Oh the sweet uses of adversity, as Shakespeare once wrote. No CL football means that Wenger can play about two different squads throughout most of the season, and this, my fine fellow Gooners, is great, great news.
We have a lot of good players in the squad and a number of youngsters who could make it into the first team. In previous seasons, these sorts of players would simply not get enough chances to play regularly enough to get to PL/CL quality levels. The experienced fringe players need regular, meaningful games to stay fit, focussed and enthusiastic, and for the young players it is absolutely vital that they can play regularly in competitive games in the red and white shirt.
The combination of midweek games in the UEFA League and League Cup mean that both sets of players now get plenty of opportunities to play meaningful, competitive football. Would we be playing in the CL, this simply would not be the case. Instead, our first team players would have to be played twice a week with all the risks of injuries, fatigue etc. Currently, only Mustafi and Welbeck are not (yet) available (and sadly Santi of course); the rest is fit, rested and keen.
So it is great news that Arsenal play at home against the Spuds-mashing Hammers in the next round of the League Cup. It will be a big battle and another great opportunity for the youngsters to get real-game experience. This will allow them to grow further and test themselves against PL opposition. West Ham will be up for this and the atmosphere in our stadium, the home of football, will be great. The experienced fringe-players will also enjoy playing in this one. And if we were to go through, Arsenal’s ‘second’ team will get a double bill in January – home and away. The more games for them the better!
It also looks like we will survive in the UEFA-Cup, which means more great tests for our youngsters. At the end of the season, Arsene can judge much better who is ready to be added to the first team squad and who should go on loan, sold etc. There is every chance that at least one, if not more, of the youngsters will be ready to join the first team come July next year.
There is an argument that Wenger will be tempted to play (lots of) first team players at some stage in both competitions and this could be detrimental to our PL campaign. I reckon that will not be the case, other than the odd player who needs another game to get fully fit or put into practice a certain tactical adjustment in their play. Wenger may involve more of the first team squad if Arsenal were to get to the quarter or semi-finals of the UEFA Cup, but surely that would be worth it then.
In a nutshell, I can see only advantages in us still playing, and continuing to play, in the League Cup and UEFA Cup: the first team players get plenty of rest, the experienced fringe players get plenty of meaningful practice and game-time, and the youngsters are provided with a proper platform to gain much needed real-game experience and show us what they are capable of. WIN WIN WIN!
21 thoughts on “Why it is Great News Arsenal Drew the Spuds-mashing Hammers in the League Cup”
The only takeaway is that we cannot be so static against the Hammers. The second team lads are pumped up and ready for the next European game and it is just that fear of a burnout that made us feel that the League Cup is expendable.
Even without the League Cup the number of European games is 15, and not including the number of FA cup matches. If the second team plays in FA cup matches then the number will be about 5 or 6 more, then it is just a little less compared to 38 games we play in the league per season. If we factor in injuries, the number of games one will play (be it in the first team or second team) will go up.
So, not much less without the league cup.
As a Happy Hammer, I loved your headline 👍
You have to laugh at the Spuds but they did manage to keep putting the pressure on up to the final whistle but yet again they won nothing.
Should be a great game at your place.
Thanks for commenting on the site, Alan. Yes looking fwd to the game, and don’t we love mashing those tiny Spuddies?!
84, the FA Cup games will be for the First team players. We are the holders and love winning the Forever Arsene’s cup…
Of the many who visit/post here– my time as an Arsenal fan is relatively brief (began watching replays during the 2004-05 campaign). That said, I can’t recall having been as pumped about the League Cup matches– as with this run of games (They had always seemed to be more of a chore or a distraction– in the way of the bigger prizes).
I’m excited to see the quality of the younger players– in the mix with 1st-teamers– in an environ that can make a difference in their development (Consistently getting competitive minutes with 100+ goalscorers in Giroud/Walcott– and direction from the BFG is no small thing.).
In past years– I’d get snippets of second-hand info occasionally. Now (and crediting access to streaming video feeds here stateside)– I’m actually getting to watch the team play nearly every match.
IMO, the team is being reshaped on-the-fly. This squad quality is miles ahead of those Wenger assembled between 2009-2013. With much stronger attacking options– though less quality/depth in midfield. There are times when it’s apparent (vs Chelsea, Everton). Just bringing that effort consistently is required.
Wenger’s formula could work. I can see the possibilities.
Could take another year to gel.
(I’m a patient guy.)
Where cynics and critics of the club?
Refusing logic of just one champion in any competition/league each season?
Discounting successes as inadequate?
I’m proud of the efforts these past four seasons.
Of silverware claimed.
Of achieving successes.
Of representing with pride.
(Proud Gooner; come what may.)
Lovely comment, JW, and you are right of course.
Good post T, it’s just what we had been chatting about yesterday. I’m not against staying in the competition, as long as its still youngsters being used.
I hope you’re wrong about playing 1st teamers in the FA cup. That, I’m against. The still do replays? That is so annoying. I know i and we are spoiled by winning them lately, but at this point, it makes for one fun day. The lustre wears off quickly. It’s definitely below Europa too. Which could bring champions league next year.
So, kids for the FA cup please. Save the best to fight our way back to top 4.
And i forgot to say that it’s been pretty fun watching the kids play, and they are holding their own in both competitions so far. In past years, I didn’t quite enjoy that aspect so much in league cup, because I was always worrying about fatigue and injuries to our regulars, who were always mixed in the starting line up.. This time, Wilshere is my only concern in that regard. You can see from my comments during Norwich calling to sub him, hehe.
Why do they continue to have these AGM meetings? Seems to me that nothing good ever comes out of them. Every year there is some controversy that reflects badly on the club or supporters. In the media, you see nothing but dissent, unhappiness. And part of me thinks that Stan, who isn’t putting much into the club, is only going to see our club as an annoyance, and be even less inclined to help after being treated disrespectfully.
Plus it really is a farce, since the board does whatever they want anyway.
BAJ, the FA Cup IS a big price buddie and the Gunners are the nation’s strongest Cup fighters. Fact!! Of course we will play our first team players, especially against tough opposition.
It is the difference between passionate and financial involvement, and the discrepancy in intellectual power, BAJ.
With the Europa league, League cup and (early stages of) the FA cup, our kids, fringe and returning players will be kept busy and that’s always a good thing. Take Debuchy, for instance. It took two displays in the EL and league cup games for fans to accept he is good competition for Bellerin, who’s had no one pushing him, for too long. There are certain games in which I would rather prefer him, frankly; and I am guessing he is the reason for a recent improvement in Bellerin’s form. That can only bode well for the club.
Our players looked fresher vs Everton, even after a midweek fixture in Europe. That’s a luxury we have hardly experienced except on the rare occasions we play a dead rubber game in the last stages of CL group games, if we’ve already gained qualification into the next rounds. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.
To the matter of the bad press from the recent AGM, I feel the club was always in a Lose-lose situation with the contract extension granted Wenger (when some entitled fans felt different, even where they have no proof that a new manager will bring more success, necessarily) and the failure to spend big in the summer, on some big name player; when you add the Alexis-Ozil-Ox contract saga, it is clear the shareholders were spoiling for a fight and maybe, the owners and management needed to be better prepared for the questions. The right approach would have been a pacifist mode, with an acceptance we can do better, etc….
Having said that, the media bias flowed through in some of the headlines which portrayed something of a doomsday AGM whereas, Wenger and Gazidis were reported to have handled their own beats well enough to leave with some credit. So, why the majority of reportage dwelt on the Chairman’s perceived arrogance is rather inexplicable (or Stan’s silence) except to assume the press prefer the bad side of the news. Fancy attempting to vote out the owner’s picks for Chairman and Director. Where does that even succeed when block votes are still in play? How many of us who have majority shares in a business will allow other stakeholders dictate such key changes, unless it was deemed favourable to our vision, as well? What most fail to realize is that it is within the owner’s rights to host the AGM in say, Los Angeles, if it cannot be conducted with expected decorum in London. I recall the Glazers have held Manchester United’s AGMs in Washington and Philadelphia in the past, when the gold and green gang were in full voice.
I am not saying the fans shouldn’t have a voice, but actions taken need to have perspective. The bottom line is for the club to strive to win the league and maybe, then, the angst will be for us to “have ambition to win” the champions league and after that….there will always be a new hurdle. The club just can’t win!
Nice post Total.
Young players often need a bit of luck to progress, whether it be a particular vacancy in the squad/team just as they mature, for example Andy Cole, who in many other eras would have had a long Arsenal career, but he came to the fore at Arsenal when Ian Wright, Alan Smith and Kevin Campbell were in their pomp, so he was released and the rest is history.
Then there’s Hector Bellerin, who came through thanks to a vacancy caused by injury.
And the other lucky situation as you mentioned, is being out of the Champions League, a competition that we don’t look capable of winning in the foreseeable future and one that may have hampered the development of a few of our youngsters in the recent past.
It’s almost karma, just as our best crop of youngsters to progress to the cusp of our senior squad in years, we find ourselves out of the CL and the youngsters have an opportunity not afforded to their predecessors these past 20 years, the gift of the UEFA Cup and the game time they need to fully develop. We, as a club, will only realise how beneficial this has been in the forthcoming seasons when 4 or 5 of these youngsters, hopefully, become regular performers in the senior team.
Jonnie, I reckon that Arsene should and probably will choose his teams/squads for the UEFA/League/FACups on a case by case basis and not least influenced by the EPL games and opponents who fall between those cup ties.
There’s the prospect of some tasty cup games on the other side of the new year and I’d hate to get mullered in any them because Arsene puts out too weak a team.
It’s going to be a careful balancing act for Wenger to negotiate, but that’s his job.
Hi TA.. nice post..
But still I think it’s a bit too early to talk about Carabao Cup.. Still long way to go..
We will face a lot of hard games before December 19th.. City, Spurs, MU are the big team that we must get rid off.. hehehehe..
And we will never know what will happened to the players..
So better to talk about Swansea’s game.. tonight.. Will Nketiah get another time to shine..?? Will he start or who will be replaced..??
Ko Henry, ALO will start. Nketiah’s chance will be in the second team, so only in the midweek matches.
Swans are strong, so I expect a tougher game tonight.
HeheheHenry, I don’t think you got the gist of the post…. But Kev did when he wrote: “It’s almost karma, just as our best crop of youngsters to progress to the cusp of our senior squad in years, we find ourselves out of the CL and the youngsters have an opportunity not afforded to their predecessors these past 20 years, the gift of the UEFA Cup and the game time they need to fully develop. We, as a club, will only realise how beneficial this has been in the forthcoming seasons when 4 or 5 of these youngsters, hopefully, become regular performers in the senior team.”
Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Ntekiah, Willock, are all the strongest candidates to develop into regular 1st players Total, thanks to the UEFA Cup.
I kinda wish we’d kept Stephy Mavididi as he seems to wasting his time on loan at Preston. I suspect that he might have had a bit of exposure in the League Cup.
Charlie Gilmore is highly rated and hopefully will get a run out this season.
Macey and Sheaf have a lot of potential, Reine-Adelaide has missed out so far but is also highly thought of.
McGuane has issues over his contract and we may lose him this summer, he is another who is highly thought of, both Man Utd and Juventus are sniffing around, or tapping up…
There’s even more talent coming up from our U16’s, some of them have already played in the U18’s as the youth team resources get stretched.
It’s been a long time since we had such a strong group of youngsters coming through, you probably have to go back to the late 1980’s to see a comparable set of talents emerging.
Nice overview, Kev. I am also hoping that these games will give Holding the push to the next level. Furthermore, I reckon Wilshere is benefiting sooo much from these games; it may save his career as he is able to gradually get fully fit without too much pressure on him. The one I am a bit concerned about right now is Iwobi. He seems to be stalling this season, which of course is to be expected… as long as he gets out of this again..
New Post 🙂