Burnley 2-0 Arsenal
So that’s the Milk Cup over for another year – but I think the kids can once again be proud of their achievements. Last night we were undone by profligacy on a grand scale – Wenger counted six one-on-ones missed. Nicklas Pinkboots was guilty of two of those on a night he will want to file away discreetly. Other notable chances fell to – and were missed by – Mark Randall and Carlos Vela.
Burnley’s man mountain of a Danish goalkeeper deserves praise too. He managed to throw his 400-stone frame in front of anything and everything. It was an excellent team performance from the men in claret; despite Arsenal’s missed chances the best team won on the night.
Wenger mixed praise with criticism afterwards.
“We had six one-on-ones with the keeper and we didn’t score… We were a bit fragile at the back as well, but overall we had plenty of chances. When you do that against teams in the quarter-final of the cup, if you have six one-on-ones with the keeper and do not score, you have to question the qualification and that is what happened tonight.
You praise the goalkeeper and question the strikers.We had the potential to go through and we lost tonight against the least difficult team of the three we played. That is what young players learn. In football it is efficiency and focus from the first minute on and when you don’t have the right focus you pay for it. They have a lot to learn many of them. The potential is there, and even tonight away from home they didn’t hide, they tried to play and we had plenty of chances.”
I think most of them acquitted themselves well, but it’s clear that some of them are some distance from making Arsenal’s first team. And of course, some won’t make it at all.
But that’s what this competition is all about for us: giving experience to our younger players that they would otherwise not get. And it works too – a lot of players have made it through (Fabregas, Denilson etc) and some of last night’s young team are already first team squad members (Wilshere, Ramsey, Bendtner, Fabianski, Hoyte).
Hard to argue with the benefits of Wenger’s policy, isn’t it?