Arsenal 3, Spurs 1

(aet Arsenal win 5-3 on aggregate) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is preparing to field his youngsters in the Carling Cup final after they helped defeat Tottenham in extra-time at the Emirates Stadium.

(aet Arsenal win 5-3 on aggregate) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is preparing to field his youngsters in the Carling Cup final after they helped defeat Tottenham in extra-time at the Emirates Stadium.

The Frenchman is not planning to recall senior players to the starting XI who have not featured in the competition so far, unless his squad is hit by injury.

It means players such as Thierry Henry could be on the sidelines or the bench for the Cardiff showdown against Chelsea in just over three weeks.

"I will try to find the right mixture of young and experienced players again," said Wenger after his side had beaten Spurs 5-3 on aggregate. "There was not one boring game with this team, from West Brom to tonight. They play with mental strength and resilience, I'm proud of them and they deserve to be in the final."

Two extra-time goals saw Arsenal home after Mido had come off the bench to force another 30 minutes. Emmanuel Adebayor had put Arsenal ahead with 13 minutes left before the Egypt striker headed in.

The Spurs forward then curled just wide but that was the last glimpse of victory the visitors had, with Jeremie Aliadiere taking advantage of a Ricardo Rocha mistake to fire the Gunners back ahead.

Tomas Rosicky helped seal the win when his shot cannoned off the post and in off Pascal Chimbonda.

With some 5,000 Spurs fans making the short trip across north London to Arsenal's impressive new home, the atmosphere inside the Emirates Stadium was electric and while it was the visitors who had created the first chance in the 10th minute - a long ball from Michael Dawson caught the Gunners defence cold appealing for offside - keeper Manuel Almunia was out quickly to close the Republic of Ireland striker down and make an important block before hacking into touch. A goal then would have made a big difference.

But Wenger fielded youngsters Denilson, Theo Walcott and Armand Traore and revealed it took five years of planning for his youngsters to be ready for action - and ready they were.

"It's fantastic to see that at such a young age people can cope with the pressure, they showed great heart," added Wenger. "They say life is too easy for young boys but they showed they are highly motivated, quality players who want to win and are ready to fight.

"It's a sensational feeling to work with them and go through with them. You know they wouldn't give up as they have heart."

Spurs were without Aaron Lennon reportedly through illness and Wenger admitted: "He would have been a threat but (Hossam) Ghaly was a different type."

However, despite the period after Mido levelled the tie, Arsenal looked in control.

"They bombarded us and played long balls after they scored and we were a bit wobbly," admitted Wenger. "But it was all us in extra-time and we didn't feel under threat."

Martin Jol revealed Lennon was ill after dinner on the day of the match, stirring memories of when some of the Spurs side were struck by a mystery illness on the final day of last season when Arsenal pipped them to fourth place in the Premiership. The Dutchman said: "Aaron was in the starting line-up and he felt sick after dinner. He came back later and felt fine but just before kick-off he felt sick again.

"Just before we started he said he could be on the bench." He added: "It can happen - the only thing with Lennon is he is on fire and could have given us a spark."

Mido had been linked with a deadline day move but Jol said: "There was an opportunity for Mido to leave but I want him to stay so that is the end of it."

This was no easy ride for Wenger's young guns against a determined Spurs side - which ultimately lacked the technical ability and resilience to make the most of their chances, having blown a 2-0 lead in last week's first leg.

Arsenal: Almunia, Hoyte, Toure, Senderos, Traore (Clichy 63), Walcott (Rosicky 63), Denilson, Silva, Diaby (Fabregas 79), Aliadiere, Adebayor. Subs (not used): Poom, Flamini.

Booked: Denilson, Diaby.

Goals: Adebayor 77, Aliadiere 105, Chimbonda 113 og.

TOTTENHAM: Robinson, Chimbonda, Gardner (Rocha 73), Dawson, Assou-Ekotto, Ghaly (Huddlestone 80), Jenas, Zokora, Malbranque (Mido 80), Defoe, Keane. Subs (not used): Cerny, Lennon.

Booked: Jenas, Gardner, Ghaly, Zokora, Defoe.

Goal: Mido 85. A

Attendance: 55,872

Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).


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