The importance of the Carling Cup to the ‘Big Four’

Fast approaching is Round 3 of the Carling Cup, which of course means that the bigger guns are about to join in. What I am to discuss here is just how important the cup competition is, if indeed at all and mainly how the big guns should treat it because it’s something opinion is largely mixed on. You get some managers who go out to win every trophy while others treat it as a learning experience for younger members of their side. It’s also treated as something of a Mickey Mouse cup by supporters, what with having to be in the shadow of the FA Cup.

We all know and recognize the FA Cup as England’s premier cup competition. Well there need only be one. What the League Cup offers though is another way into the UEFA Cup. For the big four, it shouldn’t have to be seen as much of a big deal. They already have to concentrate on three competitions, this should be left to the sides who want UEFA Cup football and even then, it’s not everyone, what with a number of clubs preferring to concentrate solely on their league campaign.

You all should know by now that I’m an Arsenal fan. However, don’t think me biased for believing Arsenal last season showed just how a big club should treat the competition – as a learning curve for some of its younger players and a chance for a selection of back up players to get more football under their belts. It’s not making a point out of a competition that is useless to Arsenal, rather, it’s making use out of the competition. Not only that, but it’s made it exciting for the fans too. I now genuinely look forward to Arsenal’s League Cup campaign because I look forward to seeing some new talents on show. Denilson even won a place in the first team after his Carling Cup exploits last season.

Mourinho was one that tried to win all, despite the competition’s lacklustre reputation. And yet if you wanted to treat it as something worth winning, all you’re doing is squandering a perfect opportunity to rest your first team players. Not just that but if Wenger played the first team in the Carling Cup I wouldn’t be too interested. The line up he chooses usually involves players I haven’t seen much of yet, it becomes quite an exciting prospect. Much more so than it would if we treated it as a competition to be won.

So here’s me looking forward to The League Cup, something genuinely worth competing for if you’re a mid table club and want some silverware, if a little second rate, and UEFA Cup football next season. For us clubs who consider ourselves part of the ‘big four,’ I hope it’s treated by all as an opportunity to test some new talent. Coverage of the cup will be here, with me undertaking that particular task. So more soon.

Also See: Carling Cup 3rd Round Draw (2007/2008).

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