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Jon Riley 26th Oct 2010 - 10:06

Nasri has found his Carling in life

If Arsenal's lack of success in recent seasons is considered a drought, then Newcastle's wait for a major trophy should have its own charity appeal and Bono fronting the campaign.

Indeed if the Gunners fail to add to add to the vast trophy collection at the Emirates this season it will be a sixth successive campaign without silverware for Arsene Wenger's Gunners. However, 279 miles north of the Emirates lies St James Park. The Geordie faithful have not welcomed a triumphant Magpies side back to the north-east bearing silverware since Joe Harvey led his team to Fairs Cup success in 1969.

Surprisingly, it is Arsenal that have taken this competition the more seriously this season fielding a very strong side in their previous game against arch-rivals Spurs. Wenger ventured away from his methods of using the League Cup as a playground for his supremely talented youngsters and deployed several of his big hitters at White Hart Lane, culminating in an extra time victory with goals by the in-form Samir Nasri and ever dangerous Andrei Arshavin.

Newcastle boss Chris Hughton is set to rest a number of his first team players ahead of Sunday's huge Tyne-Wear derby against Sunderland. The likes of Tamas Kadar, Shane Ferguson and Haris Vuckic are set to start but Sol Campbell could miss out on a reunion with his former team mates due to a thigh injury. The home tie against Arsenal is just reward for a Toon side that defeated reigning Premier League champions Chelsea in the previous round. Shola Ameobi's late winner decided the match and sent the travelling Geordies into raptures, richly deserved after a terrific performance in West London.

Arsenal are well fancied to win on Tyneside and can be backed at 10/11 to win in 90 minutes and 8/15 to qualify overall. The emphasis that has been placed on the North-East derby at the weekend means that this game has been overlooked by many in the Newcastle camp and unsurprisingly they are priced at 11/4 in the 90 minutes market and 11/8 to qualify.

Newcastle's hero against Chelsea, Shola Ameobi, is 8/1 to open the scoring and add to his three Carling Cup goals this season. If he can recreate his winning goal versus the Arsenal backline and score the final goal he might be worth backing at 8s again.

Newcastle's leading scorers in the league this season, Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan, can be backed at 2/1 and 11/4 to score anytime, obviously depending on team selection.

Arsenal have possibly the most in-form player in the country at their disposal in Samir Nasri. The Frenchman has started the season in fine style, scoring seven goals in all competitions thus far. The mercurial forward is priced at 15/2 to score the opener at St James and add to his two League Cup goals against Tottenham.

Andrei Arshavin (7/1) could break the deadlock if he is used by Wenger while Carlos Vela has a knack of scoring beautifully crafted goals in this competition. The skilful Mexican is priced at 5/1 to strike first.

After writing this piece and looking at the likely line-ups for this game I can only side with the visiting Gunners. My prediction for this Carling Cup fourth round clash is for a double result of Arsenal/Arsenal which is 21/10.



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