Manchester City - Arsenal
Wednesday, December 02, 2009 2:45 PM (ET)
The Carling Cup showcase for the youth brigade is this afternoon. Keeping company with Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Fran Merida, Craig Eastmond, Sanchez Watt are a few war veterans- Alex Song, Tomas Rosicky, Emmanuel Eboue, and Mikael Silvestre.
Then there is Carlos Vela and Armand Traore who can cement their position in an Arsenal squad that is missing several key players through injury. Lukacz Fabianksi also returns after a four week layoff following an injury in the Liverpool Carling Cup fixture. His performance could crystallize his back up status to Almunia after a some less assured moments last season.
Keep an eye out for Craig Eastmond who can play either as holding midfielder or right back and is highly rated by Steve Bould. His performance against Liverpool in October got rave reviews.
Sanchez Watt as the second striker/ centerforward/ winger gives many looks becoming the 85th Gunner to score on debut against West Brom earlier this season.
Fran Merida is a bit like Cesc Fabregas, technically gifted in central midfield with probably an edge in scoring instinct. He scored a beautiful goal in the Liverpool win.
They go up against a full strength City squad at Eastlands who are taking the Carling Cup very seriously which is in contrast to Wenger's low key approach. Mark Hughes has warned his players to take the Gunners seriously.
City is feeling a lot less ebullient after its hysterical off season buying spree and their bright start to the season has petered out in a series of deary draws to teams like Burnley, Hull, Wigan, and Birmingham. It has not been a goal scoring spree as imagined and the defense has let them down at key moments.
One player who has been waiting in anticipation for about a month or so since City drew Arsenal as their quarter final opponent is Emmanuel Adebayor or Manu (that's a warm touch, City fans).
"I love Arsene Wenger, and I will always keep that love for Arsene - he is the person who made me what I am today.
"I just want to show him what he has taught me in the three years that I was there, and that is the main thing I will keep in mind for the quarter-final next month."
Whatever Wenger taught him did not include kicking players on the head and over the top celebrations. Actually, we would like to see Ade do his famous disappearing act. That's his entirely.