Even Arsenal's most optimistic fans might have been bracing themselves for defeat on Tuesday night - but Arsène Wenger wasn't.

The young Gunners, with an average age of 20, squandered a two-goal lead against Blackburn and looked to be heading for the Carling Cup exit after losing Denilson to a red card and Nacer Barazite to a dislocated shoulder.

Instead, Arsenal dug deeper than ever to snatch a thrilling 3-2 victory in extra time, courtesy of Eduardo's clinical finish. A third successive Semi-Final awaits them in the New Year.

So was Wenger surprised by his team's incredible show of character? Not at all. "I believe very strongly in this team and I am not surprised," said the Frenchman afterwards.

"I am very happy because today it was more the physical and the mental test during a big part of the game and they stood up to it. After we were down to 10 men it was a mental test and we found the resources to score the goal and win the tie.

"Now we want to finish the job. We got a taste of the Final last year and now we are in the Semi-Final again so that shows that it was not a coincidence last year.

"We will have two big games now and it will cost a lot of energy. We will see who we get. Last year we got Tottenham and it won't be a surprise if we get them again."

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
19 Dec 2007