All you need to know about Arsenal youngsters Ignasi Miquel and Conor Henderson who starred in FA Cup win


    By Oliver Yew at the Emirates Stadium

    Arsenal put the disappointment of their League Cup final defeat well and truly behind them after brushing aside Leyton Orient with a comprehensive 5-0 win in the FA Cup.

    A hat-trick from Nicklas Bendtner and goals from Marouane Chamakh and Gael Clichy were enough to put the smile back on Arsene Wenger’s face and set-up a quarter-final clash with Manchester United.

    But it was not only the result which put the the Frenchman in a good mood.

    Debutant Conor Henderson and Spanish central defender Ignasi Miquel both put in promising performances for the north London club and it showed once again the talent Wenger has coming through the ranks at Arsenal.

    Both looked comfortable on the big stage and playing in front of a large crowd, and their displays were a testament to the work done at Arsenal’s academy. UK assesses how both players performed, what qualities they can bring to Arsenal and what Wenger makes of the players….

    Ignasi Miquel

    Age: 18
    First-team appearances (and goals):
    2 (0)
    Reserve-team appearances:
    24 (1)

    Where has he come from?

    The Catalan defender joined the Gunners as a scholar in the summer of 2008 and signed his professional forms  just over a year later.

    The Barcelona-born youngster is captain of the reserves and has featured heavily for Neil Banfeild’s side this season. He featured for the first-team in pre-season and played the FA Youth Cup.

    Miquel has represented Spain at youth level.

    How did he perform against Leyton Orient?

    The Spanish centre-half made his debut in the first tie against Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road just over a week ago and acquitted himself well, despite letting Jonathan Tehoue dance around him before the equaliser.

    But all memories of that were banished as Miquel showed great quality alongside Sebastien Squillaci in the heart of Arsenal’s defence.

    For a young foreign defender who has spent the last few years at Arsenal, you will not be surprised to hear Miquel is confident in possession. He is calm and can pick out a pass when under pressure.

    What was even more impressive about the 18-year-old was his ability to stand up to the physical League One side. The rookie defender competed well in the air against the experienced Scott McGleish and Alex Revell.

    His anticipation was also spot on as he had to be on guard early in the second half when Orient bombarded the box with crosses. Miquel was on hand to clear the danger on numerous occasions.

    A couple of times the youngster was caught napping and he played Orient’s strikers onside. Also, despite coping reasonably well, he needs to be physically stronger if he is to play in the Premier League.

    But the young Spaniard is not short on confidence either as in the final stages of the match he burst from defence with the ball at his feet and went on a run deep into the opposition half. In the end the move came to nothing but it showed everyone in the stadium last night what this young defender was all about.

    What did Arsene Wenger have to say about him?

    “He is not yet ready [for Premier League or Champions League] but he did enough to show that he will play in both competitions [in the future]. I feel that is the most important thing. He has some aspects of his game that he has to work on, [he needs to be] a bit more committed in the challenges, better in the air. But overall he has shown that he has the potential to play in there.” verdict: The Spanish youngster has all the attributes to be a top defender. While he has not been tested in the Premier League yet, his displays against Leyton Orient have proved to Wenger he can cope with English football.

    There are lots of things to work on for Miquel but he has huge potential and it looks like Wenger could have unearthed another gem of a player.

    Conor Henderson
    First-team appearances (and goals):
    1 (0)
    Reserve-team appearances:
    15 (1)

    Where did he come from?

    The 19-year-old joined the club at the same time as Miquel and is a regular in the reserve team.

    His involvement with the first team last night was slightly out of the blue but he did take part in the squad’s pre-season training camp in Austria last year.

    He has also been involved in the squads for Premier League fixtures against Wigan and Blackburn.

    While he was born in London, he has represented the Republic of Ireland at youth level.

    How did he perform against Leyton Orient?

    The debutant settled into the match well after a few early touches of the ball. He showed good control and technical ability – all trademarks typical of an Arsenal prospect.

    While Henderson did not light up the game he showed enough to confirm he has the talent to make the grade.

    He wasn’t afraid to run at the defence when given the chance, and he had the confidence to try some clever flicks in congested areas.

    At times the winger’s final ball into the box could have been better, but the promising aspect was he was getting into the positions in the first place.

    He showed he can produce good set-pieces after swinging in a real testing ball from the right-hand side with his left foot.

    It is hard to assess from one game but at times on Wednesday night Henderson’s final ball let him down. He was also guilty of trying to be a little too clever on occasion, but that is something he can develop with experience.

    What did Arsene Wenger have to say about him?

    “Overall he did well and showed that technically he is of the level we request here. He has a nice, smooth left foot and has a good physical build. I think he has done really well. He would have been involved a long time ago but he has been injured.” verdict: It is hard to get carried away by one performance as far bigger challenges lie ahead, but he did show great promise on his first-team debut. His manager is keeping a very close eye on him and do not be surprised if he is seen in the first-team squad more regularly. Certainly one to watch for the future.

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    All you need to know about Arsenal youngsters Ignasi Miquel and Conor Henderson who starred in FA Cup win