Wenger proud after Arsenal youngsters cope with penalty pressure

Arsene Wenger has praised the maturity of his young Arsenal team after an inexperienced Gunners side beat West Brom on penalties in the Capital One Cup, Yahoo Sports has reported.

Wenger made nine changes from the starting XI that beat Stoke on Sunday, plumping for a group largely lacking in top flight experience. But the starlets took the lead through Thomas Eisfeld, making his first start for the club, just after the hour mark. West Brom levelled through a youngster of their own, Saido Berahino, and the hosts had the visitors on the rack in extra-time as Morgan Amalfitano struck the crossbar.

Arsenal held on to the draw, however, and despite Serge Gnabry missing from 12 yards, progressed to a date with Chelsea in the next round after Kris Olsson and Chuba Akpom netted their efforts. Nacho Monreal clinched the win following Craig Dawson and Amalfitano’s errant attempts.

Wenger said after the match: “I am proud. We played with many young players and they showed they are not only good footballers but that they can fight as well. I decided to go for young players with the penalties and they coped well with the pressure.

Of course, penalties are a bit of a lottery, but overall I think the most important thing is that we played well in the game and that the young players came out and showed that they can play the way we want to.

Wenger added that his young players will have learned a lot from the match at the Hawthorns, particularly the importance of digging deep even when you are fatigued. “It is always good to know that you can win even when you thought you were dead and tired,” the managed said. “If you dig deep and in the end you are rewarded, that is a very important lesson for a young player. We kept going forward and trying to win the game until the end and that is very positive.

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