Why Arsenal should prioritise beating Man City over the Chelsea match

Why Man City Tie Is More Important Than Chelsea Game by Dan Smith

I might be in the minority here, but I would choose beating Man City in the League Cup ahead of winning against Chelsea on Boxing Day. I never understood some peoples disrespect towards the Carabao Cup as it’s a chance to win a trophy.

In the past we would play a weak side even at the quarter final stage and my stance would be, ‘we are not good enough to be putting our nose up to any piece of silverware.’

Now in 15th place in December, we are certainly not good enough to be putting our nose up to any piece of silverware!

On paper, we are currently in a relegation fight, but (without sounding arrogant) we are too good to go down, and at some point will put a sequence of results together. So unless you think we are in danger of relegation, the League campaign is a write off.

Who cares if we finish 13th or 9th – it means the same? It represents failure and not meeting our standards set. It means the cups are our only route to salvation or any happiness from the season.
Even from a business point of view, winning a trophy is now our most likely route to qualifying for Europe.

After the first lockdown, Arsenal made it clear that a lack of European football would impact their transfer policy. The fact we were suddenly happy for the revenue of the Europa League (which is nothing compared to the Champions League) showed how much financially we were hurting due to Covid.
This is the same scenario. Arsenal still don’t know when fans will be allowed back into stadiums.

They will see from the table that we will not be in the top 6, so they need another FA Cup, League Cup or preferably the Europa League.

If we could somehow survive Man City, you could find yourself be just a beating a Brentford or Stoke away from a trip to Wembley.

Of course, with confidence lacking, the last thing anyone wants to see is Man City pass the ball around for 90 minutes while we run around like headless chickens. They have a habit of rocking up at the Emirates at the worse time and really rubbing our noses into the dirt.

Ironically, they did that over just 12 months ago when Arteta was their assistant, and awkwardly had a front row seat of the shambles he was inheriting.

A year on, things change yet stay the same.

I just hope the Spaniard doesn’t take the easy way out.

He knows Pep Guardiola takes this cup seriously, so even if he does rotate his squad, there will be world class players on the pitch.

The likes of Aguero, Ake, Mendy, Foden, Mahrez and Fernandinho were all on the bench at the weekend.

The easiest thing to do would be to play your fringe players, lose, say it was because we had youngsters playing, and spare your first team further embarrassment.

That would be cowardly.

In fact, if we have any leaders at all (and I have my doubts) then players shouldn’t be wanting a rest, they should be demanding to play. They should be looking at the League Cup as a way to at least achieve something, to give us fans something to at least hope for.

Needing to win the League Cup to qualify for Europe is a fall from grace, but we have no divine right to think we are better than that at the moment.

Be Kind In The Comments


Tags League Cup Man City reserves


  1. I agree. Beating Man City should be the priority right now.

    .Win and spark our team’s revival
    .Win and save some face
    .Win and keep another trophy dream alive
    .Win and have another route to Europe(?)
    .Lose and eliminate our chances of a trophy
    .Lose and demoralize everyone further
    .Lose and Arteta out(?)

    Which outcome will it be?

  2. Man City have laboured this season but are now starting to gain momentum. They have a home game against Newcastle on Saturday so can afford to play a strong team in the Carabao. Arteta’s position as manager is under threat and only a win will do against City, Chelsea and Brighton. Huge three games coming up

  3. We need to collect Trophy as much as we can. Doesn’t matter which trophy. Better than Audi Trophy. Forget about EPL top 8. Just need to stay out of relegation. Thats all we got now.

  4. I agree. Finishing 13th with a cup would be better than finishing 9th without one this season. This season’s league games are about getting the new system & new players working properly without getting relegated. Other big clubs have had these transitional periods with much lower-than-usual league finishes and bounced back well, and I think Arsenal can do this too.

    In the long term I think we will be ok, once more dead-wood has been cleared out and the new core of the team is established EG. Gabriel / Partey fully adapted to EPL and no more red cards., No more Xhaka with a much better replacement in midfield, a fit & flying Martinelli available to provide more options in attack, lots more work on Pepe to unlock more of his potential, Saka growing into one of the senior key players, and of course hopefully some backing from the owner in the transfer windows.

    1. Yossarian, A welcome optimistic outlook. It is all there, given the scenario you outline, but Kroenke is the huge ongoing problem this club has suffered for the last 13 years and he does not spend his own money- not a single penny so far He only spends a small proportion of the massive club profits he makes in normal seqsons This one is different for all clubs world wide, so is not true comparison.
      My requirements for real succes are these inorde rof importance. 1 Adifferent and proper owner who loves the club, hopefully DANGOTE, who is aGooner and loves football too. 2 To keep Arteta here at all costs with adequate money to spend. 3 to rid the club of its many deadbeats and coasters. 4 To install a proper structure of decision makers, to work with the manager, all of whom love and know about Prem football and world football too. 5 To reduce dependence on super agents and reinstall a proper scouting system.
      The most important by far is to get an owner who loves and cares for our club and to get Kroenke out at all costs. IF it achieved that, I would accept relegation, provided it led to a new owner.

      We also badly need fans to be patient but that is, I regret to say, an impossible task , as it would mean changing the human nature of the younger generationof fans, with their lack of patience, lack of deep consideration and sense of self entitlement.
      NOT ALL OF THEM BUT A LARGE NUMBER , as JA proves each day.

  5. Completely sensible assessment, Dan.

    The only way to get back to Europe is through the cup competitions.

    Even though top 6 is still mathematically achievable I don’t believe the lads will bounce back soon enough to make it a reality. I don’t think they’ll win more than 7 points in the next 5 games.

    If they survive relegation, they probably won’t even make it in the top 10.

    And I’d love it if they can manage that because another season in Europe means another season where there’s no excuse to buy cheap players.

  6. We don’t seem to have energy to compete in the league let alone 4 competitions. He should leave the Carabao to the young players from start to finish.

    He should not risk first team players injured in Carabao. We cannot afford that luxury with the current state we are in.

    The focus should be to get the players to believe in their manager again and give their all in competitions that actually matter.

        1. Tell you what
          Like I remimed people who called me names for suggesting we were not title contenders , if we now don’t finish top, I will remind you of the stupid comment

      1. I don’t think it’s a write off yet but I can’t argue that it probably will be soon enough bar a miracle from Mikel.

    1. I agree completely. Premier League is the most important period, full stop. This cup gets you nothing and only adds fixtures we really don’t need with FA and Europa coming up soon.

    2. maybe he should risk some first team players to injury, then he will have to stop picking them week in and week out.

  7. The priority for now is to stay in EPL. Imagine wining this cup and get relegated. Which one is better? I think Arsenal should avoid relegation by all means

      1. Sadly, it is not a ridiculous proposition. If form in the league continues then anything can happen. We are too good for that – well we aren’t very good and we are going the wrong way.

        While we “only” have to beat the worst three teams, we are playing at their level so there are no easy points – the bottom clubs will look at us as winnable games and higher up clubs will be thinking easy points. Plus, there are a lot of clubs who would very much like to rub our noses in it.

        We shouldn’t be having this discussion but we are because it is possible.

  8. Agree that we should prioritise the City game over Chelsea.

    Don’t mean to sound defeatist. Even if we field our strongest team against Chelsea, a point is probably the best we can hope for.

    As for the relegation battle, even if we continue playing the abysmal football we are used to this season, I still see at least 3 teams finishing below us.

    Cups are our most viable route to Europe and should be prioritised

  9. Surviving in EPL is far more important than going to the next phase of League Cup. Arteta and the coaches should use League Cup as an experiment

    1. Totally agree. PL is priority. A win in the league vs Chelsea will do much more for the team morale than a win tonight.

      We need to be wary of this “too big to fail” thinking. I think we’ll be okay but we cant assume we’ll be okay.

  10. Agreed, Dan.. however, I do feel a couple of the youngsters could do a job for us tonight.
    Only a couple of months ago we beat the scousers, seems like an eternity ago…

  11. What is a strong team nowadays, lol? Maybe the youngsters are, theoretically the strongest teams because they are winning matches? A lineup consisting of Balogun, Smith Rowe and Nelson would atleast motivate me to watch the game late into the night lol. Jokes aside, I think youngsters can work due to the unpredictability factor.

  12. In the great scheme this games matters not. The most important thing bar none is league points. Cup games are that, just cup games.

  13. Don’t prioritise any game, just put out the team you think will win it depending on the opposition etc. I totally disagree with the premise that Wenger played a weakened team in this competition, the League Cup. He blooded some of the youngsters and they invariably won and played better than the first team as we have seen from some of the performances in the Europa League. Similarly, I think tonight’s team should be a mixture of experience and youth.

  14. Interesting question Dan.After some thought I take the view that we are not in a position to prioritise matches.Any win would be most welcome and greatly improve confidence which is sadly lacking in the majority of our players at present.If I had a choice I would take the three points from Chelsea, who despite the favourable result last night, we’re not impressive for most of the game.West Ham were unfortunate to get something from the game last night, and once again I was very impressed with Rice who is developing into a powerhouse.

        1. Oh to be a fly on the wall in the dressing room, hey?!
          Season’s Greetings from over the pond to you, georgie 🎄

  15. Any win will do. We have not seen one for so long.
    Standards lowered.
    No style, identity, method, leadership or most important: communication. Only hope is youngsters. The other hope is a change in the attacking and defensive coaches at the club so we can actually do something with some of the talent that we have.

  16. I’m finding it hard to make up my mind
    The EPL is the most important by a mile but winning tonight or at least giving it a proper go, could just be the boost that is required to reverse this worrying trend

  17. No team is ‘too good to go down’. The table does not lie, not after a certain number of games, anyway. We are only as good as our position in the league, and right now at 15th and only 4 points off the drop zone, it’s not good.

    Time for some historical perspectives. The first is that the pretenders up the road went down in the 1976-77 season after completing the first Double of the 20th century during 1960-61, and having won the UEFA Cup in 1971-72 and finished 3rd in 70-71 . Couldn’t happen to a worst lot, I’d say…:)

    Honourable mentions of teams that were ‘too good/big to go down’ that went down anyway:

    Man U: Champions in 1964-65 and 1966-67, European cup winner in 1967-68, relegated in 1973-74

    Leeds U: Champions in 1968-69 and 1973-74, runners-up in 64-65, 65-66, 69-70, 70-71, 71-72. Relegated in 1981-82.

    Both clubs went into rapid declines after the departure of their long-serving, successful managers; Busby and Revie. Does the scenario ring a bell at all for anyone to our present situation?

    Aston Villa: Champions in 1980-81, European Cup winner in 1981-82, relegated 1987-88.

    I bet the fans of those clubs at the time all thought that they were ‘too good/big to go down’, but down they went nevertheless. It could happen to us if we are not careful.

      1. I am not saying that we will definitely be relegated, but we are certainly not ‘too good to go down’.

        If we don’t see an improvement in results soon, we will be dragged into the thick of the fight for survival. Given that none of our players have any experience of relegation battles, and that our manager has no experience, full stop, I wish I can share your confidence.

        Arsenal fans debating the likelihood of relegation….oh, how the mighty has fallen!

        1. Well no I’m the opposite
          I’m an Arsenal fan saying we will not be relegated
          Fact I said leauge season is a write off
          So to clarify do you think we will get relegated or not ?
          If it’s no then you think we are too good to get relegated

          1. Your opinion is that we would definitely not be relegated is based on what evidence? Because you think that ‘we are too good’? Well, recent form says that we are not.

            Maybe you ought to take a lesson either in English or logic, as you are confused between ‘could’ and ‘would’. To say that a team ‘could’ go down is not the same as saying that it ‘would’ go down.

            We are certainly not ‘too good to go down’, and while I think it’s unlikely, I would not discount the possibility of us being relegated given our present league position and our recent form. So, in answer to your question, yes, I think we ‘could’ go down, though that’s not the same as saying we ‘would’ go down.

            Every season, there are more teams that ‘could’ go down than there are teams that actually do go down. It’s unfortunate that Arsenal is one of those teams this year.

            Newcastle, Palace, Leeds, Arsenal, Burnley, Brighton, Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield are all teams that ‘could’ go down, but it is nonsense to say that they ‘would’ all go down. Sad to say that Newcastle, Leeds and Palace are in a better position than us right now.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs