Arsenal and Chelsea avoided the opportunity of giving us a Wenger vs Mourinho classic after they were both knocked out of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night. The Gunners were booted out by Sheffield Wednesday before Chelsea were Stoked out on penalties despite fielding the first team. Manchester United joined the gunners and Blues as they were also knocked out on penalties by Middlesborough. Manchester City and Liverpool progressed to the quarter-final.
From the Arsenal perspective, the result caused a minor harm compared to the overall outcome
- Injuries: Injuries have a way of just reducing your options. Arsenal’s options on the right upfront have been diminished with almost every eligible player out due to injuries – Walcott, Chamberlain, Rosicky, Ramsey, Wilshere, Welbeck. Wenger will need to tinker with his team to provide adequate replacement at the right. Will Campbell have a go or will the manager go with Alex Iwobi?
- Giroud Alone: Walcott’s calf injury leaves us with Giroud upfront alone. The Frenchman have been excellent from the bench and have gained from the competition that the availability of Walcott provides. Will he relax? Will he make it difficult for Walcott to return by banging in the required goals?
- Fringes: For the umpteenth time, Debuchy and Gibbs failed to give the manager a reason to usurp Bellerin and Monreal. The duo could not influence the game nor stamp their authority. Flamini looked a shadow of the players that knocked out Tottenham out of same competition. young Kamara was even more involved. Is Flamini Coquelin’s cover? And Campbell – will he make it at Arsenal?
- Debutants: Arsene Wenger gave debuts to Alex Iwobi, Glen Kamara, Ismael Bennacer and Krystian Bielik making it 203 Arsenal players that have featured under him. They didn’t blow Sheffield away, they were outran. Iwobi was not that bad. Bielik showed a lot of maturity when he came in but he could not turn the 3-0 into a 4-3 win. Too late. Wenger gave the young players a major upper-cut: “It was too high [a level] for them. They are not ready to play at this level. None of them”
- That Kit: Did we really need to wear that kit against Wednesday?
Well, I did enjoy youth football in faraway Chile as Nigeria defeated Australia 6-0 in the ongoing U-17 World Cup. The Golden Eaglets will face Brazil in the quarter-final.
For Arsenal, it is one cup less. Let us concentrate on the League, Champions League and the FA Cup. We may win the Treble. Swansea first.