Arsene Wenger: Will he (ever) learn?
Arsenal fans travelled to the Hawthorns in huge numbers in what was a very impressive show of support. Naturally, there will have been elation over the way they managed, more through luck than anything else, to came back from the brink of exiting the competition when they were 3-1 down in the penalty shootout; West Brom will rue their missed chances, particularly in the second period of extra time but Arsenal won through to set up a juicy last 16 encounter with Chelsea.
Despite Arsenal reaching the final of the League Cup on two occasions in recent years, Arsene has used the competition to blood his youngsters and to be fair most of the time they respond in a manner which makes Arsenal fans very proud. However, the burning lack of silverware has become a huge cross to bear, for both the club and its fans. The only people who seem immune to the lack of success are Arsene Wenger and his Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis. Of course, when it comes to talking the talk, both will say they are fiercely competitive and they want to win every trophy going – but the reality is a million miles from this.
Their latest league cup fixture saw the squad make-up consist of a sprinkling of experience coupled with a number of very young and inexperienced players. One of them, Eisfeld, even put the Gunners ahead and Akpom deserves a special mention as he showed brilliant potential by constantly giving problems to the West Brom defence when he came on. Despite all of this, the fact remains that Arsenal were still lucky. If Arsene continues with his approach to the League Cup, which he will, Arsenal’s run in this competition will come to a predictable halt. Speaking with Arsenal fans, I believe there are thousands who now give the League Cup a wide berth directly as a result of their manager’s attitude to this cup. The rot set in that Highbury autumn evening, when Vialli grabbed a hatrick as Arsenal were humiliated 5-1 at home in the League Cup by Chelsea and the rest, as they say, is history. History may not repeat itself in the score-line but in the result it will. With it Arsenal’s only realistic opportunity of ending their barren trophyless run will also disappear.
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