It may not be a glamorous trophy, or one that anyone really cares about, but it’s still a trophy.Arsenal’s Carabao Cup campaign kicks off today, when they welcome Brentford to the Emirates. The Championship’s seventh place team comes into London on the back of a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa at the weekend, unbeaten in six, and in generally good form.
Arsenal, as mentioned yesterday, are going to ring in the changes for this game – Unai Emery has indicated that the squad will be very young, which means seeing the Eddie Nketiahs and Emile Smith Rowes of the world, and that’s fine with me.
I like it when Arsenal win, and I would never want them to lose, but if there’s a puntable competition on the English calendar, it’s this one – getting the yoof some minutes is not the worst thing in the world, but it’s also not the worst thing in the world if those young kids don’t get the job done. They really should just call this the Mild Shrug Cup.
Or, alternately, they could do the thing I’ve wanted them to do for years – restrict this competition to Championship teams and below, letting the Premier League sit it out, and give a Europa League place to the winners as a reward, to incentivize the bigger Championship teams to take it seriously.
But, that’s not gonna happen, the Premier League will continue to send kids, and the rest of the pyramid will continue to see this as a viable way to win a trophy until the quarterfinals, when they’re all eliminated. It’s not the best tournament, but hopefully the Arsenal kids can make a good impression.
WHEN: Thursday September 26th, 2018 11:45 AM PT | 2:45 PM ET | 7:45 PM BT
WHERE: Emirates Stadium.
LIVE STREAMING HERE : ARSENAL VS BRENDTFORD 26.9.2018.
Arsenal’s 18-year-old attacking midfielder Emile Smith Rowe is in line to make his full debut in the Carabao Cup third-round tie with Brentford.
Defenders Laurent Koscielny, Carl Jenkinson and Sead Kolasinac are all absent through injury. Brentford defender Moses Odubajo could make his first appearance since re-signing for the club following a serious knee injury.
Full-back Rico Henry is still regaining fitness following his knee injury.
‘We will not fear Arsenal’
Brentford manager Dean Smith says his side “will not fear” Arsenal when they travel to London to take on the two-time champions on Wednesday.
“I would rather have had Macclesfield at home but unfortunately we’ve got to travel to the Emirates which I’m sure all our supporters will be looking forward to,” said Smith.
“We want to progress as far as we can in the tournament – if you can draw the lowest team at home in the draw then it gives you the best chance of doing that, so no disrespect to Macclesfield.
“It’s not often the players get the chance to test themselves against one of the top teams in the country. We will certainly give them a lot of respect but we won’t fear them.”
Arsenal have not faced Brentford since May 1947, winning 1-0 at Griffin Park in a top-flight encounter.
Arsenal have only been eliminated at this stage of the League Cup once in the previous 15 seasons, losing 2-1 to Southampton at the Emirates in the third round in 2014-15.
Arsenal haven’t lost a home League Cup match against a side from outside the top flight since a 2-1 defeat at Highbury against Walsall in November 1983 and are unbeaten in 30 matches since then (W27 D3).
Brentford are one of only five English teams Arsenal have faced at least 10 times and lost more games against than they’ve won (P12 W3 D4 L5), along with Liverpool, Manchester United, Notts County and Walsall.
Brentford have eliminated top-flight opposition just twice in 21 attempts in the League Cup, although both were in the third round – in 1982-83 against Swansea City and 2010-11 against Everton.
Bees boss Dean Smith has faced Premier League opposition five times in his managerial career – he’s lost all five matches, conceding at least three goals in every game.
Referee: Dean M. (Eng)
Venue: Emirates Stadium (London)
Pre-match facts – Carabao Cup
Brentford have gone 4 consecutive matches without a draw.
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