The past ten days started exceptionally well when, as is almost traditional now, the next generation proved that the club has an incredibly bright future by dispatching Sheff Utd from the Carling Cup with almost embarrassing ease. The 6-0 scoreline was justified after a stunning performance, in which Carlos Vela scored a hattrick on his first competitive start, Bendtner notched a brace and seemed to enjoy himself more than usual, and young Jack Wilshere also got on the scoresheet.
Predictably, the next day saw Wenger and his youngsters praised to the highest level, much as they have been after early rounds of the competition over the past few seasons. The difference this time was that there was considerable mention of the British nature of the team, with seven players from these islands appearing at some point, Wilshere and Ramsey impressing the most.
But in reality, it was simply a superb team performance, completed with a masterclass of finishing by a Dane and a Mexican who were working together well in pre-season. The events of the following few days, including that match against Hull, have overshadowed it a little, even tempered some enthusiasm for the result, but that shouldn’t be the case given that the matches were played by two entirely different teams.
That isn’t to say it was a perfect night – some of the individuals looked a little raw at times, especially members of the defence, but going forward it was classic Arsenal. Bendtner seems to be embedded in the football club a lot more this season, and is much more settled, while Vela impresses with every cameo performance. The kid is something special.
All in all, it was a stunning testament as to the focus of the club, where gaps in the squad can be entrusted to some of the world’s most promising youngsters. Whether they will make it at Arsenal or not is a moot point – some will, but the rest will have about as good a footballing education any teenager can receive.
The future is bright.