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.
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