FA Cup vs Carling Cup: Which is more important for Arsenal now?

In life, there comes a time when we have to make some difficult choices, some things we have to make more important than the others. Prioritize some aspects and leave some stones unturned. Arsenal are in a similar state right now. For obvious reasons, the Premier League and the European Cup remain our priorities. Even though it is hard to admit it, there is a strong possibility that we will be kicked out of one of the two ‘weaker’ cups very soon.

Our squad this season has substantial depth and can withstand a bumpy run of fixtures more strongly than before. Consequently we find ourselves competing for all available trophies even in the middle of January (and are in respectable positions in all of them too). But as the fixtures get congested, Wenger will have to rotate the team heavily and inevitably we will not be able to put the same amount of quality/effort in all the competitions.

Hence we will be forced to choose between the two cups now. I am not saying we should ‘give up’ on any one of them, but prioritize one, realize that as we progress further our chances of being knocked out become stronger. This will become especially true when we suffer more injuries and some players start to feel the effects of fatigue (like Arshavin).  Last season this was not a problem become we played a largely second-string team in the Carling Cup, leaving the big guns to fight for more esteemed honors.

Arsene Wenger has made it clear, not once but twice, this season that he is taking all four competitions seriously. Just today he spoke about his targets for the season and how he will use the rotation technique to help his team cope during the most rigorous months of the year. He said:

“I will go for it [all four competitions], but we will have to rotate.

“Our success depends on the way the whole squad can focus on the different competitions. I believe we have the quality to qualify no matter what I do on Wednesday. It’s just how much we are able to focus on the competition.

“The timing is not the best but it is down to us because we could have beaten Leeds at home. We didn’t manage to do that but now there’s no reason why we should give up.

“I will prepare [for] this game to win it then we will see. It is important we go there with a positive attitude.”

It’s very ambitious of him to try doing so and I stand by his intentions. This Arsenal team includes players who have not yet won any major trophies in the whole of their careers and I believe until they get the taste of winning a trophy, any trophy, they will not grow the hunger for it. You do not become addicted to smoking until you had your first taste of a cigarette.

But the question remains, which trophy should Wenger concentrate more on? In which competition should he field a stronger team? The FA cup or the Carling cup? On first glace, the answer seems rather simple. The FA cup is more prestigious and Arsenal are a side that specializes in winning this cup (10 times). In fact the last match in which we won a trophy was the final against Manutd in the FA Cup (2005).

But the FA cup is still in its preliminary stages and Arsenal have to progress a lot further before they are in a realistic position to actually win it. Although it is called the FA cup ‘3rd round’, it is actually the 1st round for Premier League teams and there are still 64 teams in the competition currently(not counting the teams that have already progressed for the next round)! Whereas, in the Carling Cup, the completion is nearing its end and we are playing the semi-finals against Ipswich. Thus this aspect of the competition is very alluring as we are in a strong position to actually winning this competition and obtaining our first trophy since 2005.

In my opinion we should put more effort on winning the Carling Cup this season. A trophy which is so within our reach should not be ignored. We play Leeds United for the FA cup replay on Wednesday and I think Wenger should take a leap of faith and field a weaker side than the one that faced West Ham the other day. But what do you think- should Wenger fully concentrate on the match against Leeds on Wednesday and hope that the team remains unscathed or put winning on the line and rotate strongly? The FA cup or the Carling cup this season?

Do let us know.

    • gary2@0
    • January 17th, 2011

    its got to be the FA cup

    • zeki
    • January 17th, 2011

    Definatley the Carling Cup.
    If Wenger puts the first team out against Ipswich, we will be through to the final, and I’m pretty sure he will field a first 11 in the final no doubt.

    Where-as the FA cup still has to run its course, and we could still bump into all the big teams, so the Carling cup is our FIRST REAL chance of silverware for the past 5 years so we have to take it!

    • Caleb Maxwell
    • January 17th, 2011

    Compete for the Carling Cup first! Win it! Then hopefully our weaker side will do the business at Leeds. The squad will have their first trophy creating hunger within. We then continue to press on all fronts. If we just accept this challenge and push hard for the remaining two fixtures we can win it. And the Carling Cup will catapult us to even more success.

    • felix
    • January 17th, 2011

    Wenger should concentrate on the carling cup knowing fully well that we(arsenal)have every chance of winning the trophy&no chance of losing it,that will also mark an end of the drought and who can tell maybe the beginning of more trophy……..GUNNERS FOR EVER.

    • yovng
    • January 17th, 2011

    I agree wit zeki but in either way aw should start wit walcot n nasri in both match since there combinatn as yield fruitful result n also both match we must b commited going after d ball n defending as a team not after losing d ball in d oppositn half does set of player who lose d ball wil start defending immediately which was d exert style we use against chelsea,bemirham,n westham we d fans where watching dis three game if u can stil remember d performances in ur mind we ve dat relase mind wen watching dis particular 3 games b/cos of ful commitment our team put in

  1. This comparison is unneccessary at this moment….we are just two matches away from lifting the carling cup and have next two FA cup matches against lower league sides…Leeds away and huddersfield at home….In between all these, we have a premier league match against struggling Wigan at emirates….Im confident that we can win all these five matches and finish this January on a real high….

    • Haider
    • January 17th, 2011

    @Sudarsan: Umm…How exactly are we two days away from lifting the carling cup?

    • yovng
    • January 17th, 2011

    He says we ve 2 match not 2 days

    • Haider
    • January 17th, 2011

    Aah ok, my bad. 🙂

  2. at this stage, I think both are important for Arsenal and for us, at the end, we need a trophy, doesn’t matter which one, but it will raise the confidence for all of us, team included

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