Football

Wenger hails young Gunners

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Arsene Wenger hailed the technical quality of his Arsenal youngsters as they swept aside Portsmouth 3-0 at Fratton Park to secure their place in the top four of the Barclays Premier League.

The Gunners boss made eight changes from the starting XI from last week's Champions League semi-final first leg at Old Trafford, with the likes of captain Cesc Fabregas, Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor and regular goalkeeper Manuel Almunia all rested.

Wenger said: "I have no doubts about the younger players because I see them every day and what we work on, you could see that on the pitch here."

Arsenal, skippered by Andrey Arshavin who cannot play in Tuesday night's European tie, again showed their potential as a brace from Nicklas Bendtner - his first after a blunder from England keeper David James - and a clinical second-half strike by Mexican Carlos Vela sealed a comfortable 3-0 victory.

Wenger confirmed his team selection was nothing to do with any fresh injuries.

"I wanted to give a breather to some of the players," he said. "We dominated the first half and created plenty of chances through our movement and technical quality.

"We were sharp, composed and mobile with a great attitude.

"They changed their game plan at the start of the second half and we struggled a bit. They had the turning point with a potential 2-1, but after we scored the third goal, the game was over."

Bendtner did his chances no harm at all with a strong performance, capped by a double strike, the second from the penalty spot on 41 minutes.

"If I have one merit, I always believed in Bendtner," said Wenger. "He is developing very well and showed that again here."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Portsmouth
Emmanuel Adebayor
Andrey Arshavin
European News
David James
Football
Premier League
Manuel Almunia
UEFA Champions League
Nicklas Bendtner

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