Arsenal moved into the quarter finals of the EFL cup on Tuesday, but are they serious about trying to win it?
The Gunners beat Reading 2-0 this week to seal a place in the last eight, and following last night’s draw for the following round, we will now get to face Southampton for a place in the semi-final of the tournament.
This remains a competition that Arsene Wenger has yet to win in his 20 years as boss, and has only made the final on two occasions, losing to Chelsea and Birmingham City respectively.
The midweek starting XI included a number of fringe and youth prospects, with the Gunners boss regularly using the League Cup as a platform to give his less experienced players a bridge between the development sides.
Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Emilio Martinez and Ashley Maitland-Niles all started on Tuesday evening, while Gedion Zelalem and Chris Willock also featured, and there is no telling how much involvement the developing players will play in the next match with the Saints.
Bookmakers make us the second-favourites to win the competition, with Liverpool in as favourite due to their favourable home draw with Leeds in the next round, but will we take it serious enough to warrant our place in the betting?
The last time we made the final of the competition, we lost 2-1 in a painful encounter to Birmingham City, although we can have little complaints about the team fielded on that occasion, with even our first-choice goalkeeper at the time featuring.
Wenger’s only other final was not so strong however, as the Frenchman fielded a number of inexperienced players against Chelsea in 2007, including Jeremy Aliadiere, Justin Hoyte and Denilson, against a full strength Blues side.
With our side currently on course to qualify from our Champions League group, as well as being joint-top of the Premier League, there is no telling just how much Wenger will be willing to invest in the competition which he has regularly overlooked previously.
Will Wenger take the competition seriously when they inevitably encounter a strong side, or will he continue to play the kids throughout the competition despite the opposition?