Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Tuesday January 8 2008
The Emirates Stadium
Arsenal's kids will once again to toe to toe with Tottenham's first team in the Carling Cup Semi Final.
It's the second time in as many season's that Arsene Wenger's talented youngsters have face the talentless Tottenham first team.
While it's a chance for Arsene Wenger to hand some youngsters a chance to prove themselves and gain some fitness, it's Spurs' only realistic chance of getting into Europe next season after a shocking start to the league season.
Juande Ramos' side will want to make up for his side's loss to Arsenal when Robbie 'amazing goal celebrations' Keane had a penalty save by the man who could soon replace his team mate as England Number One - Almunia.
Arsene Wenger has already confirmed that his team will be similar to the one that faced Balckburn in the last round of the competition.
If Arsenal progress, we could see a repeat of last season's final, when The Gunners faced rivals Chelsea.
However, Spurs could reach their first 'major' cup final since they won 'The Peace Cup' two years ago. *singger*
The Gunners' form has returned to it's outstanding best. Five wins in their last six see's them sitting atop of the Premiership, with only Portsmouth having taken anything from Arsenal. Spurs' have fallen at the hands of Arsenal in those 6 after a 2-1 win for the Gunners at home.
Spurs on the other hand, have won only three of their last six, drawing one and losing two. Both losses were 2-1. One was to Arsenal, the other to Villa. The've managed to beat such giants as Reading and Fulham...
Arsenal's young 'Keeper Lukasz Fabianski is hoping he can make a name for himself when he starts betweent he stick on Wednesday night: 'It is a big, big game for me, the fans and for everybody who is a Gunner,' He told Arsenal TV.
'For me, it has been good to play in this competition and we now have two more games.
'It will be another chance to show my ability and how I am looking. I am ready for that and cannot wait.
'I know that this is a London derby game and I spoke to Manuel Almunia, who saved a penalty against Spurs.
'He told me that if you save a penalty against Tottenham then you are the biggest man in the world.
'For the Arsenal fans, it is a big thing to win against Tottenham.'
Spurs midfielder Jermaine Jenas says he and his team mates want to get revenge for their deat last year...and the year before, and the year before, and the year before and so on: 'I have sore memories and we want to have the opposite feeling this time around.
'We must be positive, this tie is the other way around and it might help us that we can bring them back to the Lane for the return game unlike last year.
'I am very confident that we can score goals whenever and wherever we play.'
The big news is that Robin Van Persie is back for Arsenal after recovering from a muscle injury in time to face one of the few Premiership teams he is yet to net a goal against.
Fabianski will start in goal, while Johan Djourou will make his first start of the season for Arsenal. Senderos will partner him in defence.
Theo Walcott is also avaliable again after overcoming a shoulder injury.
As I said, Spurs are one of the few teams Van Persie is yet to score against. I'm tipping him to change that tomorrow.
Someone called Ledley King is likely to start for Spurs. Has anyone heard of him?
Berbatov is almost certain to be partnered by Robbie Keane as Spurs look to win their first North London Derby for nine years.
Younes Kaboul and Darren Bent are doubtful. Gareth Bale, Anthony Gardner and Benoit Assou-Ekotto are all out. While Huddlestone begins his 3-match ban.
There's no one else worth writing about at Spurs. He's the closest thing The Tiny Totts have to a class player, and he will pose a massive threat to Arsenal's young defence.
I'll have to go for a 3-1 win for Arsenal. Tottenham showed signs of tightening up at the back when Ramos took over, but that's gone out the window now. Bendtner and Eduardo have enjoyed playing together so far, and I think they'll continue their good work.
Date:Tuesday January 8 2008
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