It’s time for yet another trip down memory lane, and in this instance, we’re going seven years into the past in order to have a look at a game that some may think isn’t all that important. The encounter was a League Cup tie against Shrewsbury Town, and as you can imagine, a lot of fans didn’t really care about the game at the time. Alas, when Shrewsbury took the lead at the Emirates in the first half, people began to sit up and take notice.
James Collins was the man who provided the visitors with the surprise goal, sending their travelling faithful crazy in the process. They also hit the post as the lower leaguers continued to threaten the Premier League giants, to the point where many fans were booing them off the pitch at the interval. Of course, the calls for ‘Wenger Out’ hadn’t exactly reached fever pitch by this point, but the rumblings of his demise had certainly begun in pockets.
It didn’t take too long for them to draw level before eventually taking the lead, somewhat easing to victory in the process – depending on who you talk to. Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yossi Benayoun (there’s a blast from the past) were the three men who did the damage, but if you ask anyone who was there that night or watching at home, the Gunners didn’t really ‘win’ in any respect.
They survived, and that feels like the most accurate way of describing it. As we look back, seven years on, it’s certainly interesting to consider what has and hasn’t changed about the process of playing smaller clubs in competitions like the League Cup. It’s still viewed as a fringe competition and we aren’t sure that’s going to change anytime soon, although we hope that people start to take it a little bit more seriously. Why? Because if it’s going to stick around, why would we want teams to just throw it to the side and not view it as something that’s important?
It still serves as a passage into European competition for those teams who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance, and as we all know, momentum is an important thing. So while Arsenal may not think it’s ‘vital’ to do well in the League Cup, perhaps viewpoints will change once they reach the semi final stage and Emery is just a few games away from his first trophy at the club.
Should Arsenal prioritise the League Cup?