By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believes his youngsters will do the Champions League proud on Wednesday night.

The Arsenal manager has selected ten teenagers in his squad of 18 for the Group H encounter with Olympiacos but he insists he is not disrespecting the competition by fielding a 'shadow' side in Athens.

The young Gunners are no strangers to top-level football having seen off West Brom and Liverpool in the Carling Cup this season. Wenger accepts there is a fine line between resting players and respecting the integrity of the Champions League but he is confident that the likes of Jack Wilshere, Craig Eastmond and Fran Merida can help his gamble pay off.

"I believe we will be judged on the result," said Wenger. "Do we respect the competition or not will be decided by the quality of our game and the result. That is a gamble I take because I believe these players will do well.
"I believe that we want to get through the group unbeaten. We want to win always. When you represent Arsenal Football Club there is only one way to do that and that is to win every game you play. I'm convinced that we will be tested defensively because that's where we have to show that away from home with a young team we can be tested. But I am convinced as well that going forward we can create a lot.
"It is a risk [to play a young side] because you know if you don't win the game you will be criticised but I trust these players to do well. They have a lot of experience already of the big games and it will be another experience for them to show how good they are.

"It will give them a little belief and confidence and we will see some players we have never seen at that level and that is as well for me a good opportunity to judge how good these players are."

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8 Dec 2009