The League Cup is one trophy that has eluded Arsene Wenger throughout his time as a manager at Arsenal; however, has there been a better time to finally add it to an honours list that already includes 3 Premier League titles and 7 FA Cups for the Frenchman? A home draw against London rivals West Ham is next up for the Gunners – as they vie for a place in the semi finals.
Arsenal will be looking to get revenge on David Moyes’ in-form Hammers side, given they seriously dented their chances of catching Manchester City in the race for the title. In truth the Gunners were lucky to come away with a 0-0 draw in the end – as Javier Hernandez crashed a shot against the crossbar in the dying seconds at the London Stadium. It is three games without a win for Wenger’s charges and the League Cup will give them the opportunity to give their season a much-needed kick-start.
The competition has never ever been on any real importance in the 21 years that Arsene Wenger has been at the club. It has always been used to blood young players as the Frenchman has previously shown great disdain for the League Cup. With the likes of both Manchester clubs and Chelsea also in the quarters it remains to be seen whether Arsenal will maintain their tradition and not be tempted to throw the likes of Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette into the mix. Whoever Wenger puts out, Arsenal are still likely to be well favoured in the betting market. The bookies certainly believe the young gunners will be too much for West Ham on Wednesday night, with Betway free bet offering odds of 1/2 on a home win for the north Londoners. However, given The Hammers’ recent revival under David Moyes, West Ham are pretty good value.
Taking the League Cup seriously has always been something the likes of Jose Mourinho has done, as he believes that it is important to get a trophy in the bag as early as possible. With the Champions League knock out stages not starting until two weeks after the final, the Manchester United boss believes there is no excuse not to focus their full attention on the competition as he aims to land his 5th winners’ medal. With City flying in the Premier League, Pep Guardiola also has the comfort of putting a real emphasis on winning his first trophy in English football as he plots a domestic treble. You would be a brave man not to back the Citizens achieving it – especially as the bookies now have Man City at 1/50 on for winning the Premier League. Arsene Wenger; however, will look and love to throw a spanner in the works – as was proven last season when he took the un-fancied gunners to defeat both City and Chelsea in both the semis and final respectively.
Whilst the bookies have Arsenal as 3rd favourites to win the competition, you would be a brave man to back against the North Londoners in cup competitions. As they proved in the FA Cup – winning 3 of the last 4 finals – they can beat anyone on their day. Wenger will be desperate to add the League Cup as he winds down his career, given it is the only domestic trophy to have eluded him in English football.