Wenger: Derby clash a good test

Wenger – who faces a possible touchline ban after being charged

with misconduct by the Football Association following his reaction

to Sunderland’s stoppage-time equaliser at the Stadium of Light on

Saturday – will rotate his team for the short trip across north

London to face Tottenham in the Carling Cup third round. With Spurs

also now competing in the Champions League, Harry Redknapp will

likewise utilise his entire squad in an aim to protect player

fitness. Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, Johan Djourou, Emmanuel

Eboue, Kieran Gibbs and Mexican striker Carlos Vela are all set to

feature having been unused substitutes at Sunderland, but the tie

will also be an opportunity for youngsters Jay Emmanuel-Thomas,

Benik Afobe, Chuks Aneke and Henri Lansbury. Wenger is expecting a

positive attitude from the players he throws into the thick of a

north London derby. “It has got something extra to it,” Wenger told

Arsenal TV Online. “It is good as well in that kind of environment

to see your players and to see how will you respond to that

challenge. “I want to win the competition highly, but before we

talk about winning the competition, let’s focus on tomorrow night

and continue our good run that we have had since the start of the

season.” Arsenal could have leapfrogged Chelsea, for 24 hours at

least, with victory at Sunderland. Wenger, though, will not dwell

on the issue. He said: “I believe that we could have stopped the

goal from being scored, that is for sure. That’s only down to us

and not to the referee. “There were more chances for us to win the

game than to draw the game and we want to keep that winning habit.”

Emmanuel-Thomas picked up some valuable first-team experience last

season during loan spells at Blackpool and Doncaster. Wenger

believes the 19-year-old has a bright future at Arsenal. “Jay has

class. Class to give the ball, class to finish, class to pass

people,” Wenger declared. “I believe he can play against anybody

and score goals, but then again you must earn your place and on a

daily basis he must show you have the hunger and quality. “He has

the needed quality without a doubt. I am confident that if he gets

an opportunity he will show that.” Another youngster to have

impressed the Gunners boss is Vela. The 21-year-old came off the

bench to net a brace in the 6-0 Champions League win over Braga to

take his season tally to three goals. “It is about starting the

game, carrying the responsibility to be the main striker and

showing that you can deal with that. I believe that Carlos can –

but then again you have to turn up at the right moment,” Wenger

said. “It is a massive opportunity for him, he has worked very hard

from the beginning of the season. “He is a different player to what

he was last year when it wasn’t easy going sometimes. He has a more

mature attitude now.” With Redknapp also set to rotate, it seems

former Arsenal captain William Gallas will be rested on Tuesday and

so not face his old team-mates. Wenger, though, believes there

should be no animosity shown towards the veteran French defender,

who left the Emirates Stadium at the end of his contract in the

summer. “I believe your priority is to give the maximum to the club

you play for and he has done that,” he said. “You can understand

people are not happy if you don’t do that but you cannot ask for

people if they don’t have a contract not to sign for a club that is

your main opponent in the city.” Gunners skipper Cesc Fabregas,

meanwhile, hopes he could recover from a hamstring problem picked

up when scoring a freak goal at Sunderland in time for the Premier

League trip to Chelsea on October 3.