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The Carling Cup is different, that’s why we love it

By Reuters Staff
November 13, 2008

In September, Mitch Phillips argued here that the League Cup should be shuffled off into retirement. Who could argue for prolonging the life of this tired, unwanted “third competition”? Well, actually, after this week’s action, I would.

Arsenal and Tottenham, who together served up such a thrilling 4-4 draw when they met in the league at the end of October, were at it again separately this week, playing the same direct, fearless, attacking football despite featuring much changed line-ups.

The two ties they were involved in provided nine goals and four came from English strikers. That’s the same number as English forwards scored in all last weekend’s Premier League fixtures, and two more than the weekend before.

Add this to the encouraging performances from British youngsters like Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Lennon and Michael Dawson, and at least Fabio Capello and John Toshack can raise a pint (of Carling) to the League Cup.

The very fact that top teams field reserves and youngsters sees the League Cup get a lot of stick but suppose for a minute everyone put out their best sides and the top four all made it through to the quarter-finals: would that make it a better competition? Don’t we see enough of these games in the Premier League and FA Cup?

This week, the League Cup brought us British players excelling at top clubs, bags of goals and a big upset against the Premier League leaders at Stamford Bridge. Who could ask for more?

I agree the League Cup isn’t what is used to be. It has changed, it is different, and that’s why we should all love it.

PHOTO: Arsenal’s Jack Wilshire challenges Wigan Athletic’s Maynor Figueroa during their Carling Cup match at the Emirates Stadium in London, Nov 11, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Comments

Good blog Joe. Carling Cup is fitting in very nicely to what has been an entertaining season so far. I was at Arsenal v Wigan on Tuesday and i must say it was such an impressive display from a bunch of teenagers playing an experienced Premier League side.

Exciting to see these new young lads, without the Carling Cup their progress would be stunted.

Posted by Neil | Report as abusive
 

The Carling Cup – the new FA Youth Cup.

Posted by Hans Moman | Report as abusive
 

I take the point that you get great football and it fantastic for young England players at the moment…but I can’t help thinking that nobody really cares that much about the result. Liverpool looked disinterested last night.

Posted by Titus | Report as abusive
 

Let’s face it, only clubs like Tottenham who are crap, managers who should have done better recently at big clubs and Arsenal’s spotty teenagers care though.

Posted by Bingo | Report as abusive
 

I agree, Joe. People have said over the last few years that the top teams playing reserve sides in some way “devalues” the Carling Cup, but anyone who saw the way Arsenal’s young team played against what was an experienced Wigan team can see that that is simply not true. It is obviously impossible for the top teams to field their best players in four competitions, but that does not mean that the Carling cup should be scrapped. As you say, it provides fans with the opportunity to see exciting new players, many of them English, as well as upsets like Burnley’s result yesterday, and Tottenham’s amazing run to winning the title last year. That was their first trophy in over 50 years, and I think many people like to see a tournament that isn’t entirely dominated by the “big four”, in which other teams can come to the fore. Great Blog!

Posted by Lozza | Report as abusive
 

I agree Joe. Some people have said over the last few years that the best teams fielding reserve sides in some way “devalues” the competition, but anyone who saw the way in which Arsenal’s young team played against an experienced Wigan side can see that this is not the case. Obviously it is difficult for the big teams to play their best players in all four competitions, but that does not mean the carling cup should be scrapped. As you say, it provides fans with the opportunity to see exciting new players, some of them English, as well as upsets, like Burnley’s result against Chelsea yesterday, and Spurs’ amazing run to winning the title last year. That was their first trophy in over 50 years, and there will be many fans of lesser sides who will enjoy seeing a competition that isn’t dominated by the big four and allows other teams to come to the fore. Great Blog!

Posted by Lozza | Report as abusive
 

Completely agree Joe. The league cup has been reinvented and reinvigorated. It’s great sport made all the more exciting by watching new talent.

 

Love your blog Joe!

Posted by Lucy Whatcott | Report as abusive
 

Tomas Rosicky revealed that he would love to end Arsenal’s trophy drought and vowed his team-mates have proved they will take the Carling Cup seriously this season. Maybe this tournament is essential for Rosicky, but for other top players like Arshavin Champions League and Premiership will be primary.

 

I always love to have some cold beer and watch Arsenal matches. The League Cup is not what it used to be but I enjoy it anyways.

Posted by LiveCasino | Report as abusive
 

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