Should Arsenal take the League Cup more seriously?
In recent seasons, Arsenal have reached no better than the quarter-finals, and their last final appearance came in 2011. I’m sure we all know what happened there.
But what I want to find out is, why don’t Arsenal take the league cup more seriously, despite the pedigree of teams to have won the tournament in recent seasons?
Well, there are a few points as to why Arsenal don’t take the tournament seriously such as:
- Fixture congestion- This comes in to play as in English football these days, it is almost impossible to compete on four fronts (don’t even bring up the Arsenal Ladies side of 2006-07).
- Funds- it is said that Arsenal generate more money for qualifying from group in the Champions League than winning the League Cup.
From these two points, you could make a case as to why Arsenal should “disregard” the tournament which Arsene Wenger said back in 2010 that winning the tournament wouldn’t end the trophy drought. (We’ve since won back-to-back FA Cups).
Here’s my take. Winning the League Cup should be used as a springboard to achieve more success for the rest of the season. Take Chelsea’s double winning seasons (you can pick from 2004-05, 2006-07, or 2014-15). Following winning the League Cup, they went and won another trophy with it.
This brings me nicely onto a conversation I had with Talksport’s Ian Danter back in September.
Suddenly, Man Utd's trip to Northampton in midweek takes on a little extra significance. It's LIVE on @talkSPORT Weds night
— Ian Danter (@talkdants) September 18, 2016
From here, I was alluding that unless another trophy (take your pick from the FA Cup, Premier League, or Champions League) is won with the League Cup, then winning it isn’t really anything “to shout about”. It is a trophy at the end of the day, don’t get me wrong, but it is not that prestigious, is it?
Now, back to the main question. Should Arsenal take the League Cup more seriously? It’s a tournament Arsenal haven’t won since 1993, and haven’t made the final since 2011 (apologies for mentioning again). I have a theory that taking the tournament lightly could be one of the reasons why we haven’t seen Arsenal qualify beyond the last 16 of the Champions League. I think that if Arsenal took the League Cup a little more seriously (by that, I mean not necessarily winning the tournament, although that would help, but fielding a more experienced side rather than fielding a mix of regular starters, and youth players). I think that by progressing in the smaller tournaments, that’ll help Arsenal in the long run to achieve in the bigger tournaments. (That comes as a no-brainer).
What sort of affect would winning the League Cup have on Arsenal? Going by the positivity of this article, I reckon that winning the tournament can only be a good thing as that would elevate Arsenal for the rest of the season, though I know how reluctant Arsene Wenger is to field a more experienced side as he prefers to field a youthful line-up which is something I can understand as he doesn’t want to risk injuries to some of the main starters.
Next, have a look at the pedigree of sides that have won the tournament in recent seasons.
- Manchester City – 2014 (They also went on to win the league)
- Chelsea – 2015 (Like Manchester City in the previous season, they also went on to win the league
- Manchester City – 2016
- Manchester United – 2017 (They could also win the Europa League to go with the League Cup)
- If that lists does not say why Arsenal should not take the League Cup more seriously, then I do not know what does.To conclude, as I said earlier, progression in smaller tournaments would help massively in bigger tournaments as Arsenal start to gain a winning mentality rather than a “taking part” mentality. I know the League Cup is not the biggest, but it is not a school sports-day where you get an “I took part” sticker despite you not winning a single event.
So, what do you think? Would winning smaller tournaments help Arsenal progress in the bigger tournaments?