Arsenal progressed to the round of 16 of the Capital One Cup with a hard fought victory in the penalty shoot out, away at West Bromwich Albion last night.
The Gunners held their nerves to win the shoot out with more than one 'young gun' distinguishing himself by converting his penalty kick while the seniors had fluffed their lines in the last season's penalty shootout at Bradford which led to the Gunners ignominious exit in the quarter-final stage.
What stood out in the starting line up was the presence of as many as eight players who could not be considered as first team players, including Lukasz Fabianski in goal.
What was also noteworthy was the choice of the three first team players who started - Mikel Arteta and Thomas Vermalean who were coming back from injury, and Per Mertesacker the player who was captaining the side in their absence.
The presence of these three players in the starting line up showed a lack of available options in defence, and also Arsene Wenger's astuteness in easing Arteta into the side, and in keeping all options open for a much awaited trophy this season.
While Arteta limping off with cramps in extra time Wenger will be concerned having already called him the technical leader of the squad but not overtly worried as the team seems to have done just fine without him in the first month of the new season.
Arteta's absence has seen Aaron Ramsey step up with crucial goals and enterprising performances and Mathieu Flamini slot into the first team as if he had never been away. In spite of these good performances Arteta will be hoping to make the starting line up for the first time in the Premier league this season in the weekend game away at Swansea.
What would have gladdened Wenger's and indeed all Arsenal fans' hearts was the fortitude and ability exhibited by the youngsters - Eisfeld scored the opening goal of the match with a composed finish that would have made Ramsey proud even in his current form, Gnabry's overall performance even if he missed a penalty and a couple of youngsters, Olsson and Akpom coolly slotting in their respective penalties under pressure.
Overall the squad maybe thin but the young Guns have shown, if needed they can indeed step up and be counted.
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