Wenger’s got to go for the cups

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I admit to being a little baffled by Wenger’s words on our five-year trophy drought:

“There is as well a lot of demands from people who know you are at the top and they try always to find your weakness… They try to exploit that [we haven’t won anything] and I believe you have take a distance from that”

I sort of understand what he means here, but surely we can only be considered to be “at the top” if we have won something? Open to interpretation, I suppose.

Either way, whether it’s down to weight of outside expectations or a realignment of his own thinking, Wenger’s confirmation at last week’s AGM that we are going to give it all in pursuit of both the League and FA Cups fills this old traditionalist with much happiness.

There are so many reasons why this is the right approach this season that it feels almost idiotic to list them. But I’m going to list some of them. In no particular order of importance:

Why would you not give it your all to win an available trophy? When fans mock other fans for their team having ‘no history’ (in itself another blog post – the only teams that have no history are yet to be started up, but there you go), they are talking about how many trophies that side has or hasn’t won. The last time I looked, the little roll of honour you see in the programme didn’t list how many times we had come fourth. The bottom line is trophies.

This header holds more true, of course, for the FA Cup than the Carling. I am strongly against any dilution of the importance of the FA Cup, but understand why over the years we have taken a more youthful approach in the League.

Winning breeds winning I happen to believe this is true. The longer a trophy eludes you, the harder it can become. The experience of winning makes it easier to win again. Things are somewhat muddied in our squad with Cesc Fabregas being the current owner of both a World Cup and European Championships medal, but domestically, how many of this indubitably talented squad has a medal? Off the top of my head, only Clichy has a league winner’s medal, with Fabregas, van Persie and Almunia the only ones to have an FA Cup winner’s medal.

The FA and League Cups are less predictable The Champions League has the glamour and the money, and come the knockout stages there’s nothing quite like it, but how many people have whipped themselves into a frenzy in recent years at the group stages? We’ve had straightforward draws for a good five years now and the whole group stage is weighted in favour of the big clubs getting through. Only when it turns into a knockout does it become the marvellous, unbeatable European Cup of old. I love the random nature of domestic cup draws and I love that you can be taken to replays. I used to love neutral semi-finals too, until the moneymen ruined it by having them all at Wembley.

We have a bigger, more experienced squad. One of the principal reasons for not going hell for leather on all four fronts is fatigue. It is a matter of overstretching your resources. It’s almost impossible to win all the trophies you go for, not least because three of them are decided in knockout format and therefore contain a higher element of luck. However, you can go on for ever and ever prioritising the league and European Cups only to not win them – they are the two hardest competitions. This season, our squad has another year of experience under its belt and is big enough to cope. I’m sure this is one of the reasons Wenger has changed his League Cup approach a bit.

You never get tired of cup finals. No need to elaborate on this point.

So there we are. Tonight we are at Newcastle, and we should see the likes of Gibbs, Walcott, Koscielny, Bendtner, Denilson, Vela and possibly Rosicky in the mix with some of the fringe players. A decent combination of youth and experience.

Should be a cracker.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. munawwar

    wenger tries going for all trophies whenever possible. in last 5 years he let the youth play in the carling cup and we are not seeing the rewards of it in players like song, jack wilshire, theo and many many many others… the list is too long…

    because he did that he got loads of young people in arsenal to develop them.

    you see arsenal is a visionary club. with the coming financial fair play rules chelsea have now just started getting in youth. its easy for you to say ” trophies” but chelsea pay 140mil + in wages the highest in the league. followed by man utd. then comes city. and then in 4th we have arsenal. saying abt wages it doesn’t mean wengers loves to loose… its because there is no one in arsenal paying off huge debts. roman has paid 500mil + in debts and invested more than a billion in players and wages.

    which now citeh are gonna do.

    so arsenal board had a vision of the future… to become the biggest club with the new stadium. it took time. we developed the youth. now we have finished products and more young guns still coming in. we all saw what happened to liverpool. we all know how man u will crumble in a few season. we all know chelsea are offloading people and all their 30 + wont last longer. it was all for short term glory… which most people like now…. they all want quick results… like the likes of citeh now. heavy investment. huge debts.

    the financial fair rules are coming.

    we are gonna dominate everything in the future.

    now we are developed and going for all titles as our youth has developed.

    and this is all because of wenger. he is a visionary..

  2. RotorGoat

    He is a visionary, yes – we’ve known that for a long time. But he’s always also know that the team he has created needs to fulfil its potential. It can’t carry on threatening to do it for ever – it needs to actually do it. Hence I think the change in emphasis.

  3. munawwar

    yeah… and he is now… bringing the change….. we all completely shocked with the carling cup line up .. he is going for it finally! even man u is playing 2nd team people.. and wenger is playing 1st team!! going to be awesome tonight…

  4. 433

    To some degree, he’s just selecting many of the same players who’ve played in the Milk Cup over the last years – they’re just first-team players now.

  5. RotorGoat

    That’s true 433. The team has grown.

    Lovely win tonight too…

  6. 433

    That was tasty. Koscielny looked really good, and with the young keeper also looking pretty good, it was encouraging.

  7. Dilema

    very encouraging to see our £rd choice keeper look more comfortable than paper mario (fabi)…and i think koscielny is going t be a real big player for us..im not getting too excited aboyt this result although i was very happy to get it..i always just have in the back of my mind that against us other teams will always have a chance. its un-nerving to see the defense trying to play the ball out when under pressure all the time..sometimes just put ur boot through it!! it was a better defensive display to what we have been seeing but still too jittery for my liking..was really impressed with theo’s finishing and would of liked to see lansbury or JET rather than eastmond who i dont rate personally.

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