Tuesday 12 December 2017

Wenger wary of Toon tie

Arsene Wenger has warned Arsenal against taking Newcastle lightly tonight -- or face following Chelsea in crashing out of the Carling Cup.

Magpies boss Chris Hughton has confirmed he will make changes for the fourth-round clash at St James' Park, with one eye on Sunday's Premier League derby against arch-rivals Sunderland.

Wenger, meanwhile, will again opt for a blend of experience and youth as he did at Tottenham in the last round.

However, the Arsenal manager has rejected suggestions his men are already dreaming of Wembley.

"We are not in the final yet, we have a long way to go," Wenger said.

"When you go to Newcastle you have to be realistic. That's why I repeat we play with a good team and we do our best.

"Newcastle are competitive. They have a good mixture between physical power, technical level and spirit.

"That is why they will be a dangerous side for everybody.

"It is important that we go into the game and think we want to qualify, also we want to produce a great performance because the Chelsea game has shown that you don't get away with an average performance against Newcastle."

Wenger used last week's annual general meeting to declare his intentions to give his all in every competition, as momentum continued with a 3-0 win over title rivals Manchester City on Sunday which lifted Arsenal back up into second place and came days after the 5-1 trashing of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

The Carling Cup has been used in previous campaigns as something of a breeding ground for many of Wenger's promising young Gunners.


However, the likes of Theo Walcott, Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela, Kieran Gibbs and Laurent Koscielny are all in contention to face the Magpies, along with emerging talents Craig Eastmond, Henri Lansbury and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.

Wenger maintains whichever XI he sends out must all have the same focused approach as they look towards ending a five-season trophy drought.

"I said to the players 'we will go for everything we can, as simple as that', and not really specify one more than the other one, that is why I believe we are on a good run and we want to keep that going," Wenger said.

"It is important to keep it moving no matter what competition it is, that is what we want to do.

"We are doing well in the Champions League and we have done well so far in the Carling Cup and we are back on track in the championship, so it is just all movement."

Arsenal have not won silverware since the 2005 FA Cup.

Wenger, though, maintained: "I believe we have a squad good enough to go forward with trophies, that's why I think 'ok let's go as far as we can'.

"If needed we can still always choose later, but at the moment it is important for everybody to think we go for everything we can."

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