Nov 112008

I love the Carling Cup. A competition that was dying a painful death a few years ago has been revitalised for Arsenal fans by allowing us to see the wonderful talent waiting in the wings. Many a player has first impressed there, and with Vela, Ramsey and Djourou probably the closest to the first team, it is again a chance to stake a claim.

And the pressure is always off. It must be truly horrible to be Wigan today, as you’re up against it in every way. Win, and you’ve only beaten a bunch of kids, but if you lose, you get to see just how far your squad is from the club that just knocked you out.

Tonight’s team will be largely the same as demolished Sheff Utd 6-0 in the last round, but is weakened slightly by the absence of Bendtner, who is being saved for first team action due to Adebayor’s injury and Van Persie’s suspension. In his place we may see Amaury Bischoff appear for the first time since his summer move. Where he would play will be interesting – another who is labelled as ‘versatile’, he has been playing the Bergkamp role for the reserves and may do so again. Whether Vela is the right type of striker to play ahead of that is another matter.

But either way, tonight should be fun. The players have a rare chance to play in front of a full Emirates, and really showcase their ability.

Bet of the day

(Current balance: £-1)

Our Carling Cup teams are always attack minded, but being so young can often be vulnerable at the back, so this week I’m going for there to be at least four goals, which I’ve got at 9/5. You can get those odds pretty much anywhere.

Enjoy the game!

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