Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Tuesday night's date at Tottenham Hotspur will help his young Carling Cup stars become better players.
Wenger has played his youth players in the competition for several years now, and that is set to continue this term too. The Arsenal manager will not be in the dugout for the game after accepting a Football Association charge for his actions at the end of Arsenal's draw with Sunderland at the weekend. He was offered the standard sanction of a one-match touchline ban and an £8,000 fine, which he accepted on Tuesday morning meaning he will sit out the match.
The two sides last met in the Carling Cup at the semi-final stage three seasons ago with Spurs winning the second leg 5-1 at White Hart Lane. But on that occasion Spurs played a full strength side while Wenger stuck with the kids. It will be a different scenario this season with Redknapp resting his stars too due to the rigours of the Champions League.
Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, Johan Djourou, Emmanuel Eboue, Kieran Gibbs and Mexican striker Carlos Vela are all set to feature having featured little so far this season and there will also be the chance to impress for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Benik Afobe, Chuks Aneke and Henri Lansbury.
"It has got something extra to it,'' Wenger told Arsenal's official website. "It is good as well in that kind of environment to see your players and to see how will you respond to that challenge.
"I want to win the competition highly, but before we talk about winning the competition, let's focus and continue our good run that we have had since the start of the season.''
Wenger especially sees a bright future for Emmanuel-Thomas, who was on loan at Blackpool and Doncaster last season.
"Jay has class. Class to give the ball, class to finish, class to pass people,'' Wenger declared. "I believe he can play against anybody and score goals, but then again you must earn your place and on a daily basis he must show you have the hunger and quality.
"He has the needed quality without a doubt. I am confident that if he gets an opportunity he will show that.''
Carlos Vela has started the season well, and Wenger now believes the Mexico international is ready to make the step up.
"It is about starting the game, carrying the responsibility to be the main striker and showing that you can deal with that. I believe that Carlos can - but then again you have to turn up at the right moment,'' Wenger said. "It is a massive opportunity for him, he has worked very hard from the beginning of the season.
"He is a different player to what he was last year when it wasn't easy going sometimes. He has a more mature attitude now.''