Early Doors

Et tu, Harry?

Early Doors

View photo

.
This evening sees one of the biggest derbies in England, sure to kick off the Carling Cup third round in style.

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are both Champions League clubs these days, and as such they will both bring a touch of continental class to proceedings.

When the two teams representing these great North London rivals emerge at White Hart Lane, they and their fans will swell with pride listening to the strains of the League Cup anthem - if indeed the competition has one.

If only it were true. No one will be the faintest bit surprised to see Arsene Wenger send out a side that includes Thomas Cruise et al. It will, though, be amusing to hear Gunners fans complain that Lukasz Fabianski is still getting a game.

Wenger's team have not won a trophy in five years, and winning the Carling Cup could be useful in finally ending that drought and instilling some kind of winning culture back into the club. Gael Clichy is the only member of that famous Invincibles side still at the club.

The policy does make sense in theory. It's a chance for his colts to gain first-team experience and show they are fit to play in the bigger competitions. And, if they don't make the cut, at least they get some appearances under their belt, making them more valuable on the transfer market.

For Wenger to field a strong side and make a concerted effort to win it would be something of an admission of failure on his part, that his policy of blooding youngsters in the competition means his faith in the club's youth is all too often misplaced.

However, that Spurs boss Harry Redknapp is also set to field a clutch of his Tottenham teenies is something of a departure.

Redknapp will start Steven Caulker and Jake Livermore now that he has bigger fish to fry. He's even going to hand Brazilian midfielder Sandro a debut, laying to rest the Twitter hashtag #wheressandro once and for all.

"We've got lots of quality players who need to play who haven't featured recently and some of the players need a rest," Redknapp said. "I can't keep using the same ones. I am going to have to protect some of them and there will be lots of changes."

Redknapp did, however, still manage to get in a dig on 'lesser' clubs who are not deserving of treating the competition with such contempt.

He added: "The Carling Cup is still important, though. I can't understand teams in the middle of the table resting their players in the Carling Cup. You have a chance of going to Wembley and winning a cup."

When he first took over at Spurs, Redknapp was more than happy to field a strong line-up as he took his side back to the final which they had won the previous year.

He even went as far as playing a bunch of teenagers in their UEFA Cup quarter-final against Shakhtar Donetsk, as they had the final against Manchester United three days later.

Now, however, it seems as though he is too busy concentrating on winning the Champions League to worry about such trifling matters.

Wenger, meanwhile, is just focused on being on the touchline for the next match.

- - -

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Trinidad and Tobago have produced some excellent players over the years and the islands are full of young people who love football. I am really looking forward to seeing the young girls and boys from all backgrounds and their coaches at my academy." - David Beckham uses the fact he used to play with the one excellent player Trinidad and Tobago have produced to help curry favour with FIFA vice-president Jack Warner to give his vote to England's 2018 World Cup bid.

FOREIGN VIEW: It's a veritable triple-whammy of foreign-based madness this morning. If it's not an angry Honduran goalkeeper shooting at a journalist with an air gun, or Togo's assistant coach being suspended for taking a group of imposters masquerading as the national side to play a match in Bahrain, then it's police interviewing PSG's 24-year-old keeper Apoula Edel over claims that he's really a 29-year-old called Ambroise Beyamena. Mental.

COMING UP: Follow live commentary of Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal (19:45), and keep updated with every other score with our Carling Cup multiplex. There is also action from La Liga; Real Madrid v Espanyol is live at 21:00.

The latest edition of the Eurosport-Yahoo! Football Podcast is online now. This week the team discuss Berbatov, Liverpool, Messi and the biggest villain of the weekend (clue: it's El-Hadji Diouf).

View Comments (0)