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First team stars rested as Arsenal visit Reading in League Cup

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Arsenal have not yet emerged as serious title contenders this season as they sit 7 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea. As a result, Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has opted to rest his top stars in the mid-week visit to Reading for the Capital One Cup as Arsenal prepare to face Manchester United at Old Trafford in the coming weekend.

Wenger had earlier admitted that the Premier League was a greater priority for the Frenchman that the Capital One Cup and as a result, several young stars and fringe players will take the field when they face the Royals on Tuesday night.

Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski, Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla have been left out of the 18-man squad that left for Reading. Jack Wilshere was also unsurprisingly left out after the midfielder after he made his first Premier League appearance last weekend against QPR after a 15 month absence due to injury.

Vito Mannone has also been rested as youth keepers James Shea and Damian Martinez were named in the squad. Andrey Arshavin, Theo Walcott, Marouane Chamakh and Olivier Giroud feature among a host of youngsters as Wenger attempts to give his fringe players some first-team action. The Gunners boss has prudently saved his best stars for the crucial clash against Man United, which will certainly help the Gunners cut the deficit between them and second-placed United.

Full Arsenal squad: James Shea, Damian Martinez, Hector Bellerin, Carl Jenkinson, Ignasi Miquel, Nico Yennaris, Laurent Koscielny, Sebastien Squillaci, Johan Djourou, Francis Coquelin, Jernade Meade, Serge Gnabry, Andrey Arshavin, Emmanuel Frimpong, Thomas Eisfeld, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Marouane Chamakh.