Vela too hot for Wigan
Young Gunners cruise into last eight
Last Updated: 11/11/08 11:22pm
Vela: Brilliant goal
Carlos Vela was the architect as Arsenal booked their place in the Carling Cup quarter-finals with victory over Wigan.
The gifted Mexican youngster scored a sublime third goal as Arsene Wenger's youngsters proved too good for an experienced Latics side.
Chris Kirkland produced a string of outstanding saves in the first half before finally being beaten as Jay Simpson stabbed home after Jack Wilshere's through ball.
Vela then left Emmerson Boyce in a heap as he broke down the left before rolling the ball across the box for Simpson to help himself to a second in the 66th minute.
And Vela then scored the goal of the night as he raced onto Johan Djourou's pass and chipped Kirkland from the edge of the box, before Lukasz Fabianski produced an astonishing double save to deny Daniel de Ridder and Amr Zaki.
The attacking potency of Wenger's youngsters had been evident as early as the 12th minute when Vela burst through the Wigan defence.
He attempted to round Kirkland in the Wigan goal but the keeper managed to get a hand to the ball and divert it to safety.
But Wigan's inability to clear their lines only served up another chance for the Gunners and this time Simpson rattled the crossbar with a ferocious effort.
Arsenal were now beginning to pick holes in the Wigan defence at will and when Vela set-up Kieran Gibbs in the 17th minute, it required another stunning save from Kirkland to keep the scores level.
But Wigan hit back and Arsenal had Fabianski to thank for denying De Ridder with a fine save.
Vela was causing all kinds of problems for the visiting defence and in the 20th minute he won a free-kick when Bramble sent him tumbling 25 yards out.
Wigan almost paid a costly price for the foul as Aaron Ramsey's free-kick was only just kept out by a superb one-handed stop from Kirkland.
Seconds later Kirkland repeated the feat to keep out a long-range Vela effort that was destined for the top corner.
The impressive striker had attempted to curl the ball into the corner but Kirkland somehow managed to get his fingertips to it.
However, Wigan still had their moments and Zaki was again unable to direct his header on target when De Ridder had managed to engineer some space on the right flank to send over a dangerous cross.
But Arsenal continue to pile forward and Maynor Figueroa had to time his tackle well to prevent Simpson from moving in on goal in the 35th minute.
A corner by Wilshere moments later presented Djourou with a chance to open the scoring but the ball would just not come down quick enough for the defender to get his shot away and Wigan cleared the danger.
In the 39th minute Arsenal's Fran Merida cut in from the left wing and sent a low drive heading towards goal only for the ball to take a deflection and spin just wide.
Arsenal's Mark Randall was penalised for a foul on De Ridder in the 41st minute but Fabianski dealt comfortably with the subsequent free-kick.
But Kirkland's heroics counted for nothing when he was finally beaten a minute later.
It was a typically clever Arsenal move as Simpson latched on to a superb through-ball from Wilshere and poked the ball beyond the keeper despite a late lunge from Mario Melchiot.
Wigan began the second half far brighter and Zaki should have done better from the edge of the penalty area in the 51st minute but his shot was dealt with easily by Fabianski.
But Arsenal responded quickly with Simpson heading a cross from Merida just over the crossbar. In the 57th minute Merida forced Kirkland into another fine save with a low 20-yard drive that swerved all the way.
A minute later Wigan boss Steve Bruce replaced midfielder Jason Koumas with striker Henri Camara.
In the 62nd minute Arsenal almost went 2-0 up when a wonderful piece of skill from Ramsey set up Gibbs who sped into the penalty area and unleashed an angled drive that Kirkland saved with his feet.
Mexican Vela also went close a minute later when his drive rose just too high to trouble Kirkland.
But in the 67th minute, a stunning counter attack brought Arsenal their second. Vela ran the length of the Wigan half, leaving Boyce trailing in his wake, before crossing for Simpson to apply a simple finish.
The Mexican made it three for Arsenal in the 70th minute when he produced a superb chip over Kirkland from 18 yards to finish another wonderful night for the young Gunners.Wigan's night was made more miserable two minutes from time when they were robbed of a consolation goal by a fantastic double save from Fabianski to deny De Ridder and then Zaki.
|Arsenal||Team Statistics||Wigan Athletic|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|8||Shots on Target||6|
|4||Shots off Target||4|