By 1970's Gooner
It will be carling Cup team that Wenger will put out in the sense that it will consist mostly of fringe players whose chances of getting a game in the first team are for the moment limited.
But so bold has Wenger’s selection and loan policy been in the past that a lot of these players have had considerable exposure and games.
Look at the squad announced which includes experienced “old hands” such as Senderos, Denilson, Song, who had an excellent loan season with Charlton in the Premier League last season, Bendtner who likewise was with Birmingham, Theo Walcott and Justin Hoyte who has played 49 games for Arsenal already.
The full squad is as follows:
Phillipe Senderos , Lassana Diarra, Eduardo, Denilson, Alexandre Song, Lukasz Fabianski (GK), Nicklas Bendtner, Emmanuel Eboue , Armand Traore, Justin Hoyte, Theo Walcott, Henri Lansbury , Vito Mannone(GK) , Gavin Hoyte, Fran Merida
Newcastle themselves are likely to field first team squad players mainly due to injury rather than out of choice.
These players however are seasoned professionals such as ex Arsenal target Martins, the excellent keeper Given who has been linked to Arsenal before, Faye and the Turk Emre Belozoglu. Viduka has shaken of a foot injury and will start.
So it will indeed be an interesting game between two teams not lacking in experience but one very young and the other much older.
The Arsenal line up could be as follows:
Hoyte Senderos Song Traore
Walcott Diaby Diarra Denilson
Now this is a very strong line up with the exception of Song playing in defence if indeed he starts there. I do not see how Wenger could otherwise fill in that spot from the squad announced unless he pits Diarra there.
He has tried Song in that position in some of the preseason friendlies, at Barnet and at Salzburg and I must say the youngster was rather lackadaisical in his approach.
He is obviously suited to playing in midfield and I rather rate him in that position having watched him put in a very sterling performance for Charlton away at Man Utd last season.
Wenger could be bold and field exciting youngsters Lansbury and Merida from the start which would make the tie more interesting from that point of view. And I hope he does so as it is only in this way that these players could get the experience they need. Fabregas started this way.
I think the game will be decided on how much the center of Arsenal’s defence, manage to perform against Viduka and the quick Martins. It looks a pretty tough task to me.
Prediction: Our attack manages to score more goals than our defence let in. 3-2