Welcome to Talking Heads.

Before and after every first-team fixture, our MatchDay Show guest and an Arsenal blogger will have their say on the game.

Arsenal took on Reading in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday and our Talking Heads for this game were former Gunner Martin Hayes and Andrew Mangan of Arseblog.

Arsenal TV Online commentator - Martin Hayes

The Arsenal team will be completely different to the one at the weekend. A lot could depend on how Reading approach the game and what kind of personnel they field. You wonder whether tonight is more about getting match practice.

It’s a great chance for them. If some of them can impress on the big stage against other Premier League sides, it might give the manager something to think about with regard to involving them in the first team. Sometimes, someone young and with enthusiasm can generate a spark throughout the Club.

I like the look of Serge Gnabry. He’s positive when he gets on the ball and has real pace and energy. These are crucial attributes to have as an attacking player because they push sides back and cause problems. He has two good feet and real potential.

Reading haven’t been winning but they’ve still been scoring goals, and when they have lost, it’s generally only been by small margins. I’m sure they will be looking forward to the game. There’s no real pressure on them, so I’m sure Brian McDermott will tell them to go out and enjoy themselves.

I think Arsenal will sneak it in extra time. Hopefully it will be a good cup game that’s level after 90 minutes, and Arsenal can nick it in the extra period.

Blog - Arseblog

I'm not sure there are words that can do that justice. Arsenal were dreadful in the first half, there's no sugar-coating it whatsoever. At 4-0 down it looked done and dusted but what can you say about that comeback? If there was a lack of heart which saw us go so far behind, we obviously made like the Tin Man, looked within ourselves and found some for the second period. To equalise so late into injury time was extraordinary and Reading must have felt like the wind was knocked right out of their sails. Going ahead, letting them back in it, and then scoring two more to make it 7-5, well, it's Playstation stuff really.

You have to give huge credit to the away fans who stuck behind the team and showed that support like that can make a difference. We go into the next round but Arsène Wenger must look at his team's involvement in these 'freak' games and wonder if it's happening a bit too often. Character, spirit, mental strength - we didn't have them, then we found them, and that little bit of extra quality we had made the difference. From a 1-0 to a 5-7, you just never know what this Arsenal side are going to dish up next, and with Old Trafford on the menu this Saturday it's unlikely to be dull.

At a time when the season is gathering steam, the Capital One Cup provides a bit of relief from a fan's point of view. Of course victory is desired but it doesn't come with the same pressure as the other competitions. Not least because it provides us the chance to see some of the younger generation, one or two of whom we hope will become stars of the future.

While there are 'senior' players who need match practice - I'm thinking of Koscielny, Djourou, Coquelin, Frimpong, Arshavin and even Theo Walcott - this competition has always been about those bubbling under. It's just fun to watch these youngsters given a chance. It's not quite sink or swim but it allows the manager to see them in first-team action and judge their suitability/readiness for promotion. We've had some great nights in this competition and there are some exciting young players who'll get a chance this time around. I'm looking forward to seeing the German duo of Serge Gnabry and Thomas Eisfeld in particular, and hopefully our good record in the early stages of the League Cup will continue.

* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source
31 Oct 2012