Arsenal lost 3-1 to West Ham United at the London Stadium on Wednesday to bow out of the EFL Cup. The Gunners were given a footballing lesson by David Moyes’ team, despite their resounding 5-0 win over Sheffield United in the Premier League last weekend.
However, in spite of the apparent setback, the loss might actually prove to be a blessing in disguise for Mikel Arteta’s team. They will now have to play in one fewer competition and can afford to use their resources accordingly.
Arsenal started the match without a number of regulars
Arteta decided to start the match without a number of regulars to give them a well-deserved rest. The likes of Martin Ødegaard, who came in as a substitute and scored the Gunners’ only goal, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Declan Rice, William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko did not start against West Ham.
However, the performance of the reserve players will continue to worry the Arsenal manager. Kai Havertz continues to be a disappointment of sorts.
Fabio Vieira has been primarily used as a spare player until now, and Jorginho is clearly past his prime. Aside from Vieira, none of Arsenal’s reserve players have inspired confidence so far and the situation has been worsened by Thomas Partey’s injury.
In such a scenario, Arteta might think of giving his fringe players more opportunities to prove themselves against opponents of lower quality this season. This will also enable him to ensure that his first-team players are relatively fresh throughout the season.
The schedule is packed for the Gunners
Arsenal will visit Newcastle United next weekend, and the Magpies are a dangerous opposition. They will also be buoyant after their 3-0 win over Manchester United in their EFL Cup tie. Arsenal is two points adrift of table-toppers Tottenham Hotspur. As a result, they will not be ready to lose points against Newcastle.
They then have matches lined up against the likes of Burnley, Brentford and Wolves in the Premier League, each of which can be a tricky opponent.
In addition to that, the Gunners are likely to qualify from their group in the UEFA Champions League as well, which means that the number of matches will go up for them. With Arsenal entering the FA Cup in January, the schedule is going to be jam-packed for Arsenal.
Emphasis should be on Premier League and Champions League
A football manager will ideally want their team to win all the matches it plays. Yet, realistically speaking, Arteta’s focus should be on Premier League and Champions League only. Arsenal narrowly missed out on the Premier League title last season despite leading the league table for the majority of it.
They will try to stop Manchester City’s monopoly this season, and with the incentive of playing in Champions League after six long seasons being there, Arteta should not be too disappointed with the defeat at EFL Cup.
The Gunners have also won FA Cup on a number of occasions in the recent past and should, therefore, think only about performing well in the two big competitions only.