Are we pissing in the Carling Cup or is this the route to success?

 
Last season contained two of the clubs most painful defeats in many years, losing to the Mancs in such abject fashion in the FA Cup, and having our proud unbeaten record mauled by a mediocre spuds side who then fluked a victory in the Carling Cup final. The Spurs loss was particularly painful, allowing them to go on to win some silverware, but particularly as it ended a period of domination unparalleled in between two domestic rivals in the modern top flight. I am open to correction, but I cannot find anything anywhere in Europe, looking only at major clubs, that compares to the nearly 30 games we went without defeat to the hairy thumbed oafs down the lane.
The reason Spurs were able to win the game was not solely because the new manager came in with revolutionary fitness methods such as no cake before games. Part of the reason for the reverse was team selection, with the gaffer putting out a mixed line-up, obviously short of defensive cohesion, comprised mainly of back-ups and teenagers who it seems had rarely played together.
However, the purpose of this article is to argue for a complete removal of all first-team players from domestic cup games. This obviously is not a hard rule, injuries can play a part, either with players missing or coming back; Carling Cup would probably be a good debut for Eduardo say. However, as we are seeing this pre-season the young talent at this club is too good not to get some first team football, and it would alleviate some of the strain on what is a small first team squad.
It pretty much looks like our first choice 11 going into the season will be:

Almunia

Sagna – Gallas – Toure – Clichy

Walcott – Cesc – Diaby – Nasri

RVP – Adebeyor

Now, if we discount all these players from reckoning in cup games what sort of side could we field? I have included Rosicky, as when he is fit either Walcott or Nasri would make way and could get some game time in the Cups.

Fabianski

Hoyte – Senderos – Song – Traore

Eboue – Denilson – Ramsey – Rosicky

Bendtner – Vela

If that team where to start in an FA Cup game, I think the only question marks would be defensively at full-back, those being the players who were so unceremoniously shredded at manure last season. However, Eboue could be pushed back, with Ramsey going right side and Djourou adding some strength in midfield; in central midfield perhaps the team is young, otherwise very strong up front and wide with good centre-backs.
This leaves out completely Eduardo, who will be back from injury at some point, as well as the kids pushing for Carling cup consideration. In the early stages of the Carling Cup, if drawn against a lower division side, I think we could see a side something along the lines of:

My Revenge On Ben Foster

Fabianski

Hoyte – Djourou – Nordveidt – Traore

Wilshire – Randall – Ramsey – Gibbs

Bendtner – Vela

Subs: Mannone, Hoyte, Merida, Barazite, Lansbury, Coquelin, Bishcoff

Overall, between these two sets of player I think there is ample quality to make a good cup run, with a genuine chance of success in either competition. Remember, Cardiff played last years final, and there is no guarantee our full strength team would have won away at Utd last season either. To a certain degree cup runs require a decent draw and a slice of good fortune for even the best sides.
I think the boss should resist the urge to play experienced players at any stage of either competition, instead giving more games and a better platform for our youth to develop. This would benefit the first team, allowing them more rest and focus for the Premiership and Champions League, whilst producing more home-grown talent for the club, with even a little bit of an English flavour for those who care about such things. We need only look at our success over the last 5 years in the Carling Cup to see how exciting and successful this policy could be.
Wenger has made clear that he will continue in his policy of “never going seriously for the Carling Cup.”   – Always nice to see the boss having a dig at Spurs’ mediocre ambitions and trivial triumphs. I think by following a similar policy in the FA Cup, remember even not trying we have been in the last 4 of the pissing pot four years on the spin, we will not only enhance the opportunities for youth, but produce a settled cup team.
With a, roughly, designated cup squad the team could develop cohesion, and act as a platform for the first team. I think that with this policy we can spread the burden on the first team, offer opportunities budding talent, and avoid disjointed debacles such as we saw last season. Looking at the talent coming through the ranks – Wilshire, Ramsey, Randall, Lansbury et al – we might even revive the good old English cup tie in Wenger’s inimitable Gallic way.

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