Four players – Glen Kamara, Alex Iwobi, Ismael Bennacer and Krystian Bielik – made their senior Arsenal debuts in Tuesday’s night’s 3-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup.
The Gunners also fielded several experienced players at Hillsborough, such as Petr Cech, Matthieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker, Matthieu Flamini and Olivier Giroud.
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After the match, while Arsene Wenger admitted his youngsters are not yet good enough to compete with the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, he refuted suggestions he should have selected a stronger XI.
In fact, the Arsenal manager said, in hindsight, he should have picked fewer senior players.
“They are not ready to play at this level,” Wenger is quoted as saying by BBC Sport.
“We lost two players and after that I had Gabriel and Nacho Monreal on the bench but I couldn’t bring them on because I couldn’t afford to lose any more players.”
Wenger had earlier watched on in horror as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and then Theo Walcott – the man who replaced the Ox as a substitute – both limped off injured inside the opening 25 minutes of the game.