Arsenal’s 2-1 third round Capital One Cup defeat against Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night is not terrible blow to the Gunners ambitions for the season. The league cup will have been very low on the list of priorities for Arsene Wenger and his team.
Wenger has never rated the league cup very highly and the Frenchman proves that every season by fielding a mixture of youngsters and fringes players in the competition.
The likes of Isaac Hayden, Hector Bellerin and Francis Coquelin were given their chance in defence last night, with regular Calum Chambers completing the inexperienced backline. In truth you cannot say they were awful and all four players will benefit from the experience.
Only Chambers out of the four players that started the Southampton game in defence is likely to see much first action this season, although full-back Bellerin has moved temporarily moved up the defensive pecking order with Mathieu Debuchy set to be out of action for three months through injury.
It was the senior players that let the Gunners down in last night’s game. The likes of experienced international players like Lukas Podolski and Tomas Rosicky just did produce enough to prove that they deserve to be in the Gunners team on a regular basis.
Winger Joel Campbell wasted his opportunity to stake a claim in the first team as well. Fans have been crying out for the Costa Rican international to be given an opportunity and he did not make the most of it.
One positive for Arsenal to take from the game was the return to their midfield of perennially injured central midfielder Abou Diaby. The French international has had many injury setbacks so it was good to see him finally return to the Arsenal first team.
If he can stay fit and that is a big if, he could be a very useful asset to the Gunners this season, despite Arsenal having so many midfielders in their squad.
With the north London derby against Tottenham on Saturday, Wenger was never going to change his feeling towards the league cup and field many of his key players against Southampton. Arsenal is odds of 3/ 4 to defeat their local rivals, but will want all their key players’ fully-fit and injury free for the clash.
I doubt that Arsene Wenger, or a lot of Gunners fans will lose much sleep over their clubs league cup exit, as Arsenal will look to challenge for far more prestigious trophies this season.
Is Arsene Wenger right to field weakened teams in the Capital One Cup?