A lot has been said of how Arsenal is recognising this cup as their best chance of silverware. That isn't a slur because it's every EPL team's best chance of silverware. But at the same time, the team that played Tottenham wasn't a sign of changing policy on Wenger's part. Far from it.
It was the first match and away to Spurs.
Name one Arsenal fan who would like to see Arsenal lose to Spurs. Name another who would be able to live with Arsenal going out on the first Carling Cup match, to Spurs. Although they are forever our inferiors, this was a game to win. You can't argue with it. If it was Birmingham, Aston Villa, Everton or Liverpool, you'd probably see all our youngsters.
It was better for our youngsters in the long run.
By playing a slightly stronger side it meant that the Arsenal youth will be able to play more games overall. Sure they probably would have beaten the Spuds, but, by ensuring Arsenal's progress, Wenger has given the youth a nice run of games to play.
We didn't out that strong a side.
Eboue, Koscielny, Djourou, Gibbs
Rosicky, Nasri, Wilshere, Denilson, Lansbury
I've counted two automatic starters for Arsenal there in Nasri and Koscielny. It is definitely testament to our Arsenal side that this could be considered one of our stronger sides. We also played: Gibbs, Wilshere, Lansbury and Vela. All youngsters. Also, Nasri was coming back from injury.
What this actually means.
Yes Arsene played, what can be considered to be, a strong side. But it was only to give the youth a head start. In the next Carling Cup I expect to see Szczesny/Manonne, JET, Nordveit, Eastmond and co on top of the youth starting the last game.
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