From Vela to Van Persie, Sunu to Cesc: Arsene Wenger's League Cup debutants

From Van Persie to Vela; Spicer to Sunu ("who?!" you cry), the League Cup has long been Arsene Wenger's fine-tuning laboratory for blooding Arsenal's prodigous stars of tomorrow. 

There's been mixed success, of course, but who can doubt the usefulness of English football's third-favourite competition to the Gunners' fastidious Frenchman? 

So here's a glance at some of the fresh-faced youngsters to have made their names in the red and white on frosty Tuesday nights...

Sheff Utd 0-3 Arsenal: 31 Oct, 2007

Eduardo at the double and Denilson on song as Gunners sail to a comfortable victory at Bramall Lane.

Kieran Gibbs: The converted left winger has done good at Arsenal. Played twice in the season's cup campaign before joining Norwich on loan for a short spell at Carrow Road. A mixture of injuries, Gael Clichy and Armand Traore hampered his progress at the Emirates Stadium, but now the England man is a firm first choice for Wenger. 

Henri Lansbury: The former England U21 man will always regret never really making it at Arsenal (but he did alright, even with that hair). The talent was certainly there for the creative young midfielder, but a regular stream of imported talent eventually left Lansbury in the cold at the Emirates. Played eight times for the Gunners over five seasons, wedged in between loan spells with Scunthorpe, Watford, Norwich and West Ham. But with first-team opportunities clearly limited for good he joined Nottingham Forest for around £1 million this summer. 

Nacer Barazite: Born in Arnheim to a Dutch mother and Moroccan father, Barazite started his career as a youth player with NEC Nijmegen. Joining Arsenal in 2006, he made his debut at Bramall Lane after replacing Eduardo. He played in the next round against Blackburn at Ewood Park but dislocated his shoulder after 17 minutes and never played for Arsenal again. After loan spells at Derby and hometown team Vitesse, he signed for Austria Wien. In 2011 he top scored in the Europa League with eight goals, attracting the attention of moneybags Monaco, for whom he signed in a £4.5 million deal. His time in the principality proved to be a disappointment, though, as he failed to establish himself in the team amid a string of expensive signings. Loaned out to former club Austria Wien in 2012/2013 before returning to Monaco. Currently recuperating after a serious knee injury this summer.


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