Fringe players set for Spurs-Arsenal cup derby

BY foxsports • September 20, 2010

Despite their fierce local rivalry, Tottenham and Arsenal will persist with fielding fringe players when they meet Tuesday in the League Cup.

For the first time, the north London rivals are playing in both the lucrative Champions League and the Premier League.

The third round of England's second-tier knockout competition will give Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp a chance to field players who struggle for regular first-team action, while Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is likely to send out several academy graduates, including 20-year-old goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, despite losing 5-1 at White Hart Lane when they met in the semifinals two years ago.

Tottenham went on to lift the trophy that year, while Arsenal hasn't won any title since 2005 despite staying in the hunt in the Premier League and Champions League until the latter stages each season.

Redknapp is protecting key players like midfielder Gareth Bale for upcoming matches against West Ham in the Premier League and FC Twente in the Champions League.

"We've got lots of players who need to play who haven't featured recently," Redknapp said. "They are good quality players who need games under their belt and some of the players need a rest.

"I can't keep using the same players. I am going to protect some of them. There will be lots of changes. Arsene Wenger's done it over the years and played the youngsters even in cup semifinals. You've got to do what's right for the team."

Redknapp is set to hand 21-year-old Brazilian midfielder Sandro his first appearance since joining from Inter Milan.

"I spoke to (former Brazil coach) Dunga about him and we got good reports," Redknapp said. "I've been pleased with him. He's a good lad. He's in the Brazilian squad and you don't get too many bad players breaking into the Brazil national squad."

Steven Caulker, an 18-year-old center half, and 21-year-old midfielder Jake Livermore are also set to play.

"Tomorrow will answer questions of whether some of these kids are good enough to play for Tottenham," Redknapp said.

Some Premier League rivals will be sending out strong teams in the competition to kickstart their flagging starts to the season, however.

Everton, which goes to Brentford, and West Ham, playing at Sunderland, have failed to win in five league matches. Fulham manager Mark Hughes is still getting acquainted with his players and plans to field his best team against Stoke.

The third round also sees Bolton manager Owen Coyle return for the first time to Burnley, which he left last season.

"If it was just down to emotion, and emotion alone, I would never have left Burnley," Coyle said. "But I had to look at the bigger picture and I made a footballing decision because of the infrastructure and everything else at Bolton.

"I'd been here as a player and I knew everything that goes with that as well, and that was how it was made."

New recruits Nikola Zigic and Matt Derbyshire are set to play for Birmingham in a home match against MK Dons. Alexander Hleb is also likely to play to improve his match fitness following his loan move from Barcelona after making his debut against West Brom on Saturday.

Also Tuesday, Wolverhampton hosts Notts County, while there are all-League Championship clashes between Millwall and Ipswich, and Portsmouth and Leicester. Third-tier club Peterborough hosts Swansea.


share story