Diaby, Denilson, Cesc, TW = simply sensational
It ended in cup-final defeat but what a fantastic joy it has been watching young Arsenal in the League Cup this season.
The four youngsters that started in midfield yesterday need to be remembered because they are here to stay: Diaby (20), Denilson (just turned 19), Fabregas (19), and Walcott (17). They were there at the thrilling White Hart Lane comeback and yesterday in the Millenium Stadium they ran the double champions Chelsea side ragged in the first half with their smooth passing and attacking interplay as awesomely patented by Arsene Wenger.
Watching Diaby is like watching the second-coming of Vieira- and for me the match slightly turned against Arsenal when he went off injured in the middle of the second-half; Denilson is a fearless midfield playmaker that you can bank your entire belongings is going to be a massive player; Cesc is a magnificent rhythm-setter who plays with the authority, control and determination of a future captain, while Walcott showed with his goal that he does indeed have the excellent talent and mindset for the big occassion.
To have just one of these young midfield talents coming through the Arsenal ranks would be great - so to have all four of them coming through and performing in the same midfield as they did yesterday was simply sensational to see.
These guys were fearless in possession and took the game to a Chelsea midfield that simply couldn't keep pace for the first hour of the match. Their passing and running angles were fantastic to watch and all Gunners had to be proud of what they were seeing them achieve against Chelsea's expensively assembled XI.
All Arsenal lacked was a cutting edge - which Chelsea had in the excellent Drogba - to their moves but this will definitely come with more experience (and with an Henry or van Persie on the pitch it could have come yesterday - that said Aliadiere and Baptista fully merited their place in the final given their decisive contributions on the way to Cardiff).
For me despite the natural disappointment of cup-final defeat the lasting feeling is the one I have had for the vast majority of this League Cup campaign - and that is ultimate pride in watching these young guns play together and impose their game to fantastic effect: six goals (plus a penalty-miss) at Anfield, the fighting comeback at White Hart Lane, and running circles round Chelsea's established superstars for long periods in a Cup-final.
It has been a scintilating glimpse to the future of what Arsenal can be about and my sense is that if the likes of Denilson, Diaby and Walcott can combine together and impose their game against the double champions after literally just a handful of first-class games behind them what are they capable of achieving after a few seasons together under their belt?
By training under the tutelage of the proven potential exploiter Wenger and with winners in the squad to direct them like Henry, Rosicky, Gilberto and Gallas they have every chance of combining together to reach a consistently supreme level. And if the future does bring this it will be this League Cup campaign where people will say that the exceptional promise of this new generation of Gunners was first in full evidence. Well done young guns- and keep it going.