Jol unfazed by Arsenal Carling Cup selection
Tottenham boss Martin Jol is refusing to read too much into Arsenal being under-strength tonight, insisting Arsene Wenger's second-string side could compete in the Premiership.
Wenger is set to field his youngsters and reserves at White Hart Lane in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final, with a clash against Chelsea at the Millennium Stadium up for grabs.
Among the players in reserve at Arsenal include England Under-21 forward Theo Walcott and Julio Baptista, the Brazilian who scored four against Liverpool in the last round.
'It is their responsibility, but I feel that their second team, or kids, or reserves, is probably as strong as any other Premiership side outside of the top four,' said Jol.
'Baptista was transferred for 20million euros last year and he is playing for the kids. I was interested in him a few years ago but he did not have a passport.
'How many teams are there in England like Arsenal who can take a gamble and say 'okay, we don't play our best players and we still have a great chance of going for the Champions League and title'?
'We are in not in the position to league our players out and do well. The only change I can make are up front or in positions where I have two good players, like in left-back.'
Dutchman Jol is determined to make up for the last clash against Arsenal, a dismal debut at the Emirates Stadium even though the three goals in a 3-0 defeat came after questionable refereeing decisions.
Graham Poll was in charge for that clash and will officiate tonight, with the return fixture a week later.
'I would have liked to have played them again straight after, but it was impossible,' admitted Jol.
New signing Ricardo Rocha will be in the stands for the clash against Arsenal after completing his signing from Benfica.
The 28-year-old Portugal international, who signed for an undisclosed fee on a three-and-a-half year deal, believes he possesses the toughness Jol has called for from his players this season.
'I play hard but also fair,' he said on the club's official website: 'I just want to win all the balls and stop my opponents from scoring goals. I will just always do my best.'