Carling Cup treated in higher regard by Arsenal as they see off Spurs

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Signs suggest that Arsenal may take the Carling Cup more seriously this season given the strength of the starting line-up that was put out by Arsene Wenger to see off north London rivals Tottenham in the third round of the competition.

Wenger has tended to use the tournament to shuffle his pack in recent seasons and play a hatful of his potential stars of the future instead of his regular starters.

However, with Arsenal not having lifted any silverware since doing the Premier League and FA Cup double in 2005, Wenger may have decided that a change in approach was necessary.

Samir Nasri, Tomas Rosicky, Laurent Koscielny and Jack Wilshere all started at Tottenham, despite being regular starters this season, while fringe players Emmanuel Eboue and Denilson were recalled.

Henri Lansbury, Kieran Gibbs and Carlos Vela were the only players who many would have expected to start who did, while Johan Djourou was given the game to boost his fitness after a long spell on the sidelines injured.

Lansbury gave something for Wenger to cheer about from his spot in the stands as he scored on his debut, while Samir Nasri finished two penalties in extra time and Andrei Arshavin added another in the comprehensive 4-1 triumph.

The win has caused Arsenal to significantly shorten to 9/2 to win the Carling Cup.

Some cynics may note that Wenger may have selected a more formidable line-up just to get one over on the club’s chief rivals, particularly after Tottenham dumped Arsenal out of the Carling Cup in the 2008 semi-finals with a 5-1 win at White Hart Lane.

Despite the Carling Cup being a fourth priority for Arsenal for the last decade, they have still made at least the quarter finals in all of the last seven seasons and will be one of the teams that others will want to avoid in round four.

Chelsea remain the favourites to win the Carling Cup despite still needing to play their third round game. See the whole Carling Cup betting market.

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