Wenger rues Beast blow

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Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Carling Cup hero Julio Baptista will be absent for Arsenal's semi-final, second leg clash against rivals Tottenham on Wednesday.

The Brazilian international scored both of The Gunners' goals in the 2-2 draw in the first leg at White Hart Lane, as well as bagging four in the scintillating 6-3 destruction of Liverpool in the previous round.

However a groin injury picked up in Sunday's FA Cup game with Bolton has ruled him out of the second game against Spurs, as well as Saturday's league clash with Middlesbrough.

Wenger will welcome back Baptista's compatriot Gilberto for the derby clash though, after the midfielder completed a three-match ban for kicking out at Blackburn's Robbie Savage.

The Gunners vice-captain will be the most experienced player on display as Wenger has again pledged to keep faith with the youngsters that have served him so well in the competition.

"It will be a young side and an experienced bench," Wenger told the club's official website. "So it will be pretty similar to what happened at White Hart Lane.

"Julio Baptista will be absent for this game. It is a big regret for me because he has led the team recently with a huge spirit.

"His mental strength was obvious in the game at Tottenham because he scored an own goal then he put two in the net at the other end. That is always the best answer you can give.

"I think he will miss the Tottenham game and the Middlesbrough game. But I hope he will be back after that. Gilberto is available again and will play."

Gunners defender Kolo Toure believes defending may hold the key to the result of Wednesday's clash which will determine who earns the right to play Chelsea in the final.

"Defending is going to be massive again," said the Ivorian international.

"At 2-2 they are still a really dangerous team and we will need to play like we did in the second half of the (first) match.

"As always, we will go out to enjoy our football and try to win the game."