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Poll: Who was your Man Of The Match against Sheffield United?

Isn't it relaxing to watch Arsenal's Carling Cup teams?! There's just something about the way that they play that is so pure and fearless that, even if they lost, it would somehow be a joy to behold.

Tonight, however, they kept up their sterling record of wins by comprehensively sweeping aside Sheffield United. I think I was expecting the Blades to put up a bit more resistance, but I was pleasantly surprised that they played a very clean game and, although they were given a footballing lesson by a very young Arsenal side, the home team never lost their cool with any rash, or late, challenges.

So another confidence booster for the fringe players and some memorable performances from the likes of Eduardo, Denilson, Kieran Gibbs and the untouchable Lassana Diarra.

But you should ignore that last observation, as I don't want to sway you when it comes to voting for your Man Of The Match. Using our survey, powered by Polldaddy, just choose who you believe was our best player tonight and click on Vote.

I'll post the results here on Friday afternoon

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Posted by Gordon Masson on October 31, 2007 11:55 PM in News| Players| Poll
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Wenger names Carling Cup squad but where’s Traore?

Le Boss has named a 16-man squad for Arsenal’s Carling Cup clash at Sheffield United tonight with one noticeable absentee – French left-back Armand Traore.

Confirmed as Gael Clichy’s immediate understudy recently, the pacy former Monaco trainee was expected to be a straight swap for his countryman in the Gunners’ rearguard.

Now it seems he’ll be missing the match, presumably due to injury and that sets up an intriguing selection dilemma for Le Boss.

Looking down the line-up here on Arsenal.com, it appears the first 11 players named [from top down] will form the starting line-up – but in what guise?

We can assume Song and Gilberto will be paired at the heart of our defence but the full-back berths are open to debate.

My guess is Justin Hoyte and Lassana Diarra will occupy the roles but who plays left and who right is anyone’s guess. That would leave Denilson and Diaby in the middle of midfield with Kieron Gibbs [left] and Theo Walcott [right] occupying the flanks either side.

That leaves Nicklas Bendtner to partner Eduardo in attack.

Amazingly, the average age of the Gunners squad, despite including 31-year-old Gilberto, is just 20.1.

But how do you see our Younger Guns lining up this evening? Who will play left-back? Will Kieron Gibbs start his first competitive game for the club? Send us your predictions via the comments below…

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Posted by Mo Khan on October 31, 2007 12:17 PM in News
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Your vote: Emmanuel Eboue was Man Of The Match against Liverpool


It was a difficult choice to make after Sunday's heroics at Anfield, and you lot clearly saw three world class performances in the shape of Cesc Fabregas, Alexander Hleb and Emmanuel Eboue.

Those three players in particular had Liverpool chasing shadows at times and in our Polldaddy-powered survey, between them they amassed 89% of all the votes cast in our Man Of The Match poll.

However, the winner was out on his own with 41% of you choosing Eboue as the most valuable player on the park in the 1-1 draw. The Ivory Coast international has adapted well to the midfield role that Arsene Wenger has thrust him into this season and it's surely only a matter of time before one of his thunderous shots finds the back of the opposition net.

He was hugely unlucky to see such a strike cannon back off the post against Liverpool but the 24-year-old will be heartened to know that the fans are recognising his contribution as yet another Wenger discovery who can play total football.

For the record, Alexander Hleb was runner up in the Arsenal Pies Man Of The Match poll, with a 26% share of the votes, while Cesc Fabregas came in a notable third with 22% of the nominations. For the full results, click here

As usual, I'll post up another man of the match poll after the Carling Cup game against Sheffield United this evening.

COME ON YOU GUNNERS!

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Posted by Gordon Masson on October 31, 2007 12:05 PM in News| Players| Poll
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Bendtner can make it big insists Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger has offered teenage striker Nicklas Bendtner some words of encouragement as his Younger Guns prepare to take on Sheffield United in the Carling Cup tonight.

Speaking exclusively to Arsenal TV Online, Le Boss championed the Danish international’s considerable qualities before making clear it is up to the player himself as to whether he makes the most of his talents.

“He is strong,” insisted Wenger. “You see his power when he first comes on and he can have an impact in games.

“When he has come on he has had an impact every time. That is because he is intelligent and he is quick as well with a good technique so he has all the ingredients that the team needs.

“He must continue to work as hard as he does. In this job that applies to a player no matter how good he is or how much talent he has - be ready everyday and when the chance comes to you, don't miss it.”

Perhaps Le Boss was making a discrete reference to Bendtner’s rushed effort against Liverpool on Sunday, when he blazed the ball high and wide after Cesc Fabregas curling effort came invitingly back off an upright.


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Posted by Mo Khan on October 31, 2007 11:59 AM in
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Wenger - Level-headed Cesc destined for the top

Arsene Wenger has suggested Cesc Fabregas could one day be labelled ‘the best player in the world’ in his position.

But the Gallic genius insists the 20-year-old Catalan creator is not the only one of his flying Young Guns who have the potential to be the best around.

Speaking exclusively to Arsenal TV Online, Le Boss said:

“Overall I feel that every player in every position should have one target, which is to become the best player in the world in their position.

“Does Cesc have potential for that? Yes of course.

“If he is doing what he is doing at twenty, why should he not aim for that?"


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Posted by Mo Khan on October 31, 2007 11:40 AM in News
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UEFA boss Michel Platini slams Arsenal for teenage buys


I used to have a lot of time for Michel Platini. But all of a sudden, now that he’s wearing a UEFA suit, he seems hell bent on doing what all his predecessors tried to do - interfere - and any respect I had for the man is beginning to wane.

Platini’s latest outburst is a direct attack on Arsene Wenger’s transfer policy. The UEFA president has blasted Le Gaffer for having a good scouting system, it would seem, because he has criticised Arsenal’s skills in identifying young talent and developing those individuals into world class players.

"I do not like the system of Arsene Wenger," said Platini, stepping off the UEFA gravy train and onto le soap box. "In France, Italy and Spain it is easy to buy with money the best players at 14, 15 or 16. I don't like that. If the best clubs buy the best 15 or 16 players, [then it] is finished for all the clubs in Europe. If my son is playing at Millwall and at 16 Manchester [United] come in for this player, then when will Millwall have a good team?"

Is it just me, or is Platini losing the plot in his new role? Is he seriously suggesting that big clubs should shut down their scouting networks so that, instead, they should have to fork out millions of pounds (or euros) later on to buy a player they might have been able to develop faster and into a more accomplished footballer?

Big clubs have been signing young talent for decades (does the name Geroge Best mean anything to you Monsieur?) and if Platini thinks any different, I suggest the UEFA hierarchy start checking their buffet troughs for the presence of hallucinogenic drugs...


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Posted by Gordon Masson on October 31, 2007 11:00 AM in Debate of the Day| News| Players| Transfers
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What the papers say: Is Thierry Henry homesick for Arsenal?

There are a few preview pieces about tonight's clash between Sheffield United and Arsenal in today's papers, but the stories about Thierry Henry's struggles at Barcelona take up more column inches.

Here’s what some of the main dailies are saying:

The Sun - Arsenal don't miss Henry
Ian Wright insists Arsenal are better off without Thierry Henry. The Gunners were widely tipped to struggle this season following the inspirational striker's departure. But Arsene Wenger's men are currently sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League — as well as riding high in Europe.

The Mirror - Arsenal to play it smart
Arsene Wenger has backed his young Gunners to use their footballing brains to overcome Sheffield United's brawn. With the Premier League leaders welcoming Manchester United on Saturday, the Arsenal boss will rest his stars and again send out the fringe men who reached last season's Carling Cup Final.

The Independent - Henry admits struggling to adapt at Barca
Thierry Henry has admitted he is frustrated with life at Barcelona's Nou Camp. The former Arsenal striker was clearly agitated yesterday after continued negative questioning from Catalan journalists, one of whom asked him if he was scared of playing for Barcelona.


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Posted by Gordon Masson on October 31, 2007 9:40 AM in News
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