Play Fantasy Wenger: Which young Guns should face Tottenham tonight?

By Graham McNorthbank

Arsenal make the short journey to the third world tonight to face Tottenham in the Carling Cup and while we know that Arsene Wenger will field a team of youngsters and fringe players, quite what Harry Redknapp will do remains unclear.

The Spuds hierarchy are at pains to try to maintain their claim that they are just as big a club as Arsenal, so I suspect we might see a home side that is more used to playing in the Premier League than the reserves, giving the Gunners a stern test.

The most intriguing position in the Arsenal team for me tonight will be who takes the gloves to go in goal. I'm convinced that Lukasz Fabianski will be handed that task, but if the Carling Cup is meant to be Wenger's way of introducing youngsters to first team duties, then I'd argue that a better choice would be Wojciech Szczesny or Vito Mannone.

Szczesny in particular is being touted as a future number 1, so why not give him a chance this evening. As Le Gaffer has often said, if you're good enough you're old enough.

Indeed, I'd expect an entirely different starting 11 this evening to the team that travelled to Sunderland on Saturday.

The most worrying part of that is undoubtedly our defence, but given the scarcity of first team choices, I'd be surprised indeed if Le Boss risked either Laurent Koscielny or Sebastien Squillaci this evening for fear of picking up a knock in what he sees as a fairly meaningless game.

So my back four line up would be Emmanuel Eboue, Havard Nordtveit, Johan Djourou and Kieran Gibbs.

Normally I'd expect Jack Wilshere to feature in the Carling Cup, but the amount of playing time he's been getting in the first team of late could see him rested, so our midfield is more likely to resemble a mix of our reserve team, with a couple of more experienced heads. As a result I'd opt for the likes of Craig Eastmond, the highly promising Chuks Aneke, Alex Song and Tomas Rosicky, the latter of whom I'd make captain for the night.

And I know that I'm opting for a 4-4-2 set up, but up front I'd love to see Jay Emmanuel-Thomas as the supporting striker for Carlos Vela, or even his reserve strike partner Benik Afobe.

I have to admit that I don't have much confidence in project youth emerging with a victory from Tottenham tonight, but it will be interesting to see how the next generation is progressing and while it would have been nice to see them face a team from a lower division, the fact that they're being thrown into a derby tussle will hopefully see the young Guns raise their game.

And if the kids can get a result, then maybe we could be in for yet another prolonged run in the meaningless cup.

Share your thoughts on who you think should line up for the Arsenal tonight by using our comments section below. For the record, here's our Addict XI:

Eboue Nordtveit Djourou Gibbs
Eastmond Song Aneke Rosicky
JET Vela