So tonight sees the Quarter Finals of the League Cup with The Arsenal in action against Bradford City.
I think its safe to say that over the past few years The Arsenal, along with the likes of Man United and a few others, haven’t exactly taken this trophy seriously. In fact from the 1998 season that Worthingtons took it over from Coca-Cola, it has somewhat been a “joke” cup as far as “big” teams like us were concerned.
That said it hasn’t stopped Man United racking up 3 of them in the past 10 years and Chelsea winning 2 of them (one against us). We have of course been in the final twice in that period and both times coming out as the bridesmade…..None more painful than in 2011 against the mighty Birmingham, which didn’t only signal a cup loss but ended up starting possibly 3-4 of the worst weeks I care to remember.
Also I guess when you’re winning the trophies such as the EPL, the FA cup and the Champions League you can see why “top four” teams don’t worry about it as much. Of course I guess that’s my point. We’re no longer a “top four” team in the sense of the word and what it used to mean.
We used to compete for the EPL and FA Cup on a regular basis but nowadays, we as fans generally concede the league is over come December, and then we hope with all hope that we’ll get a Home tie against a much lower division team in the FA cup, just to give us the belief that we can have a run in that campaign to at least give us something to look forward to for the remainder of the season (other than a months loan return of "The King")
But times have changed and none more so than for The Arsenal. We no longer field a team of “kids” but more a team of fringe players and first team, mixed with a sprinkle of youth. The reasons for this could be that our “kids” have now become of age and we’re awaiting the next batch. It could be a case that we have such a large squad that our fringe players need/deserve games. Or it could be that even Wenger is now accepting that this once “Worthless” cup is now becoming “Critical” to The Arsenal. Critical in the sense that if we were to win it, it might help our causes elsewhere. It would certainly shake the “haven’t won a trophy in 8 years counting” monkey off our back. And perhaps it would give the team some belief and that all important “knowing how it feels to win something” mentality. It would also give us, the fans something to cheer about. Yes we’ve mocked The Spuds in the past for only having the “worthless” cup to name in recent times, but even they hit back with “At least we’ve won a trophy” and that point can not be argued.
But I think even us fans realise now that winning this cup might not be so “worthless” after all. You only had to look at fans reactions on Twitter during the last round against Reading to see just what it meant to us.
I’ve seen today that Wenger is warning against complacency and god knows that’s always been a big problem with us no matter how much faith Wenger says he has in there “mental strength”. He's saying tonight will be a good mix of experienced players, helped by the fact we don’t play till next Monday. So hopefully we’ll produce the goods. Of course beating Bradford don’t mean we’ll win it but it puts us a step closer, and who knows maybe the old girl might have to get those Famous Yellow Ribbons out for a trip to Wembley in what then would be a “critical” final for so many reasons than just a League Cup.
Until next time.
Keep the Flag flying high and the Canon Loaded@RabbitArmitage