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Tottenham Vs. Arsenal – Time for Wenger To Play A Full Strength Side?


The League Cup is now entering the stage of when the remaining big boys who are flying the flag in Europe enter the fray, and without question the tie of the round is Tottenham vs. Arsenal.  Three seasons ago The Gunners visited White Hart Lane and were left humiliated, as they missed out yet again on a cup final appearance by a 5-1 battering.  Wenger was publicly slated by the media and fans, including myself, having received more stick from friends and work colleagues than a dog in the park. The big question remains: will he have learned his lesson and play a stronger side? Or persist with the kids?

This is a competition that Arsenal desperately needs to win – a quality team that are without a trophy for 5 years.  Of course there are bigger fish to fry in the Premier League and Champions League but as yet Arsenal haven’t found a big enough net to make the catch! Since that semi-final night in 2008, Spurs have become a vastly improved team who now play Champions League football – it’s easy to see that they are better now than then. Tuesday night will be a huge test for Arsenal, in a game they need to win.

Playing down the importance of competitions such as the Carling Cup and FA Cup has proven highly expensive in recent years and has subsequently added unnecessary pressure in the League and Europe.  They have lacked a grit, toughness and backbone in the past to win the more illustrious trophies.  Wenger must see this competition as an excellent opportunity to win silverware, previously it may have been considered a good move to ‘blood’ youth, but not any more, these are times where results and silverware count for a club of Arsenal’s magnitude. They have been handed a tough draw but maybe this is the best way for Wenger to swallow his pride and play a stronger team with a core of his best 11. The talking has to stop; this trophy DOES mean something to the fans, and its worth remembering bragging rights are at stake too.

Here is a list of the other ties in the League Cup this week, including five all Premier League ties and a tricky away fixture for holders’ Manchester United at Glanford Park against Scunthorpe United.

Brentford v Everton
Portsmouth v Leicester City
Stoke City v Fulham
Chelsea v Newcastle United
Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers
Millwall v Ipswich Town
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Notts County
Burnley v Bolton Wanderers
Birmingham City v MK Dons
Liverpool v Northampton Town
Scunthorpe United v Manchester United
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City
Sunderland v West Ham United
Peterborough United v Swansea City
Wigan Athletic v Preston North End

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  1. cheese

    September 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    This is not a competition that Arsenal are desperate to win.

    Arsenal are desperate to win the league. Period.

  2. Burnsey

    September 21, 2010 at 9:22 am

    I see this match is on FS+ but it does not show as scheduled on the FS+HD channel on DirecTV. Does this mean the game will not be shown in HD?

    • mike

      November 18, 2010 at 11:38 pm

      It’s on ESPN2 in HD. It’s not obvious from the DirecTV guide, but I found it on DirecTV channel 209.1

  3. stephen

    September 21, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Pretty hard to play a ‘full strength’ side when 6 out of 11 starters are injured (Fabregas, Diaby, Vermalen, Van Persie, Walcott, Bendtner)

  4. Ringo

    September 21, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Spurs will be playing their kids so this is an instance where Wenger would be perfectly justified. This isn’t the semifinal and its the least-prestigious competition they’re in.

    Unfortunately for Wenger, I think Spurs actually have the upper hand these days with depth.

  5. Goal Addict

    September 21, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Wenger should stick with the young gunners. This is the best way to give them experience they need. Besides Tottenham will field a weaker side because, they are in the champions league now they will probably rest a lot of their top players. The Carling Cup isn’t a big tournament, I doubt that winning the Carling Cup will satisfy the Arsenal fans although, it would be nice to win. Man Utd and Chelsea both will play reserve teams in the competition I guarantee it.

  6. Gareth van der King

    September 21, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Fn Funny,
    this whole play the kids, bollox.
    Who are the kids?
    The majority of the so called kids are equal to reserves. Many of them have to play the odd game here and there, so why do es everyone still give it The Kids, cobblers.
    Oh I wonder if Arry’s gonna play the kids tonight?
    Bale, Gio, Sandro, Naughton? 21 and under.
    I say go on Arry play the kids!

  7. Dave

    September 21, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Um, like who is left to play? This article makes no sense. Fabegas just got ruled out 4-6 weeks, Van Persie, Walcott, Ramsey, Bendtner and Diaby are all out as well?

    So like if Vela, Wilshere, Dennilson and a few other young player play is is really Wenger not taking it seriously? Or him just using his brain?

    AFC has West Brom, CL opponent Partizan (who are not push overs) then a HUGE game with Chelsea all within 7 days from Saturday. Why pray tell would Wenger put forth a stronger side with those games coming up given that many players will be out for those games???

  8. Eric

    September 21, 2010 at 2:06 am

    Definitely not! I love that Wenger gives the younger players a chance to play, it makes our team better for the long-term. Besides, didn’t you see how we played against Sunderland after Wenger played his full-strength side against Braga? They looked tired. Rest them tomorrow. Destroy WBA on Saturday, and get ready for the real test on Oct 2nd. Who cares about the Carling Cup.

  9. Martin

    September 21, 2010 at 12:10 am

    I say let the kids play. With the Arsenal injuries piling up, one or two of them will eventually get called up. Give them some playing time on a bigger stage than the Reserves.

  10. Efrain

    September 20, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Who cares about the Carling cup?! I know I dont. I was not stressed last season when they didnt win it. I was stressed over the beating they took in the CL, I was stressed over them not winning the Premier League. They have too many injuries already. Why risk even more for something that no one except the author (no offense Marshall) seem to care about. Give our boys some rest!

  11. jason

    September 20, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Despite what people think look at the recent history of the competition. A big name team has won it in the past several seasons in fact. Not even a mid table EPL team has won it recently. So why is that the case? With that said I pick Manchester City to win. They have the depth to put out strong squads for every competition.

    • Kevin

      September 20, 2010 at 10:31 pm

      I think Portsmouth count as a mid-table Premier League side.

  12. dlink09

    September 20, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    nobody gives a crap about carling cup.. i say play reserve team Arsene..

  13. RVPFan

    September 20, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Hello Marshall, although I think you are correct to say that this trophy matters to fans, but let’s be brutally honest here, shall we? Is League Cup really the trophy that will satisfy Arsenal supporters? I don’t think so. Unless Arsenal win the Champions League or Premier League, Carling Cup or the FA Cup will NOT jive with passionate Arsenal fans.

    Wenger will be slated with or without the Carling Cup or the FA Cup, unless he can conquer Europe or Premier League. That’s it.

  14. Ryne

    September 20, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    It was pretty interesting to read the forums today for Spurs and Gunners. Most the fans really want an all-out battle with the first squads playing, but understand that both managers aren’t willing to lay it all on the line. I kind of get it, but with a NLD like this, I can’t believe they don’t take more seriously.

    Also, being rather new to the football scene, how does turning in your lineup in relation to the other team work? For example, would Arsenal be able to change theirs should they want to (not that they will) if Spurs were to go with their starters or is it a set-in-stone deal without knowing what the opposition is putting out?

  15. dlink09

    September 20, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    another day another dig at arsenal. don’t you lot get tired of this shit

  16. Kevin McCauley

    September 20, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Spurs are going to play at least 6 or 7 kids/reserves, so I say no.

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