Arsenal must not play a weak side – A cup is our best chance of a trophy

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

Dan Smith

Tags Carabao Cup WBA West Brom


  1. Desperate times for Arsenal and how the mighty have fallen. I have said for years that I just identify with the squad that Arsenal have and the football they play. It has made me realise that having to do better in something like the Carabao Cup is a massive wake up call!

    Not only does MA need to win in a competition that most of us have so under valued for years, but it also means the fans might very well embrace it as something more tangible and worthy after all. Now we cannot take it for granted. It should not be a competition where “the kids” get to play for experience. It may well just become the proving ground for our senior players too!

    Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

  2. Oops, I meant “I have said for years that I just DON’T identify with the squad that Arsenal have and the football they play.”. Sorry!

  3. Rightly said.
    This is a route back into Europe and we have got to take the chance as making the top 4 is very very unlikely.
    Nice post. Keep it up fam.

  4. There is no European football so we have no reason to play week side.
    It’s going to be mixed, I think both Laccazet and Auba will play , both need game time, AMN , Taveres, Nelson , Saka deserve to play too and flo

  5. We are not in Europe this season, so MA as no reason of playing Weaker team because this is an opportunity for us to get back to Europe; I rest my Case ,finger cross

  6. Just loving the pretzel logic here. City has not had a midweek game since beating Norwich on Sat. So, if we’re playing our strongest 11 tonight, who’s running out against City in 3 days time? Seems more like we’re throwing in the towel on that one…I say sacrifice this cup, to concentrate on climbing the table. What good is a league cup, if we’re relegated ?

  7. ??????

    But we only have a weak side. I guess if everyone was fit and on form including the Manager we would be ok. But we should abandon this 4231 it simply doesn’t work for us. Tierney loves to bomb forward and is also getting confused as to what he is. Is he a left back? Left wing back? Or as he says for Scotland left centre back?

    We need to get as many of our best players on the pitch as possible and preferably in their best position.

    Arteta needs to find the formation that suits us best and roll with it.

    Best players (IMO)
    Ramsdale, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Odegaard, ESR, Saka, Aubameyang,

    Next Best
    Leno, Lokonga, Pepe, Lacazette, Martinelli

    Squad Players
    Okonkwo, Bellerin, Chambers, Holding, Tavares, Xhaka, AMN, Nelson, Balogun

    Not quite good enough
    Runarsson, Cedric, Mari, Kolasinac, Elneny, Torreira, Willian, Nketiah

    I would move the last 8 on and Bellerin as he wants to go. If we needed more cash I would sell lacqzette and Leno, then replace him with onana.

    Unfortunately that is where our squad is at

  8. Still, we might be all serious and play our strongest, might even go to semis and final. But Dan, do you seriously expect us to win against City? Who always reserve this cup as a decoration? If you do, I think it might contradict your own point that this is the worst Arsenal squad in 26 years… I think winning is a tad too tall a task atm. That said by all means we should play our strongest possible XI.

    1. withdraw from the league then and just play cup games

      unless every players worth 100m fans will always think we will always be weakess and not ready

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