Newcastle v Arsenal Preview: Wenger hasn’t changed his policy, the kids have just grown up

Tonight sees a very interesting match-up in the Carling Cup between Arsenal and Newcastle United.

It will be a tough game at St James’ Park, so the announcement from the manager that Theo Walcott, Laurent Koscielny and Nicklas Bendtner, among others, will be back in the starting team is most welcome.

Carling Cup teams are always something of a lottery but judging from all of the comments that Arsene Wenger has made I expect to see a line-up similar in strength to the one that thrashed Spurs at White Hart Lane.

In goals Wojciech Szczesny gets a chance as a result of Manuel Almunia’s never-ending “injury”, while the back four is likely to feature Emmanuel Eboue, the returning Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou and Kieran Gibbs. The manager has been quick to downplay the hype of Szczesny in goals, who was viewed to be some sort of cross between Jesus and James Dean when everybody was panicking earlier in the season.

Bendtner will lead the line tonight

In midfield Jack Wilshere will serve the second part of his three-game ban and both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri will be rested. As a result I expect Denilson, Abou Diaby (does anyone know why he missed the City game?) and Henri Lansbury to start behind a front three of Carlos Vela, Nicklas Bendtner and Theo Walcott.

It’s a very strong team and if the manager chooses to add a little more experience it wouldn’t be unfeasible to see Tomas Rosicky or Alex Song start as well.

I’ve read some articles that say Wenger has abandoned his youth policy for the Carling Cup – yet I don’t think that’s quite right. I simply believe a combination of more depth, less injuries and above all else, the fact that our squad is getting older as the real reasons for these conclusions.

If we assume that the team I’ve named is correct then it means just two of the starting eleven from the City game will start tonight. It is remarkably encouraging. I think it underlines our depth and the growth of players like Bendtner, Walcott and Gibbs, while the inclusion of players like Szczesny and Lansbury indicate that this is still a competition where the fringe players will get an opportunity to show what they can do.

I’m particularly excited about tonight’s game because of the impressive performance in the previous round. Newcastle away from home will be just as tough a fixture as Spurs at White Hart Lane, perhaps even more-so given the importance our opponents will place on this competition, and it should be a cracking contest.

I’m tipping us to win, just as we did on Sunday, and if we do get past Newcastle then there is a very real chance that we may finally end up with a trophy this season. One step at a time, though.


Have your say on Arsenal’s Carling Cup clash with Newcastle by leaving a comment.



  1. I think your lot will hammer us tonight. Aside from our awful home form, any team wenger puts out will always be full of match winning ability, and especially with the likely inclusion of Bendtner I just can’t see the toon getting owt from this one. That said, I think most toon fans would rather Hoots sticks to youth tonight so that our first team is ready for the biggest game of the last couple of seasons on Sunday. Common sense must prevail tonight, even if we do have to take a stuffing in order to ensure it.

  2. It is stupid for people to say Wenger has abandoned his youth policy simply because the majority of the lineup he is starting in the Carling Cup is still young by cup standards – its just that these players have got more experience than most of the other ‘youthful’ sides in the cup.

  3. AW has changed nothing abt youth policy, l think that the inevitable was always going to happen ; we have some many of these players already in the first eleven eg Jack, Song, Fab etc with so many ready to impress but unused say JET Vela Which means our squad is now bigger so much that we can play 11 youths with experience to face teams Newcastle.

  4. Apparently Diaby was injured during the warm up to the Man City game…no official news from Wenger yet though!

  5. I think Wenger should take every game seriously if he needs a trophy. We’ve got enough options on every role so he should mix up the youth and experienced since he wont abandon his youth side.

  6. Really looking forward to tonight. There’s a real chance to win this trophy and I hope to see Vela/ Bendtner/ Walcott up front. Considering they are all on the fringes of the first eleven it’s a great chance for them to remind us all what they have to offer.

    What a strikeforce! Pace, creativity, finishing ability down the wings and the strength and confidence of Nic up top. They’ll all interchange too; mouth watering stuff.

    Let’s hope the defence/ keeper are up to scratch. We never like going up north and St James has a great atmosphere so it’ll be a good match im sure! 3-0 arsenal, Vela hat-tick!!!

  7. It is interesting to hear Wenger state in the last few days that he hoped Cesc will be with us for a good 2 or 3 seasons,just when it coincided with Barcelona declaring that they are making drastic cuts to their wage bill on and off the field.They literally have no cash to spend and though asset rich,the effects of the Spanish economy are taking affect.I think Cesc has accepted that and will show full commitment to Arsenal.He is pivotal to any success we may achieve.His whole body language has changed,he looks generally much more content, and he can put to the back of his mind,at least for the time being any proposed move, and that for us is a good thing.Barca are disguising their troubles by saying yet again they have made no official approach to our club,purely to save face.

  8. i’ll be honest,i’ll be gutted if we go out tonight.when you look at the teams left in the carling cup only man utd & villa possibly stand in our way from winning it.i honestly reckon that if it was an arsenal v man utd final every single arsenal fan would be up for it,i know i would.the good thing is as well the carling cup final is in feb and winning it could give huge confidence to the squad especially if we are in contention for the other trophies.the biggest thing that worries me is injuries to key players,but imagine arsenal parading the cup at wembley and every one of those players having a winners medal on their sideboard,the team’s belief would be an all-time high.while i agree with you that the 3 other trophies are more important,but don’t you think it was great to hear wenger being positive.i thought it sent out a message of intent and belief although we all know it’s difficult winning one trophy besides 4.

  9. Looks like the line up will be:


    Eboue – Djourou – Koscielny – Gibbs

    Denilson – Lansbury

    Walcott – Rosicky – Vela


  10. If Diaby will focus and play well, having it at the back of his mind that competitions are rising. Then we could win. I am only afriad of Diaby unnecessarily holding to ball and dribbling. Otherwise. We are winning this match 2 – 5. Arsenal 5 and Newscastle 2

  11. With the league title race as tough as it is ( Chelsea on a massacre crusade), perhaps Wenger should consider putting a team as strong as the Man City team (not taking anything away from Theo and the gang).
    That way we make sure we don’t go empty handed again this season. I also fancy our chances at the champions league .

  12. Ya we are better off if Denilson is in the holding midfield than Diaby there. Has any of you noticed the role Denilson did against City. H e is better off than Diaby on teams which are physical. A hard fought win fr arsenal tonight.

  13. Looking forward to seeing some of the up and coming players. I really liked Lansbury’s performance against Spurs. I think we can expect the Toons to put in a large amount of work in front of the home fans, but the Gunners should be able to come away with the win. Though the young Newcastle players looked good as well.

    Party On!

  14. Obviously, I hope that the squad puts in a great performance tonight and wins, but if Wenger starts the midfield that Andrew suggests then I’ll be really curious to see which individual emerges as the leader. Who will call the shots and boss the game? Denilson? Diaby? I also hope that Vela can finally put in a game dominating performance.

  15. Half of me was gutted when Man U scrapped thro last night, but then when I saw the team he put out it appears Fergie thinks he has more important trophies on his mind ,.. perhaps a decision he will regret. Hope he sticks with his team selection and we stuff them in the final ! Looking forward to tonight …

  16. Exactly the team I expected. But not the bench – it’s far stronger than I’d imagined.

    He’s taking this competition very seriously!!!

  17. mh, a little bit changed policy, Cesc in Carling Cup?
    looked quite good, was it a Hattrick for Theo? I just saw the second half, impressive, Chesney is a prospect I think, best thing to introduce ex-injured players………. 😎 Theo is back, and even this goal by Bendtner, why just don’t happen those things against Chelsea or Manu ??

  18. Finished 4 – 0 in arsenal’s favour kind of a boring first half but exploded in the second with a Theo double and Bendtner hat trick. totally agree if we have a winners medal in february for the carling cup it will be a massive boost in the final epl stages and champions league if we’re still in the running. I thought Szesny was impressive especially keeping out block busters in the final stages. Djorou looked a bit shaky, but Koscielny was quite strong. Denilson also stood out foe me. Great performance and bring on west ham

  19. BTW did any one else notice how hard Sczesny punched the ball towards the end after the Newcastle corner? He punchedit till the half way line he he he!!

  20. By the way, a Great title -Wenger hasn’t changed his policy, the kids have just grown up 🙂

  21. Two shut-outs in a row!!! With 7 goals in the ‘for’ column. This is great stuff. If we can keep a third against West Ham it will be very pleasing – even if we only score the one.

  22. saw the match…comfortable win for us.we could have easily pumped in a few more…Particularly happy with the goalkeeper’s performance…Sczechny looks a great prospect…he’s got good strong hands, and looks one for the future.
    Vermaulen needs to return soon…Djorou looked shaky…wonder what will he do against top strikers. Koschelny was good but seem to lack pace. Denilson and Eastmond did their best sitting right in front of the centrebacks. Eastmond looks very comfortable with the ball. he is one for the future…just need to work on his physique.
    bendy as usual gave his best…worked hard. Rosicky was good in the first half…and vela and walcott were outstanding all thru. Eboue also had a good game…his pace could be a real asset for the team…he needs to take on the opposition defense more often…but his final delivery needs to improve… similarly for Walcott.
    In all i was extremely happy with our performance today.

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