Tomorrow’s Carling Cup 4th round tie against Wigan means that Arsene Wenger will get the chance to unleash his promising ‘Young Guns’ out onto the big stage for the second time this season. With the match being shown live on Sky Sports, pressure is sure to be high on Wenger’s youthful set of youngsters.
Two players who are already pencilled in to start are Alex Song and Swiss centre back Johan Djourou, both of whom have played fairly small parts in the Gunners’ first team exploits this season. They face a strike partnership worthy of worrying any central defensive pair – Amir Zaki and Henri Camara.
Camara has been welcomed back into Steve Bruce’s starting XI due to Emile Heskey’s hamstring injury. Arsenal fans may remember Senegalese foward Camara grabbing a goal against a side containing Thierry Henry during Arsenal’s 3-2 triumph at the JJB Stadium a couple of seasons back.
As for Egyptian striker Zaki, well, his stats speak volumes. 9 goals in just 11 games – unbelievable for a player with no Premier League experience at all since joining from his homecountry minnows El Zamalek.
Both players pose a different and unique threat to the Arsenal defence. Camara is renowned for his quick feet and blistering pace which he uses to skim past defenders, while Zaki’s awesome power and pace make him a handful for any defence in Europe.
You can bet that they both fancy their chances against the inexperienced centre back pairing.
It should be noted though, that Arsenal’s youngsters kept a clean sheet against Sheffield United – a team boasting James Beattie and Gary Speed, players with top division knowledge and quality.
The question that will be asked is – Can they do it again tomorrow evening?
Yes they certainly can. Concentration is the key. If both Song and Djourou keep focused for the full 90 minutes, Wigan’s attacking prowess should be easily stemmed.
Gooner Talk will of course be covering tomorrow’s Carling Cup match, with a preview coming tomorrow afternoon and a report set to be posted shortly after full time.