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Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Arsenal’s Josh Vickers says FA Youth Cup success would be a momentous achievement as they prepare to battle Chelsea for a place in the final.
The Gunners goalkeeper has been ever-present in the Under-18s’ run to the semi-finals, conceding just twice along the way to the first leg of their London derby at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, kick-off 7.05pm.
If Arsenal emerge triumphant from the semi-final – the second leg takes place at Emirates Stadium a week later – Vickers expects that to provide some unforgettable memories for himself and his team-mates.
“It will be massive,” declared the 18-year-old, who is a lifelong Arsenal fan. “It will be something that will stay on your personal record for life.
“If you look at the 2009 team that won the cup, they still talk about it, so it will stay with you for the rest of your career.
“This age group has had a big rivalry with Chelsea ever since we were in the Under-eights or Under-nines. A lot of their team have been there for a long time and so have a lot of ours.
“We’re really looking forward to it and I’m hoping there will be a big crowd for both games.”
Arsenal began their campaign with a 5-0 thumping of Torquay and were prolific again in the next round, where they won 6-1 at Peterborough, but then had to survive a far harder test against Charlton.
Two late goals eventually secured a 2-0 win for the Gunners and earned them a quarter-final tie with Everton at the Emirates, where they almost matched the first team’s cup result against the Toffees, winning 3-1.
And Vickers hopes that experience of playing at Arsenal’s home ground could prove decisive in their bid to reach the final, where Fulham await the winners.
“We will obviously go out to win in the first leg but if we do go behind or get a draw we know we’ve got the home support back at the Emirates,” he added.
“I think it’s an advantage that we’ve got the second leg at home. If we can keep ourselves in the game at Stamford Bridge, we’ll be confident of getting through.
“The youth teams have got a good record at the Emirates. You work to play in big stadiums like that so it will be a fantastic experience for us.”
Tickets for the second leg, on Thursday April 17, are priced at £4 (adults) and £2 (concessions) and are available from www.arsenal.com