Arsenal manager mustn’t retire with glaring omission on his CV
If asked his priority in terms of honours at the outset of every season, no doubt Arsene Wenger’s answer would run a little something like this; Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and bringing up the rear, the League Cup.
Perhaps the Frenchman might dally slightly over the order of the first two. Wenger’s dynasty has already been blighted by the length of time it’s taken to mount a serious title tilt since the halcyon days of the Invincibles.
But becoming the only manager in Arsenal’s illustrious history to lift the European Cup is also bound to hold its own unique magnetism.
Having capped the “perfect week” in Wenger’s eyes, by briefly reaching the Premier League summit at the weekend with victory over Everton, Wenger achieving his primary objective in 2015/16, of winning the title, is now as short as 8/5.
Meanwhile, as gratifying as Bayern Munich’s Champions League scalp was to initiate this ideal run of results, attaining the big-eared trophy is still a fanciful notion at 33/1.
Considering the rigours still involved just to qualify from the group and the five successive failures to reach the quarter-finals as a backdrop, these odds aren’t in the least bit surprising.
The way his side are developing this term, Wenger might yet scoop that hugely illusive fourth English crown, but there is one honour up for grabs that has proved even more slippery for the decorated manager that is actually well within reach.
The Capital One Cup, aka, the League Cup, is a glaring omission from a CV which contains six FA Cups from 18 previous seasons steering the good ship Arsenal.
Two finals, one infamous one against Birmingham, have seen glory spurned at the last, but heading into the fourth-round against a mid-table Championship side, Wenger is reverting to type with his selections as he continues to show a remarkable indifference towards the competition.
Against Sheffield Wednesday the Emirates chief has already indicated he’ll rest his big names in favour of starts for fringe faces such as Calum Chambers, Mathieu Flamini and enigmatic forward Joel Campbell.
Given the level of opposition, Wenger is sure to feel fully justified in rotating his squad.
Then again, if it was the beloved FA Cup, it begs the question of whether or not his reservists would be trusted to keep the winning momentum going in a tie bearing all the hallmarks of a classic cup banana skin on the road.
There will hardly be outrage among Gooners dreaming of frying bigger fish this season if the 11/2 shots for glory are humbled by the Championship side.
But when Wenger eventually hangs up his three-quarter length coat, it would be a travesty if the only part of the board left to sweep at Arsenal, was the League Cup.
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