How seriously should Arsene Wenger take the League Cup tie tonight?

By Avenell Dave

It's inevitable in these days of the Champions League that the League Cup gets less attention than it used to.

With so much money at stake in Europe, the League Cup can be nothing more than a distraction that can hamper the team's progress on other fronts.

I recall when Arsenal first got to the final under Arsene Wenger and we ended up with Adebaywhore and Kolo Toure bothl getting sent off, which ahd an impact on our Premier League ambitions, sucha s they were.

The League Cup has, of course, given us the chance to blood young players but for me, it is worth taking seriously, especially at this stage of the season.

Chelsea and Swansea still remain, and we know both can beat us but other than that, we have a great chance of getting to Wembley at least and winning a trophy wold make such a difference to the club.

It would remove the trophy monkey from our backs, it would remind players what it means to win something and it would boost morale for the rest of the season.

I remember when we played T*tt*nh*m in 1987 and then Liverpool in the final. It was the first time we'd won anything since 1979 and set the cub on an era where we won things regularly.

Did we cheer any less when we won the League Cup and FA Cup double in 1993 when Paul Merson won the League Cup and Steve Morrow was dropped by Tony Adams? I don't think so.

Of course, there's a real balancing act to be done tonight. Bradford should be put to the sword with ease but football doesn't work like that.

They may have fallen on hard times since getting to the Premier League and beating Liverpool on the final day of the season to stay up, but on a cold December night, we have to be completely professional.

I don't think we'll play too much of a scratch team, but I expect there will be a few changes.

We know that Bacary Sagna is out and I suspect Thomas Eisfeld may get a game alongside Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky.

I can't see many changes at the back - perhaps Meade coming in for another start and Andrey Arshavin starting out wide and Maroune Chamakh in attack. Olivier Giroud was injured in the first half against WBA and I'm not surprised he's not in the squad.

Nothing less than a win is acceptable tomorrow. Hopefully by a few goals in normal time.

But many of us will remember Swindon, York and Wrexham and we simply cannot let that happen again.

Addict XI


Jenkinson Vermaelen Squillaci Meade

Ramsey Eisfeld Rosicky

Gervinho Chamakh Arshavin