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Young Gunners give Wenger food for thought
September 25, 2008 17:40 IST
Arsene Wenger will spend the days ahead of Saturday's home Premier League clash with Hull City contemplating how many of his teen dream team might be on duty with the big boys following their League Cup goalfest.
Wenger sent a team out with an average age of 19 on Tuesday and was rewarded with a 6-0 thrashing of Sheffield United as the young Gunners stood up to be counted.
Several of them have already had a taste of the first team, including hat-trick-scoring Carlos Vela and his two-goal strike partner Nicklas Bendtner, while others have barely secured their places in the youth team.
All of them, however, seemed to have absorbed Wenger's footballing philosophy as they zipped the ball around the Emirates pitch and counter-attacked with a speed and precision that left the experienced Championship side chasing shadows.
"I believe that the team played football the way we want to play, it was very pleasing," Wenger said.
"I'm not as surprised as you because I see them every day but you never know how they'll respond on the big stage.
"I wouldn't be scared to play any individual of this 11 in the Premier League, altogether I don't know, but all the individual players who played have the talent."
Wenger will revert to most of the players who have taken Arsenal [Images] to the top of the league for Saturday's game, though several of the youngsters will be on the bench.
The Frenchman says that the change of rules this season to allow seven, instead of five, substitutes to be named, has helped him ease the youngsters in.
"They start to taste and to smell the importance of the games and the pressure in the dressing rooms," said Wenger. "They see how the experienced players handle it."
It's all pretty new to Hull too, but they are enjoying their first taste of top-flight football having notched up two wins and two draws from their opening five games.
Saturday's game will be the first league meeting between the clubs for 93 years and only their fifth in all.
Conversely Everton and Liverpool will meet at Goodison Park for the 179th Merseyside league derby.
Liverpool have already shown signs of the inconsistency that has prevented them launching a serious title challenge in recent years as they followed up victory over Manchester United [Images] with a goalless draw against Stoke City at Anfield.
The Potteries team will probably employ the same defensive tactics when they host Chelsea and there will be few complaints from the home fans if they secure another 0-0 draw.
Manchester United, struggling to find any momentum in the early weeks of their title defence, are at home to Bolton Wanderers.
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