Today’s Carling Cup clash with Wigan will be another chance for Wenger’s young charges to display the total football mentality that he has ingrained in their footballing psyche. Wigan are a team of journeymen led by the free-scoring Amr Zaki, and he will give Djourou and Song a good test. This game will be physical, hard-fought, and end-to-end, but I think the quality of our young gunners will show through.
Now that the routine preview is over, I want to highlight 3 things to keep a close eye on this evening:
1. Lukasz Fabianski
Lately, Almunia has come under criticism, and there are certain questions arising about his right to be the keeper of a top 4 team. Fabianski, for almost 2 years now, has seemed the heir apparent to that throne. This game will give him the chance to make a bigger case for himself. Make no mistake, Wigan will have some chances on goal. How he performs could go a long way towards pushing him into the first 11.
2. Carlos Vela
After his previous goal scoring exploits against Sheffield United, it will be interesting what his form will be. It would be daft to expect him to perform at the same level as the previous game, however it is very likely he will be in the goals again. He is a class striker who AW seemingly cannot compliment enough. Look for him to trouble the Wigan defense from the first whistle to last. They will be terrified of this kid.
3. Aaron Ramsey
The young Welsh midfielder is our closest thing to a Fabregas we have in our team, besides our Cesc of course. He is a no-nonsense tackler who can dribble, shoot, and pass. He is the total package and will go on to be a world-class midfielder. The game against Wigan will be his game. The performance of the team arguably rests on his shoulders. Look for him to step up to the plate and show his worth once again.
This Arsenal team will be young and relatively inexperienced, but they have played these games before. While it is always difficult to predict a football match, let alone one with such a young team, it is not unrealistic to expect a fair amount of goals from our boys.
Lastly, Wigan will be terrified of coming to the Emirates. They will not want to be torn apart by these young upstarts. They will get up and at our team. As always, I call on the fans to provide the voice that our young players need to give them an extra boost in confidence. I have great faith in this team and believe it is filled with players who will have great careers, regardless of where they play. These Carling Cup games are always a joy to watch and I for one cannot wait. Until then, keep the Gooner spirit alive.