Arsenal Can Win Carling Cup with Right Mix of Youth and Experience

Victor ImoukhuedeContributor IIOctober 27, 2010

Alex Song Scores Against Manchester City
Alex Song Scores Against Manchester CityRichard Heathcote/Getty Images

The win against Manchester City was brilliant.

They were down to 10 men after four minutes and after we scored the first goal, you sensed that we were on the verge of something big. We didn’t stop pushing; our resolve paid off with the second after a mistake from Wayne Bridge. Nicklas Bendtner came off the bench to add the icing on the cake with a brilliantly taken third after good work from Samir Nasri.

What more can I say? Need I mention the fact that Lukasz Fabianski was simply brilliant, and his two good saves from David Silva—first class player that he is—kept us in the game when it was 0-0 and 1-0.

Samir Nasri is proving to be almost as vital as Cesc Fabregas in the squad,and he seems to be close to rediscovering his best form. Clearly he’s playing the best football he has played since he joined the club. This obviously has not gone unnoticed by the manager, Arsene Wenger.

Wenger said, “When you analyse Samir Nasri he has all the qualities and he now adds efficiency to his game and that makes him a great player. He scores goals, he gives assists, he can go one against one, he can pass, and he is all that you dream to have as a football player. I am convinced [he is a better player than when he came here] because he is more efficient in creating chances, in the final balls, his vision has improved and he is quicker playing forward.”

All in all I can say that the Arsenal team is ascending.  To win our first in 10 games over the “big teams” is another stamp on our credentials for success this season. Whether we can go the full distance is yet to be seen but we must cross these hurdles one by one as they come.

Tonight there is the small matter of the Carling Cup tie against Newcastle at St. James Park.

In previous seasons, the competition has been used as an avenue to blood young talent at the club and provide them with a springboard for breaking into the first team.

This season, however, the emphasis seems to have changed as was seen in the last round against Tottenham where we fielded the strongest team I’ve seen us field in a couple of years.

I believe that the phase of using the cup to provide first team experience to the younger members of the squad has gradually come to an end, and although the team sent out might be younger that we would see in the Premier League, most of them already have vital experience needed at this level either in the Carling Cup or on loan spells over the last few years.

Wenger, while speaking at the 2010 AGM, pledged that the team will go for every competition this season and promised a strong team against Newcastle. Speaking exclusively to ArsenalTV Online, he had this to say;

“It will be similar to Spurs. We have players coming back like Walcott, Bendtner and Vela. Koscielny is fit to start, they will play. In the squad, we will have Eastmond, Lansbury and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. Wojciech will be in goal.”

I must admit that it is a young, yet experienced team. Of the last four, only Eastmond wasn’t out on loan last season as he was involved with the first team. At the moment, our goalkeepers can’t seem to do anything wrong, and tonight, most of the rest of the footballing world will get  another chance to see the player Wojciech Szczesny in action. The manager was keen not to over hype the young player.

He said, “He can show he is a good keeper and I believe he is one but there again let’s not make stars before they have proven they are. He has the talent; he has a good attitude and let’s see his performance in the games. You want of course a good performance but let’s not put him under too much pressure. Let’s let him enjoy the game and not speak about contracts. He’s a goalkeeper we rate, he knows he has been educated here, we want him to stay here and the only way I can show him that is by giving him a chance when it is possible. Tomorrow he gets that chance.”

Enough said on that, he simply needs to keep doing what he’s been doing in training and everything else will come naturally.

Lest I forget,  Havard Nordtveit is also in the squad, and I’m interested to see how he figures in the team selection. I have to say that he is one player that seems to have slipped under the radar, playing on loan in Germany where he featured in 23 games in the Bundasliga. That’s a lot of experience for a 20-year-old and I hope he justifies the manager’s faith with a brilliant performance tonight.

I’ll stick my neck out for a 2-0 win for Arsenal. I admit I haven’t spoken much about the Newcastle side we will face tonight, but although they have the basic ingredients for a good challenge this season, they have proved inconsistent at times and this could cost them in the big games. The fact that they also plan to rest players for this game might work against them as Arsenal is expected to name a near full strength squad for the game.

Enjoy the game and save some strength for West Ham at the weekend.

Till next time…Victoria Concordia Crescit!