Future bright for rampant Gunners
By Patrick Goss. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Arsenal's future looks as bright as their present, with the club using a Carling Cup fourth round tie against Wolves to showcase their youngsters, and emerging as 5-1 victors.
Jeremie Aliadiere was the star, opening the scoring and adding a wonderful second, which, along with strikes from relative veterans Kanu and Sylvain Wiltord and a well-worked fifth from Cesc sent the Highbury crowd home happy - despite a consolation strike from Alex Rae.
A supposedly strong Wolves side lined up against an Arsenal team that, with a few notable exceptions, was wholly unfamiliar to the Premiership purists.
But if Dave Jones's men thought that they were in for a comfortable night - they were quickly shown that even Arsene Wenger's reserve side is bristling with raw talent.
Kanu, one of the seniors on show, should have opened the scoring with a gift of a chance early on - but contrived to pass the ball wide with the goal gaping.
As if to make amends the Nigerian then showed scintillating skill to almost carve an opener out of nothing, but after wriggling down the touchline, his scooped effort rattle the post.
Aliadier had looked sharp and aware, and he showed this to perfection when he reacted to a Lee Naylor error to nip ahead of a flat-footed Jody Craddock and slotted home with aplomb past Andy Marshall.
At the other end Rae had an effort fly just wide, whilst Paul Ince had an acrobatic effort saved and Nathan Blake turned Efstathios Tavlaridis but shot wide of Graham Stack's goal.
The second half was almost entirely Arsenal - with Aliadiere revelling in the space and Kanu turning on the tricks.
It was the latter that grabbed the second. Wiltord had already had a fine chance superbly saved by Marshall, when he laid on a wonderful cross that Kanu tapped around the keeper and sidefooted home.
But Aliadiere did not deserve to be upstaged and he provided a simply sublime third, when he twisted and turned past Paul Butler and Craddock before slotting brilliantly home.
Wiltord had worked superbly well all night, and he was rewarded for his efforts when he waltzed through a distinctly rusty offside trap and slotted past the unfortunate Marshall.
The Wolves fans were given a rare moment of respite when Rae - a player who had fought harder than the majority of his team-mates put together - angrily lashed home a chance from a tight angle he had engineered himself.
Four became five when impressive 16-year-old Cesc had the simplest tap in from a Wiltord cross-come-shot.
In the end, despite the chants from the travelling fans, Arsenal's supporters were still singing, and could well be singing even more in a very rosey future.
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