I have written for years that Arsenal are not good enough to not be taking the cups seriously.
Never has that applied more than this season where we have zero European competition for the first time in 25 years.
Because of that we start in the 2nd round of the Carabao Cup for the first time in a quarter of a century.
Anyone who still wants to argue that we haven’t gone backwards since Mr Wenger left should think about that for a moment.
Being out of the League Cup before the rest of the ‘big 6’ even enter would be further evidence of our decline.
In the short-term Mikel Arteta might think it’s worth playing a strong team at West Brom for the sake of getting a much-needed win.
The negativity of a third straight loss and what that does to our confidence, means it’s not worth the risk of playing a weak side at the Hawthorns.
Resting players for the weekend seems pointless when the opponents are Man City in a Premier League where we have nothing to play for.
Long term the cups are our most realistic hope of any happiness in this campaign.
It’s also our most realistic route back into Europe.
For a section of our fan base who used to complain about ‘only’ finishing in the top 4, it might hurt to accept that you can no longer be sure of Arsenal even finishing in the top 7 of the Premiership.
Part of finding a solution is admitting you have a problem, and it achieves nothing not admitting our standings based on ego.
The truth is winning the Europa League was more likely than they were of finishing in the top 4. Many were embarrassed the Gunners had fallen to that level but now it’s worse.
You wouldn’t trust this squad to make the top 6 which guarantees a spot in the Europa.
It’s more realistic we put a run together in one of the Cups.
The prize for lifting the Carabao Cup is a place in the UEFA Conference, a tournament many gooners put their noses up to.
Many felt that we were above the third tier of UEFA’s pyramid but only based on name, not backed up by any evidence on the pitch.
Being in the Conference at least would have increased our chance of qualifying for the Europa.
Supporters who argued that being out of Europe might allow us to focus every week on the League were arrogant.
Focusing on the League only matters if you have anything in the League to play for.
We might have to accept that winning the Conference is our most likely route to the Europa – which is then our most likely path to the Champions League.
That’s a long way back, but we do ourselves zero favours pretending it’s not our reality.
This is the worst Arsenal team in over two decades. We are not getting close to the top 4 so therefore the League is irrelevant.
In a strange way Wednesday night is bigger than Saturday because it is the cups we can compete for, in the League we can’t.
I want Arteta to succeed but to go out of the Carabao Cup because your resting talent would be a sackable offence.
Be kind in the comments