Former Arsenal player Ray Parlour is of the opinion that Arsenal should take the Carabao Cup seriously and field a strong team against Nottingham Forest tomorrow evening.
Parlour was speaking about last seasons run to the quarter-finals as well as what Arsenal should do this season.
“I think he mixed the team with experience and youngsters,” Parlour said about last season
“There is no problem with that, it is good to give the youngsters game time and they have some very good youngsters at Arsenal – Reiss Nelson, (Ainsley) Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock and Emile Smith Rowe. It is great to see players like that come into the team.
“But you can also see how important the competition is to teams like Manchester City and it is another trophy to talk about at the end of the season.
“It is a magnificent achievement to win any competition and for Arsenal and Unai Emery, and the rest of the top six, they should be – and probably will be – taking it seriously.
“There are a lot of games and you get injuries through the season so it is a bit about balancing the squad.”
Normally I would agree with that assessment but these are not normal times, the club simply cannot be messing about in meaningless competitions, not when domestic cup trophies take second place to the Champions League.
The consequences of not finishing in the top-four are too great to be wasting energy and risking players in competitions that have a very temporary feel-good factor.
It is fine for Man City to want to win the Carabao Cup, they are more or less guaranteed a top-four spot and have such squad depth that their B team could probably reach the final, Arsenal simply does not have that luxury.
Winning a trophy at Wembley is great but it in no way makes up for failing to qualify for the Champions League and therefore I feel the club should focus first and foremost on the League with the Europa League a close second. After that, if the club puts a good run together in either of the domestic cups using youngsters and fringe players only then fine.
But no way should they be risking any big-name players unless they are using the games to get up to match fitness.