The League Cup should be taken seriously

League_Cup

Sitting in front of Arsenal vs Chelsea last night it seemed obvious that the league cup really should be taken a little more seriously. Whilst fixture congestion certainly played a significant part in the starting elevens in this particular game, it clouds the main issue; the league cup means nothing to far too many teams any more.

From the ticket pricing to the team selection the League Cup appears nothing more than a glorified youth team competition in modern football. For those seeking glory it is a trophy too far and for those fighting for their lives it is a complication they can do without.

When you consider that for most Premier League teams it requires six wins to get to the final it appears even more absurd. Yes the prize money is nowhere near as significant as finishing 20th in the league but surely winning something counts for more.

Last night saw Arsenal, a side who haven’t won a trophy in eight years, field a mixture of first team and squad players against rival title contenders Chelsea. There are players in that squad who have undoubted talent but have yet managed to convert this talent into success. Winning is a mentality and one that is very hard to come by and even harder to maintain.

For the younger players at Arsenal confidence is clearly a delicate thing and beating sides like Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United would significantly enhance this. The Capital One Cup may not be as prestigious or as financially rewarding as the Premier or Champions League but it would allow these players chance to taste success and crave more.

There is no coincidence that Jose Mourinho targeted the League Cup when he first arrived at Chelsea. It was a method of proving his methods to his players and instilling a desire to repeat it. Their success in late February convinced the players that his ideas and tactics worked and once proven enabled their confidence and self-belief to increase dramatically.

There is probably no better example than Swansea City to exemplify this. After winning the trophy last season their league form certainly dropped off but they had already achieved success beyond their comprehension. Thus far they have been excellent in Europe which will only serve to improve them as a club both on and off the field. It took them seven games to qualify for the Europa League and win a trophy, was that really too much to ask on top of the Premier League.

Being the first major competition of the season it can all too easily be written off and disregarded. With the hopes and aspirations of the season ahead it can seem too smaller a catch when bigger fish are further ahead.

It would be futile to overlook the fact that money is now the all encompassing dictator of success in football but surely winning a major trophy must still mean something to these clubs. Whilst it may not balance the books or settle the astronomical wage bills it would have a huge impact on the players, staff and fans.

(Picture courtesy of Wikipedia)

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