Arsenal and boss Arsene Wenger have treated the League Cup as a testing ground for fringe players and youngsters in recent years. The Gunners have suffered for their experimentation with early exits a number of times in recent years.
However, on Wednesday the Gunners made it into the fourth round of the competition with a 1-0 home win over Doncaster. In truth, the Gunners should have put the game to bed in the first half, but in the last 20 minutes, the League One visitors came close to taking the game into extra time.
Not a priority for Arsenal
The League Cup has never really been a priority for England’s top clubs. Most teams see it as a distraction from the Premier League or the Champions League. The fact that Arsenal have won the competition just twice in their history hints at its place on the Gunners priority list.
This season the Gunners priority has to be a return to the top-four in the Premier League and Champions League football for next season. Winning the Europa League would also give the north London side their objective, but it remains to be seen how serious Arsene Wenger is treating that particular competition.
Arsenal cannot sniff at any possibility of a trophy win
Arsenal may have won the FA Cup in three of the last four years, but there is a time when that excellent run will end. There are only so many trophies left for English clubs to win this season. Even at this early stage of the campaign, it seems unlikely that Arsenal will win the league title.
The Gunners would have to improve dramatically to get anywhere near winning the title this season. The FA Cup and Europa League are the two other winnable trophies, but the latter especially involves playing many games, even Wenger rotates his starting eleven.
Still undecided on the League Cup
I have to admit I sit on the fence when it comes to the League Cup. The Gunners are currently odds of 11/2 to win the League Cup this season. Those odds are understandable considering that the majority of last season’s top seven are still in the competition, barring Liverpool of course, who lost at Leicester in the third round.
The League Cup is definitely a good competition for Arsenal to give some players minutes on the pitch. If Arsenal are still in the League Cup at the quarter-final stage then the competition may then be taken more seriously. Until then it probably will not.
Should Arsenal field strong teams in the League Cup?