The kids are alright…

The kids are alright...

Defeat in Greece wasn’t too disappointing given the youthful side we put out and today’s papers reflect that in their coverage of the 1-0 reverse against Olympiakos in the Champions League last night.

The Sun reports that the Gunners became the youngest side to start a Champions League game and boss Wenger said: “I’m proud of their attitude. They coped well mentally. I am disappointed we lost but overall we played well. “We were positive. We looked like a team which plays every week in this competition.”

Despite their young age boss Wenger’s boys dominated possession but wasted countless chances. Leonardo struck the winner just after the restart but the Greek champs rode their luck.

With five teenagers in the line-up Arsenal had an average age of just 21 years and 215 days beating the record set by Ajax six years ago against Club Brugges by 140 days.

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The paper says Ramsey, 18, Jack Wilshere, 17, Kyle Bartley, 18, Tom Cruise, 18 and Fran Merida, 19, all rose to the challenge.

Wenger added: “Aaron Ramsey had a good presence, gave good balls and had a good workrate. For some players from Barnet – where they play for the second team – to face Olympiakos was a big jump but they did very well. Unfortunately we lacked a bit of composure in the final third. These young players play exactly like the first team. They represented the club very well.”

Arsenal still go to the knockout draw in Switzerland tomorrow week as group winners and will have a home return leg.
The Mirror reports that Wales international Aaron Ramsey impressed in the role of midfield playmaker filled so well by rested captain Cesc Fabregas. And it adds that Indeed with better finishing from England forward Theo Walcott – fit again following a hamstring problem – and the wasteful Mexican Carlos Vela, Arsenal’s youngsters would have taken a deserved result from the game.

said the Arsenal manager, who will now recall his rested first-team regulars for Sunday’s crucial Barclays Premier League trip to Liverpool.
‘Nobody was disappointing, and it is difficult to single out individual performances – although Ramsey had a good presence, gave good balls and produced a good work rate. They all looked like they played every week in this competition. I had the performance I expected, but not the result we could have got.
‘These youngsters play exactly like the first team, and they represented Arsenal well, despite the fact that they are the youngest team to have played in the Champions League.’
‘I expected to suffer more than we did tonight. We got caught on the counter-attack when we came out of the dressing room, but after had at least two clear chances to come back. Then it became more difficult, as Olympiakos played a safe game and we lacked composure in the final third.’
The paper adds that we will be seeded in the draw for the knockout stages later this month, which could yet see them face off against the likes of Inter Milan, Lyon, Stuttgart, Bayern Munich or CSKA Moscow.

Wenger said: ‘I cannot influence the draw. There are still some teams I would prefer to others, of course – but if you ask me which teams, I will not answer.’

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