Wenger: Derby clash a good test

BY foxsports • September 20, 2010

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.


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