Norwich City’s spirited youngsters were outclassed by Arsenal’s stars in last night’s 5-0 Premier Reserve League defeat at Carrow Road.

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High profile internationals Andrey Arshavin, Yossi Benayoun and Marouane Chamakh were all included in a strong Gunners’ line-up as they looked to press their claims for involvement in this weekend’s Premier League derby against Tottenham.

Arshavin scored in each half and was also brought down by Norwich keeper David Wooton for a penalty the City stopper brilliantly saved from Benik Afobe. The England youth international did notch in the second period and Benayoun slotted a late fifth to complete the rout after South Korea’s World Cup skipper Ju Young Park had opened the scoring.

The Canaries fielded a side packed with academy products and young senior professionals under the guidance of Football Operations Director Gary Karsa and goalkeeping coach Jeff Wood. Josh Dawkin was the pick for the hosts with some penetrative bursts against visitors who also included the likes of talented full-back Carl Jenkinson. The ex-Charlton defender played 45 minutes on his first outing since a back injury halted his first team progress at the Emirates earlier this season.

Park rifled Arsenal in front within six minutes after Chelsea loanee Benayoun had checked inside Theo Jones to strike against the base of a post. Arshavin dragged a left footer wide from the edge of the area before Jones reacted sharply to bail out Harry Barker when Chamakh sensed an opportunity to threaten.

Matt Ball’s ambitious lob drifted well over James Shea’s goal in Norwich’s first real sighter. The City midfielder was only denied by the quick-thinking of Gunners’ skipper Ignasi Miquel’s shortly after when Shea miscued his clearance.

Chamakh made an early injury exit when he went down clutching the back of his right leg following a challenge from Michael Clunan that earned the west Norfolk youngster a booking. The Moroccan hitman was treated on the pitch, but walked unaided to the touchline.

Wooton grasped Arshavin’s first time clip and then parried Oguzhan Ozyakup’s stinging drive before Park’s follow up deflected behind off Barker. Wooton atoned for bringing down Arshavin on 41 minutes when he sprang to his left to parry Afobe’s penalty up and over his crossbar – the keeper having been adjudged to have upended the Russian following another slick Arsenal counter.

The ex-Zenit playmaker exacted a measure of revenge when his attempted angled cross looped over Wooton and clipped the inside of his far post two minutes later. Park was then inches from his second on the restart when Arshavin and Afobe combined down the right.

Benayoun drilled at Wooton on 55 minutes as Arsenal continued to press high up the pitch. Jamar Loza’s cute drag back bamboozled Martin Angha, but his finish failed to match the initial trick.

Jones chested Benayoun’s right-footer to safety following Arshavin’s sublime back-heel to initially free Ozyakup. Reece Hall-Johnson kicked at fresh air 10 yards out after Dawkin had demonstrated City’s young charges possessed a party piece or two with a step over to evade Nico Yennaries.

Afobe increased Arsenal’s lead just before the hour when he exchanged passes with Park to round Wooton and slot from a tight angle.

Arshavin coolly rolled home a fourth after Benayoun swerved past Jones to test Wooton from close range. Dawkin glided around two Arsenal defenders but slammed an angled strike a yard wide of Shea’s far post in a rare home foray into the Gunners’ penalty area. Arshavin’s flick brushed the side netting late on with the Russian searching for his hat-trick, but it was left to another of his illustrious colleagues, Benayoun, to burst through on 87 minutes and calmly lift over Wooton.

• Norwich City Reserves: Wooton, Jones (Norman 70), Toffolo, Clunan, Barker, McKenzie, Hall-Johnson, Brindley (McGeehan 81), Loza, Ball (Josh Murphy 81), Dawkin. Subs: Jacob Murphy, Dobbs.

• Bookings: Clunan, Wooton

• Arsenal Reserves: Shea, Jenkinson (Ebecillio 45), Meade, Yennaris, Angha, Miquel, Benayoun, Ozyakup, Chamakh (Afobe 29 (Ansah 74)), Park, Arshavin. Subs: McDermott, Monteiro.

• Goals: Park (6), Arshavin (43, 65), Afobe (59), Benayoun (88)

• Referee: M Buonassisi

• Attendance: 2,808

8 comments

  • That`s what I thought, cutty. The "fringe" first team players have no opportunity to stay sharp by playing in a competitive match now and then. It seems, too, the youngsters are being thrown to the lions without a few wise old heads on the pitch to guide them along. What must it do to their confidence to be overrun by the likes of Arshavin, Benayoun, Chamakh and Park? They`d all get in our first team. Isn`t Ricky Martin in charge of the youngsters? What is occurring here? Are we running two separate Clubs?

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

  • I don`t see maybe sums it up.

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

  • I am in awe, Swiss. Truly.

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

  • I don't see that it is a bad thing for the youngsters to lose 5-0 to a team of internationals. It seems like a great learning experience for them, if anyone is complaining it ought to be the Gooners. Are they really going to be emotionally damaged by losing 5-0 if so where is that hungry, never-say-die spirit that we keep hearing about?

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    Swiss Canary

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

  • Quite agree, Brew. Unless all our '2nd stringers' are out on loan, this seems a pointless exercise for all concerned.

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    Soglio Star

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

  • I seemed to have missed a change in terminology. At one time the 'youngsters' used to be the 'A' team and the Res were part of the main squad.

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    cutty

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

  • Mix and mismatch. What is the objective?

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

  • No, I don't see a problem in playing against demanding opposition. I remember playing for a school team that specialized in coming second to our bigger rivals. It was just a surprise when I started playing for other teams that actually won more than they lost.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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