Time to review Carling Cup strategy following FA Cup defeat

This is a guest post by Vertino of Gunners Today

It might sound strange to mention this now but it is high time we considered this. Last weekend we lost to Chelsea again in a big cup match. Of course most of the blame was shared between the curious case of Wenger’s team selection and Fabianski’s moments of utter madness but that is not up for debate this time round.

Image courtesy of wjarrettc

From next season I believe Arsene should scrap the policy of fielding an entirely youthful side in the Carling Cup. My excitement on discovering the Arsenal youngsters is tinged with disappointment; a realisation that most of these players for many reasons won’t make it at the Emirates. Cesc is the only player in recent years who has made the transition successfully. In that time we have seen the likes of Quincy, Lupoli, Larsson exit the red half of North London.

Does that mean youngsters shouldn’t get the opportunities? Of course not! For me the only youngsters I want to be seeing are those with outstanding talent and/or with the right mental attributes such as determination and composure. Gibbs is a perfect example of the latter specified criteria.

I am looking at it in terms of percentages, and my suggestion would be to field a lower number of youngsters. Perhaps Arsene could involve only 5-7 youngsters in the entire match squad. Or he could filter the numbers as the stakes increase, so start with 7 youngsters in the 4th round, 6 in the next round etc etc.

If you play the best of the best youth it means the rest of the team is fairly experienced. This playing environment fosters a quicker growth for youngsters. This is exactly why Cesc has gone on to become such a pivotal player for the Gunners because he was able to play and learn with the likes of Vieira and Gilberto. Just imagine how much Wilshere and Ramsey can learn if they play with experienced players all the time.

Remember the best players i.e. Gerrard, Scholes, Carrick, etc had a lot of experience surrounding them when they were young. This is a privilege Denilson, Diaby and Song no longer have. It forces them to learn by themselves, slowing their development a great deal and sometimes exposes them in big matches against more experienced players.

I seriously hope Wenger considers this for next season as his current strategy has yet to pay off in terms of competitions won. In Arsene we trust, but we can question his decisions sometimes, can’t we?

By Vertino

8 thoughts on “Time to review Carling Cup strategy following FA Cup defeat

  1. Ole Gunner

    What a silly argument. I wear a hat and like chocolate. So my hat is made of chocolate.

    Well your argument didn’t make more sense than my chocolatey madness.

    Logic is your friend!

    And fact; Current Arsenal players who played in the Carling Cup and are now established Arsenal players:

    Toure, Clichy, Walcott, Denilson, Song, Adebayor, Van Persie, Bendtner, Eduardo, Almunia, Cesc, Diaby……..

    Sounds like a smashing success to me.

  2. Goonerdave

    Whilst we can question many aspects of Wenger’s reign, the Carling Cup is a gem of a competition because its so full of youth. Its disengenuous to say that only Cesc has emerged from past Carling Cup sides – van Persie, Adebayor, Clichy, Djourou, Flamini, Almunia, Walcott, Denilson, Diaby and Song to name a few have had a strong taste of competition from this policy when they were young/new signings. If your really that desperate for a trophy you want the Carling Cup, perhaps we could parade some Amsterdam trophies for ya, they are of pretty much equal value.

  3. Goonerdave, that is exactly my point, it is sometimes too full of youth. There has to be a balance, the only experienced players are in defence. It is not about winning the Carling Cup but more to do with how our team sometimes even though outrageously talented has a mental block which I haven’t seen for a long time.
    Also Goonerdave and Ole Gunner, mentioning players like Adebayor, Toure and Eduardo don’t really count as youngsters. In fact Toure made his debut against Chelsea in the Prem when he started.

  4. Ole Gunner


    Toure was a youngster when he first featured in the Curling Cup. As was Adebayor.

    Virtually all our players who came is as youths played in the Carling Cup. It’s completely false to say “Cesc is the only player in recent years who has made the transition successfully”.

    But I get your point. You want us to win the Curling Cup. So we should use more experienced players in the competition.


  5. Ole Gunner

    Personally I don’t see the point of the Curling Cup and don’t care at all if we don’t win it. We can’t fully go for all competitions with our best players. It’s quite clear thate Carling cup is very much another way to rotate the squad and help keep the better players fresh. Chelsea use their best players in the competition and don’t always win it.

    I’d hate it if we lost a key player in a Curling Cup game, and were still eliminated.

    1. Ole Gunner I agree that it is a little harsh to say that only Cesc has really cracked it at Arsenal, but otherwise you are misunderstanding what I meant. Of course playing experienced players alongside youngsters doesn’t mean success, just look at the team Utd played against Everton in the FA Cup. You can’t, however, deny how valuable experience is. I think I have made this perfectly clear in the post.

  6. Jesus.is.coming.soon

    Not even the Manu fielded their strongest side in the carling cup. I dont know if our senior side has the fluidity to win shefield 6-0. I was shocking. and beat wigan 3-0. So we lost to burnley becuase we didnt take our chances, but now we may have people coming from loans, barazite, traore, lansbury and other defenders. Also all the squad would be more experienced this year. Plus new young signings.
    So we could do great things next season. The problem this year is that we wont be taken lightly as sjut a under 19 team. Shefield and wigan did that. but burnley played with strategy. So next season we hope to win it. Djourou and song played in defence. So who would plac CB next season??

  7. Pingback: Is Arsène Wenger taking the Carling Cup more seriously? Comparing Arsenal selection policies since 2004 « ArseSpeak

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