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Page last updated at 21:28 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 22:28 UK

Arsenal 6-0 Sheff Utd

Carlos Vela
Mexican teenager Vela was in sparkling form as Arsenal ran riot

Arsenal's youngsters handed Sheffield United a football lesson as they raced into the Carling Cup fourth round.

Nicklas Bendtner started the rout on the half-hour with a shot from 20 yards and soon struck again from close range.

Carlos Vela curled in a superb third before half-time and the 19-year-old striker made it 4-0 five minutes after the break with a sublime dinked effort.

Jack Wilshere, 16, drilled in a fifth goal for Arsenal before Vela completed his hat-trick with another fine finish.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger picked a starting line-up with an average age of only 19 and then was able to sit back and watch them tear apart their Championship opponents.

The young Gunners began brightly but Johan Djourou and Wilshere missed early chances and it took the relatively senior and experienced Bendtner, despite being only 20 himself, to make the breakthrough..

The Dane took aim from just outside the box and his low shot found the bottom right corner of the goal.

And after 42 minutes Aaron Ramsey, 17, weaved his way into the penalty area before turning and playing a superb back heel to Bendtner, who got his second with a six-yard finish.

Before half-time Bendtner turned provider as he chipped a pass through for Vela, who sprinted into the area before bending a delightful effort into the far corner.

In the second half Arsenal continued where they had left off as Kieran Gibbs stung Paddy Kenny's hands with a fierce angled drive.


Full-back Gibbs then sent a long pass towards Vela who took the ball on his chest, darted into the box to finish with an audacious chip over the stranded keeper.

It got worse for the battered Blades when Wilshere drilled in a fifth from outside the box after being picked out by Fran Merida's right-wing corner.

It was the first goal for the 16-year-old Wilshere, who is the youngest player to appear for Arsenal in the Premier League.

With the Gunners rampant, more goals looked inevitable but Djourou headed over at the back post and Bendtner missed out on his hat-trick when his close-range shot trickled wide.

It was left to the outstanding Vela to compete the scoring, and his treble, with another well-taken effort after running onto Ramsey's pass.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
"The team showed a good mixture of talent.

"They also showed a mature collective spirit to play the way we want to play. They remained focused and they looked a complete team.

"I am very proud of that. We looked strong in every individual position and that takes a lot of hard work."

Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell:

"We knew they were a good set of lads at Arsenal, but nobody knew how good they were.

"They were awesome at times and would have beaten most teams. A lot of people would like to know how Arsene Wenger can do it.

"He has gone around the world to pick out the best - but there are also four or five top-class English kids in there so that can only bode well for the future of the national team."

Arsenal: Fabianski, Hoyte, Djourou, Song Billong (Lansbury 70), Gibbs, Randall, Ramsey, Merida (Coquelin 71), Wilshere, Bendtner (Simpson 71), Vela.
Subs Not Used: Mannone, Emmanuel-Thomas, Ogogo, Frimpong.

Goals: Bendtner 31, 42, Vela 44, 50, Wilshere 57, Vela 87.

Sheff Utd: Kenny, Halford, Morgan, Kilgallon, Naysmith, Cotterill (Naughton 46), Speed (Hendrie 73), Quinn, Montgomery, Beattie (Robertson 76), Webber.
Subs Not Used: Bennett, Sharp, Geary, Ehiogu.

Booked: Halford.

Att: 56,632

Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

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see also
Carling Cup as it happened
23 Sep 08 |  League Cup
Tuesday's football photos
23 Sep 08 |  Football

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