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Arsenal Face Wigan in Carling Cup QF

Theo Walcott said, glowing with confidence, after the great win at St James' Park, 'This is a great opportunity for us to win the Carling Cup.'

Here's my favourite bit:

'We want to win trophies. People might say it's the Mickey Mouse cup and stuff like that but for me, personally, it's a trophy.'

Quite true, Theo. We've seen an increasing sentiment among fellow Gooners that we should take this Mickey Mouse cup more seriously than we did before. Maybe so. But for me, more importantly, we can now afford to field more experienced players than we did, with a gradually strengthened squad - both due to the quality signings that the boss has accumulated in the past few years and the fact that the kids have gained a lot of experience indeed. Jack Wilshere, for instance, has played more than two dozens of games in all competitions including 8 appearances in the Champions League against strong European teams. How many young players at his age who are still learning their trade in England can say the same?

It's in this context that I wonder if more Gooners were paying attention to the Mickey Mouse cup draw today. Albeit without any preference, I did want a home game for a number of reasons. Our home record in this competition has been good: we have scored 24 and conceded only 4 at home since the 2005-06 season, with 8 wins, 1 draw and 0 defeat. It'd also be fantastic for the club to again offer more accessible and cheaper tickets to a different, younger, less regular crowd to see the Gunners in flesh.

Two other ties that will have caught the eye are the Birmingham derby at St Andrew's and another all-Premier League affair between our opponents today, West Ham, and holders Man Utd at Upton Park. Ipswich-West Brom, I'm afraid, will only get more attention when the fans of the winners of this round start talking about their desired draw marching onto the semi-finals.

Quarter-final draw in full:
Arsenal v Wigan Athletic
Birmingham City v Aston Villa
West Ham United v Manchested United
Ipswich Town v West Bromwich Albion

These games will be played in the week commencing 29th November, sandwiched between two league games, a visit to Villa Park and a derby against Fulham at home.

'Hopefully we can win the Carling Cup and it will be one of many.' Said the ever-optimistic youngster. Ditto Theo.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Gooner Lou Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday October 30 2010

Time: 3:41PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I'd rather we play Wigan at home than Ipswich away, so the draw was pretty close to perfect.
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30/10/2010 15:59:00

Yes a home draw is great and the competition now provides opportunities for those fringe first team players rather than just the youth squad. Truth is much of the youth squad are still there - just no longer youths. If we don't get too many injuries then we can take this more seriously than we might otherwise but don't let's get carried away with the idea that this trophy proves anything about the team that the previous 5 seasons haven't. It's still a mickey mouse tin pot trophy that falls a long, long way behind CL qualification in terms of achievement level.
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30/10/2010 19:59:00

I'm pretty sure this isn't part of the season ticket package, so I how we stick with our 'cheap seats' policy of 10 lower bowl and 20 upper bowl, even though the 'kids' we used to play in the competition are now Premier League calibre players. I'll never forget that in the history of the CC at Emirates, the greedy Spuds are the only team that forced us to charge full price so that they would improve their cut (since teams share the gate in one-legged ties). Greedy scum who can only balance their books with player sales. Anyway, it was always great to see the youth in this competition, but most of them are now in or near the first team, so what can you do? What we called youth two years ago is now depth. People like Wilshere, Theo, Gibbs, and Nik would walk into most first teams in the league; Lansbury, JET, Frimpong and Chesney wouldn't be far behind. Not to mention the likes of Rosicky, Eboue, and Squilacci when Vermaelen is fit- all three would be certain starters at most teams. I don't really give a hoot about this cup, but it would still be nice to win it. If the so-called second team can win this, it puts some pressure on the first team to win something bigger.
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31/10/2010 02:54:00

*hope* not *how* in the first line. oops.
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31/10/2010 02:56:00

They say winning is a habit. That's why we are going for all the cups. I think Arsene has decided that if his players get a feel for winning stuff, then the sky is the limit. They need to feel like winners, Mickey Mouse or not. This will be the spring board for real trophies.
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31/10/2010 11:05:00

I agree with keplaz, the good thing from our perspective is that the competition is all over in February so it shouldn't be too much of an interference with the run in. Let's go for it.
Little Dutch
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31/10/2010 12:48:00

We are going for it - we always do. Just how much resource we can put into it depends on what we have available and what else is going on at the same time. It will always be third or fourth priority. The idea that anything different is happening this season in terms of prioritisation is just a result of the media inventing the idea that we are somehow more desperate for a trophy that we have been in previous years. It's rubbish - we are simply better equipped in terms of squad maturity than we have been for a while.
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31/10/2010 13:08:00

It's difficult to deny that we have shifted our attitude to it somewhat, though it's still 5th priority. That Nasri, Rosicky, Arshavin and Fabregas have all featured in the early rounds points to that when the likes of Sanchez Watt and Mark Randall were appearing at the same time last year.
Little Dutch
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31/10/2010 13:32:00

The 5th priority how LD? After the Community Shield or Club World Cup or the FA Youth Cup or the Emirates Cup? Typo I guess, just a funny one. :D
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31/10/2010 14:07:00

Fair Play League :-)
Little Dutch
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31/10/2010 14:12:00

Ah ok, fair play! ;)
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31/10/2010 14:26:00

I suppose the CC could be seen as 5th priority if the PL is the first, CL 2nd, CL qualification 3rd and FAC 4th. I'm pretty sure we haven't changed our attitude to the CC itself. We've only played 2 rounds and while the nature of the first round, away to Spurs, might have demanded a different attitude to any other draw, hence the inclusion of Nasri, the Newcastle game was pretty much a pick of those who wouldn't currently automatically make the 1st XI with everyone else fit. Arshavin has only come off the bench in the Spuds game and, so far at least, if it weren't for the cup games Rosicky wouldn't be starting many games at all. It's the maturity of the squad that has changed not the priorities.
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31/10/2010 15:36:00

I'm really happy that Wenger is taking this more seriously this season, whatever the reasons are (whether Amos' line of thinking or LD's). The Littlewoods Cup win in 1987 was the precursor for a couple of League titles, and even for ManU, in 2006 (was it?). Now, there is no guarantee that will repeat itself if Arsenal win the Carling Cup, but I do believe that there is something to gain for the players' experience that comes with winning a trophy, any trophy. If Wenger decides to sacrifice the FA Cup in order to prioritize the Carling Cup, I'd be ok with that as well. The draw is really favourable, and we should be able to beat Wigan. Its 3 games, and they are all winnable on the day.
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31/10/2010 16:24:00

All I wanted was a home draw...wasnt bothered who we got as we have a fantastic record in this competition at home, scoring goals for fun! I dont think its so much Wenger taking this competition any more seriously then any other season, I just think he has more of a squad to play with this year as well as the younger players coming on leaps and bounds. He has so much more strength in depth then in any other recent season.
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01/11/2010 00:36:00

We're coming for you ;)
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01/11/2010 07:27:00

Er Prits not 3 games technically - the semis will be played on a home and away basis. Including the visit to Wembley it's 4 games to go.
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01/11/2010 15:05:00


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