Wenger excited about next generation

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The Independent Online

Arsene Wenger is ready to show just what the "new generation" at Arsenal can do in the Carling Cup this season.

The Gunners currently sit top of the Barclays Premier League following a weekend that saw them win 3-1 at Bolton, while title rivals Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United all dropped points.

However, following a hectic travel schedule that included a Champions League trip to Kiev, Wenger will give most of his first team a well-deserved rest tomorrow night when Coca-Cola Championship side Sheffield United are the visitors to Emirates Stadium.

Last season, a similar policy saw the Gunners reach the Carling Cup semi-finals, before they lost over two legs to arch-rivals Tottenham, who went on to win the competition at Wembley.

Wenger is set to adopt the same approach once more - which means the likes of Wales Under-21 midfielder Aaron Ramsey, 16-year-old Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and reserve team captain Gavin Hoyte are set to take centre stage.

The Arsenal manager is in no doubt these boys have the potential to become big stars and will offer the fans a glimpse into the club's future.

"I am very excited because it is a new generation where the youngest boy is Wilshere, then there is (Mark) Randall, Gibbs and so on," said Wenger.

"I believe it is very interesting to see a new generation come through, which is a little bit helped by having more experienced players around them, even though they are also young.

"It is always an adventure of a young group together and they can give you a bit of a view of how life at Arsenal could be in three or five years' time."

Wenger told Arsenal TV Online: "It is a good opportunity for us to go through and for us to give young players a chance to show how good they are."

Poland stopper Lukasz Fabianski is set to take over from Manuel Almunia in goal tomorrow night.

The 23-year-old believes he has learned a lot from the experiences of last season, which included conceding five at White Hart Lane, but saw him end the campaign with three successive appearances in the final Premier League matches.

"It is really important to be patient," said the former Legia Warsaw keeper.

"The best way to do that is to work really hard in training and to wait for your chance.

"If you get a chance, then you have to perform well and take it."

Fabianski added: "I will just carry on working hard and last season I had some opportunities to play in the Carling Cup, and at the end, in the Premier League.

"If you wait, you will get your chance.

"But obviously I do not want to wait too long to be the first-choice keeper, so I just have to do all I can to make it happen as soon as possible."

Arsenal, meanwhile, have tied up Johan Djourou on a new, long-term contract.

The 21-year-old Switzerland international - who joined the Gunners in 2003 - has made four appearances this season, coming off the bench to replace injured full-back Gael Clichy in the win over Bolton.

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