Arsenal's Carling Cup Kids Coming Back Out to Play against West Brom

Mary O'SheaSenior Writer ISeptember 21, 2009

The end of September sees the big guns from the Premier League enter the race for the Carling Cup.

For many of the bigger sides, it is an opportunity to give some of the younger and reserve players a run out in competitive games.

To many, Arsenal are the forerunners in giving youth its chance and this season will be no different.

Speaking after the victory over Wigan at the weekend, Arsene Wenger said his aim is to combine youth and experience.

This mixture is evident in the seven names that Wenger gave as definite starters: Phillipe Senderos, Mikael Silvestre, Kieran Gibbs, Wojciech Szczesny, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, and Sanchez Watt.

The defense are all but named with 19-year-old Polish keeper Szczesny between the posts.

The youngster had a terrible time with injury last season. 

In a freak accident, he managed to break both his wrists. On his return to training, he ended up with a broken big toe, ruling him out once again.

However, he has fully recovered and was involved in preseason training in Austria.

With injuries to Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski, Italian Vito Mannone has played the last two games for Arsenal. Despite keeping a clean sheet against Wigan, Mannone looks far from comfortable in goal and it seems Wenger is now willing to give the confident Pole his chance.

In front of him in central defence will be the experienced pair of Mikael Silvestre and Phillipe Senderos.

Senderos has got somewhat of a second chance at Arsenal as it seemed he was on his way out of the Emirates in the summer.

With a long-term knee injury ruling fellow Swiss Johann Djourou out for the season, the Carling Cup offers Senderos a chance to push his way back into Wenger's plans.

Arsenal are well covered at left back with both Kieran Gibbs and Armand Traore more than capable of taking over from Gael Clichy.

The manager has given the nod to the U21 English International, who impressed many last season and who is expected to put increasing pressure on Gael Clichy over the coming seasons for a starting spot.

With no mention of Bacary Sagna or Emmanuel Eboue in the provisional squad, it appears that the race for right back is between Gavin Hoyte and Craig Eastmond.

Eastmond featured in last season's double winning youth team, but it is expected that Gavin Hoyte will get the starting berth against West Brom.

The youngster played in Arsenal's Carling Cup run last season and made his Premier League debut in the 3-0 defeat away to Manchester City.

Midfield probably sees two of Arsenal's most exciting prospects in Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.

Already this season, Ramsey has been getting more game time in the Premier League and Champions League often coming on as a sub with 20 minutes to go.

Beside him in midfield will be Jack Wilshere who performed so well in the Emirates Cup.

Fran Merida is another young player who is causing a stir around North London having been labeled the next Cesc Fabregas.

Following a heart to heart with Wenger in the summer, Merida turned down the opportunity to move on loan to Spanish side Levante and will be expecting his chance to shine.

Others looking for their opportunity in midfield will be Mark Randall, Francois Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong, and Nacar Barazite.

Up front, Wenger has confirmed that Sanchez Watt will start the game.

He could be joined by any of Luke Freeman, Carlos Vela, Rhys Murphy, and Gilles Sunu. 

The return of Vela from injury will be welcomed by many who remember his chipped goals from last season's Carling Cup.

With Arsene Wenger favouring the 4-3-3 formation this season, Neil Banfield has the reserves playing the same system, so expect the same style from Arsenal tomorrow night.

Speaking to Wenger said: 

“You will see Wojciech Szczesny, Ramsey, Gibbs, Wilshere, and certainly Vela,” said Wenger. “Traore will play. 

“Some experienced players will guide the team like Senderos and Silvestre. But overall it will be a very, very young team as usual.”


Expected Starting XI:

Wojciech Szczesny

Philippe Senderos

Mikael Silvestre

Kieran Gibbs

Gavin Hoyte

Mark Randall

Aaron Ramsey

Jack Wilshere

Nacar Barazite

Fran Merida

Sanchez Watt


Provisional squad

Mannone, Gibbs, Senderos, Silvestre, Hoyte, Ramsey, Merida, Wilshere, Randall, Watt, Sunu, Szczesny, Bartley, Coquelin, Freeman, Frimpong, Murphy, Traore, Eastmond, Barazite, Vela.



There are 10 English players included in the Arsenal provisional squad. Seems there are some at Arsenal after all.


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