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Vela inspires late salvo to sink Baggies

<strong>ARSENAL (2) </strong>vs<strong> WEST BROM (0)</strong><br /><br />ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger hailed Carlos Vela after the Mexican starlet came off the bench to propel his youthful Carling Cup side into the fourth round.<br /><br />Forward Sanchez Watt&rsquo;s first senior goal put the Gunners ahead against 10-man West Brom, after some neat footwork and a smart shot from Vela.<br /><br />Pacy striker Vela doubled the lead, and booked Arsenal&rsquo;s place in the last 16, when he reacted first to a Mark Randall chip that hit the bar.<br /><br />&ldquo;When he came on straight away he made a difference because he is dangerous in his control and in his movement. His class gives you something special,&rdquo; <br />Wenger said of Vela. &ldquo;He can play wide left, wide right, he can play central, he gives you plenty of options.&rdquo;<br /><br />Wenger has long used the Carling Cup to blood his youngsters and continued that tradition last night, naming eight teenagers in his starting line-up. Defender Philippe Senderos, a comparative veteran at 24, made his first Arsenal start since May 2008, following a loan spell at ACMilan, and almost opened the scoring with a header that flew narrowly over.<br /><br />Watt then hit the post as the Jack Wilshere-inspired Gunners dominated, but they were given a scare when a West Brom corner caused havoc in the penalty area and Kerrea Gilbert had to hack off the line.<br /><br />The Championship leaders then suffered a major blow when former Arsenal attacker Jerome Thomas was sent off for slapping Wilshere shortly before half time.<br />The Baggies threatened straight after the break when midfielder Simon Cox found space in the six-yard box, only to head over.<br /><br />But an inspired Wenger substitution that saw Vela and Randall come on tipped the balance in Arsenal&rsquo;s favour, and Watt grabbed the opener in the 68th minute.<br /><br />The 18-year-old was the quickest to react when visiting goalkeeper Dean Kiely saved Vela&rsquo;s effort, after the Latin American had skilfully made space to shoot. And just seven minutes later Vela got his own reward, forcing the ball home after Randall&rsquo;s 20-yard shot came back off the underside of the bar.<br />