Arsenal, in the recent past, have always gone into a season competing on four fronts — Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and the Capital One Cup — thereby giving themselves a chance of pocketing one of the four possible trophies when the curtains are pulled on the season. However, having been knocked out in the 3rd round of the Capital One Cup by a spirited Southampton side, the Gunners now see themselves involved in the Champions League, in addition to the regular Premier League commitments — at least until January — when the draw for the FA Cup would be made. And, having started off on a poor note in the Premier League, will Arsenal rue being knocked out of the Capital One Cup, which is always another trophy, nonetheless, to fight for?
Albeit the Capital One Cup exertions can, at times, prove to be a hindrance to the Premier League title ambitions, if things are going well on that front, there are a couple of factors that make the league cup worth fighting for.
While the Premier League heavyweights generally use it as a competition to give their fringe players game time — something that Wenger, too, did and subsequently paid the price for, against Southampton — the Capital One Cup can be used as a competition to build some momentum, which, in Arsenal’s case, could be vital when you aren’t really firing in the Premier League. Sunderland, 2013/14 Capital One Cup finalists, are a classic example to this pragmatic theory that saw Gus Poyet’s side bail themselves out of relegation battle and consolidate their Premier League status. That’s where Arsenal and Wenger could well regret bowing out of the competition so early on in the season.
Having said that, Arsenal are carrying far too many injured players in their squad already, that involvement in the league cup could act as the springboard to some of the other currently fit players incurring niggles and strains, which is the last thing Wenger and the North Londoners would want.
On light of the aforementioned circumstances for Arsenal, ever since the competitive season started, it’s tough to say whether the North Londoners regret being knocked out of the Capital One Cup in the 3rd round of the competition itself. However, at the start of the 90 minutes against Southampton, it would be lunacy to say, ‘Arsenal didn’t really intend to progress in this competition.’