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Arsene Wenger says kids can't cut it in cups anymore

Olivier Giroud and Ismael Bennacer
Image: Ismael Bennacer was one of several young players used as Arsenal lost to Sheffield Wednesday in the league Cup

Arsene Wenger believes the days of successfully using "kids" in cup competitions are dead and buried.

Wenger has used the domestic cups to blood young Arsenal players throughout his 19 years in England, and a side with an average age of less than 21 came close to lifting the the 2007 League Cup before defeat to Chelsea in the final.

But an inexperienced line-up was soundly beaten at Sheffield Wednesday in this season's tournament, and Wenger will select a stronger side when Burnley visit London in the FA Cup on Saturday.

"I will play quite an experienced team," said Wenger, who is without a win in three games in the wake of last week's defeat to Chelsea.

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"First of all, we lost last Sunday and it is important not to drop our confidence level too much. Secondly, we want to do well in the FA Cup and you don't want to miss an opportunity when you play at home against a Championship team.

"You don't win with kids any more unfortunately, even against the Championship teams. We went to Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup and got quite a severe defeat so we have to show we have learned from that."

Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny was named on the bench at Stoke
Image: Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny is in contention for a debut against Burnley

Mohamed Elneny is in contention for a debut, and Wenger has revealed Arsenal were the only side in for the Egypt midfielder before his arrival from Basel.

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"He was basically not on the radar and not too many people spoke of him," Wenger said. "We looked at the specific position of the players who have this kind of qualities, we identified him of having the potential to do it and I think we were right, but now he has to show that."

Wenger has also confirmed he is set to sign Nigerians Kelechi Nwakali, 17, and Samuel Chukwueze, 16.

"Talks are progressing well and it should be done this month, " he said.

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