By Avenell Dave
We’ve seen it so often before.
Arséne Wenger, intent on focusing on the blue riband competitions, the Premier League and the Champions League, seems to have fallen out of love with the domestic cup competitions.
When Le Boss suggested that he would rest a few players for the game yesterday against West Ham, I think most of us feared a Carling Cup side who might go out even to the weakened Hammers side.
The fact that three of the regular back five started showed that, thankfully, that isn’t entirely the case.
In fact, I was surprised he played both centre backs, seeing as they have played every game for us this season.
Was Phil Senderos not risked because he was unfit or because being cup tied may lower his already low transfer fee potential?
Whatever the reasons, at some point, Thomas Vermaelen or William Gallas is going to get injured and as Mikael Silvestre showed when he tried to play the offside trap in the build-up to West Ham's goal, he's just not good enough.
With midfielders few and far between the starting line-up gave us a chance to see how far Fran Merida and Jack Wilshere are from pushing for a first team berth.
Can Arsenal afford to send them both out on loan? Probably not, but they showed that they need games at the highest level if they’re able to compete against not just the West Hams but the better sides Arsenal are likely to face.
The big difficulty Wenger has is getting the balance between winning games consistently and giving emerging players the time to learn their trade.
Carlos Vela has long been touted as the next big thing, and Wenger used the Mexican's emergence as a reason why he didn't buy a replacement for Manu Adebayor in the summer.
The RvP situation has changed things, of course, but judging from some of the texts I got yesterday, it's fair to say the Addict jury is out on our young forward.
His problem is that he falls over too easily, looking around for fouls rather than using his body to assert himself.
We've seen from when he was at Osasuna what a class player he can be but the English style of play is far more robust and he has to get used to that.
For 60 minutes, he looked lost, but as he drifted out to the left and started to get in some crosses, he caused all manner of danger - and two assists underlined his impact.
The problem for Vela is that he needs a run of games to get himself used to the rough and tumble of the Premier League and he's just not going to get that very often.
Remember, it even took the likes of Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp a while to get used to English football and they were better players for it.
So I'd be very tempted, if I was Wenger, to send Merida and Wilshere out on loan NOW.
Let's not wait until the end of the month to see how things are going and possibly end up with one or two top prospects sitting on their hands when they could be getting themselves up to speed at the likes of Burnley, Hull or Portsmouth.
Two or three months playing top flight football for teams in trouble would be so much more beneficial than cameos in matches that are either already won or lost or just don't matter in the eyes of Le Boss.
So come on Arsene, be brave with your ins and outs this month. You know it makes sense.