Young Gunners sink Sunderland
By Alex Livie. Last Updated: 25/10/05 5:40pm
Arsene Wenger's young charges justified their selection with a 3-0 Carling Cup victory at Sunderland.
Wenger continued his policy of fielding youth in the competition, although the likes of Sol Campbell and Pascal Cygan added a tough of experience to the side, and his fledgling team proved too good for The Black Cats at The Stadium of Light.
The damage was done in a six-minute second-half spell, as a fine strike from Emmanuel Eboue and penalty from Robin van Persie took the game beyond Sunderland and a late third from the Dutchman ended the North East side's hopes of a cup run.
Sunderland's decision to drop admission prices paid off, as upwards of 47,000 made their way to The Stadium of Light and the two sides attempted to keep the crowd interested in the contest by trading early chances.
Dutch international van Persie showed neat control before testing Ben Alnwick's handling, while at the other end Jon Stead's physical approach unsettled the Arsenal back-line and he saw a goal-bound shot deflected wide.
Arsenal's fledgling midfield approached the game with youthful exuberance and they restricted the home side to shots from distance, with Andrew Welsh and Stead seeing efforts comfortably saved by Manuel Almunia.
Arsenal should have broken the deadlock five minutes before the break, but Philippe Sederos somehow headed wide from five yards after rising unchallenged at a corner.
Anthony Le Tallec headed wide for Sunderland in a similar situation, although his chance was not as clear cut as that of the towering Swiss defender.
Van Persie forced Alnwick into a fine reflex save just after the break, with the keeper stooping low to keep out a powerful drive from the Dutch forward.
The second half was littered by misplaced passes and the quality of the opener came as a surprise. Eboue collected a ball 25 yards from goal, took a touch to steady himself before flashing a shot into the top corner which left Alnwick a shocked spectator.
Sunderland's hopes of mounting a revival were dashed 23 minutes from time, as Arturo Lupoli was felled in the box and van Persie showed Robert Pires exactly how a penalty should be taken as he dispatched his shot into the top corner with his left foot.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of Sunderland and van Persie's late third put some gloss on the scoreline.
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||7|
|4||Shots off Target||6|
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