimpse into the future.
Wilshere looked like a little waif dwarfed by some of the fully-grown men surrounding him on the pitch.
But he stood tall and was head and shoulders above Wigan's midfield as he showed a wonderful range of passing, great poise and was hard to knock off the ball.
If Wilshere was not good enough, alongside him was Welsh midfielder Ramsey who has come of age in this competition this season.
He dominated the midfield battle as he also has quality and stature beyond his years.
They were terrific and, almost not to be outdone, Vela scored the goal of the night with a stunning 70th-minute lob to complete Arsenal's victory.
Capello came to spy on Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland who is hoping for an England recall for next Wednesday's friendly in Germany.
Although he was beaten three times he was easily Wigan's best player. Kirkland produced a string of brilliant early saves, denying Vela twice, Gibbs, Ramsey and also watched helpless when Simpson hit the bar. But his resistance was broken in the 42nd minute - and it came thanks to the pass of the night from Wilshere.
He threaded through a perfect pass which took out six Wigan players and released Simpson, who raced through before poking the ball past Kirkland.
That gave Arsenal the lead they deserved and yet they had a let-off when Johan Djourou appeared to handle the ball in his own penalty area.
But Arsenal hit top gear soon after with Ramsey's long ball out of defence sending Vela scampering past hapless Wigan defender Emmerson Boyce before he cut the ball back for Simpson to finish.
Djourou's ball out of defence found Vela and his exquisite chip beat Kirkland whose heroic saves were only outdone by an amazing stop by Lukasz Fabianski to somehow push Amr Zaki's point-blank shot on to the bar.
: Fabianski, Hoyte, Song Billong, Djourou, Gibbs, Wilshere (Bischoff 76), Randall, Ramsey, Merida, Simpson (Lansbury 76), Vela (Fonte 84).
Wigan : Kirkland, Cattermole (Brown 67), Boyce, Bramble, Melchiot, Valencia, Koumas (Camara 58), Palacios, De Ridder, Figueroa, Zaki.
Referee : Steve Tanner.
Attendance : 59,665
Man of the Match:
Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)
A midfield super show way beyond his tender 17 years
Villain of the Match
Emerson Boyce (Wigan)
Guilty of hapless defending on Arsenal's second goal
Arsenal have reached at least the semi-final of the League Cup in the last three seasons
Next Three Games
Saturday: Aston Villa (h) Prem
Sat Nov 22: Man City (a) Prem
Tue Nov 25: Dynamo Kiev (h) CL
Sat Nov 29: WBA (h) Prem
Saturday: Newcastle (a) Prem
Mon Nov 24: Everton (h) Prem
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