Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Wednesday January 24 2007
White Hart Lane
24th January 2007
Arsenal (kids) travel to White Hart Lane tonight to face Spurs in the first leg of the Carling Cup Semi Final.
For Spurs this is a golden opportunity not only to beat Arsenal for the first time in 7 years but for them to reach a Cup Final…a rarity for such a small club. For Arsenal it`s another chance to blood some of the many talented youngsters coming through at Ashburton Grove.
Arsene Wenger: 'Frankly I would have liked an easier run of games to the Semi-Final.
"But there is nothing like a tough education in life.
"When you are a parent you want your children to have a little less of a tough education and something a bit more soft.
'But at the end of the day if they get through it then you know they are equipped for the demands of playing at a club like Arsenal."
"I made a decision at the start of the Carling Cup that, because we have such a young squad, I needed to know about them.
"I could not waste a year with players who did not get top-level competition. To give them an education I needed to choose one trophy and play them in there. I did that in the Carling Cup.
"At the moment this team pushes so hard that you can see it has an effect in the first team. They know the competition is just so hard."
Fat Martin Jol hopes for some support...for a change: 'The fans are more important than they realise.
'Every match we play at White Hart Lane they lift us - it why are so strong at home, while we are learning how to play away.
'Our crowd give us confidence and we've got one of the best crowds in the English league for helping the team get good results,' added Jol, who went on to give his thoughts on the big cup clash.
'Of course, it is a big game for us, the semi-final of a cup and that is what you want - what Spurs fans want.
'With being up against Arsenal people talk about them playing kids, well, they played a young side last time against Liverpool and scored six goals - the first time it has happened at Anfield in over 70 years. I certainly just see them as a very good team and Arsenal have a lot of talent in their squad.
'For us it is important to get to the final, but it is not about one match. We need a cushion to go to the Emirates though because it will be tough. We had an awful afternoon there in December and we don't want it to happen again.' Print This Article Email a Friend
Midfielder Teemu Tainio will miss the game at White Hart Lane because of a sprained ankle.
Ledley King (bruised foot) is also out but Jenas (ankle), Mido (groin) and Paul Stalteri (hip) are in contention again.
Just about the only midfielder in spurs' squad with flair he is sure to pose a threat.
Traore will have to make sure that if he makes one of his galloping runs down the left that he is able to catch pacey Lennon.
Arsenal include Toure, Eboue, Flamini, Fabregas and Hleb in the squad.
Wenger has already confirmed that Walcott and Diaby will start. Baptista should start through the middle in attack while Aliadiere will be the other striker, playing wide left of a 4-3-3.
The England international seems to thrive on big occasions. While this may not mean an aweful lot to most Gooners, I'm sure it's as big as an FA Cup Semi to The Arsenal youngsters.
His pace, power, engergy and vision mean he has the ability to give the best of defences a run for their money so he should be able to tear Ekotto and Co apart!
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Date:Wednesday January 24 2007
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