AW wants fringe stars to shine

The Gunners boss admits he will have to make changes for the visit

of the Premier League leaders – with the likes of captain Robin van

Persie, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey all “in the red” in terms of

match fatigue. Wenger, though, feels on-loan Israeli Yossi

Benayoun, combative midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong, England under-21

starlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and South Korea captain Park

Ju-young – who were both on target in previous rounds – can all

rise to the occasion. “I believe that some players are on the

fringe of being really limited. I will rest some players, but I

still want to play a team that has a chance to win the game,”

Wenger told Arsenal Player. “Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Emmanuel

Frimpong will play, but I consider them to be first-team players.

“Park is adapting to the level he is facing here and he has another

opportunity against Manchester City tomorrow night to show that he

can do it. “Yossi has been absolutely fantastic, but we have so

much choice in midfield and we play with three strikers. The

chances for the midfielders are not so big and that is why he has

not played as much as he deserves.” Wenger added: “The attitude of

all the players that came in has been great, everybody helps focus

the team to win and he does that as well.” Oxlade-Chamberlain, a

£10million summer signing from Southampton, capped a sparkling

display against Shrewsbury in the third round with a goal, before

then also scoring on his Champions League debut against Olympiacos.

However, the powerful 18-year-old has only featured once since,

which was the last Carling Cup tie with Bolton on October 25.

Wenger, though, is happy enough with Oxlade-Chamberlain’s progress

to date. “Overall, Alex has the quality and I can only show that I

believe in that in buying him. Secondly in playing him – but also

by working with him on the training pitch,” said the Arsenal

manager. “Alex is developing very well. He is very positive and he

works very hard.” City, who remain five points clear at the top of

the table after Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool, will also make

wholesale changes. Striker Mario Balotelli and England midfielder

Gareth Barry are suspended, but both Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy,

who left Arsenal in the summer, could face their old club, along

with centre-back Kolo Toure. While Wenger accepts Blues boss

Roberto Mancini may have a depth of talent which to choose from,

there is no reason why Arsenal cannot get a result on Tuesday.

“What you call a second-string side for Man City still involves

some very good players,” said Wenger, whose jaded team were held to

a frustrating 1-1 draw at home by Fulham on Saturday. “If you look

at the team who played Wolves [in the last round] they still have

seven or eight players, who you don’t know if they are first or

second string. “The good news for us is that we expect to play

against a strong side and that we know we will only go through if

we produce a top-class performance. Let’s focus on that.” Wenger

added: “Every time Arsenal is involved it is our pride and ambition

to do well. “We want to win the match and get through. Therefore,

we will try to give absolutely everything. “It is important for the

whole club to show our strengths again.”