Unai Emery will be mad not to use the Carabao Cup as his first chance of making a statement at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal host Brentford on Wednesday evening in their first match of the competition with a vibrant 8,500 Bees fans expected to pack into the Emirates Stadium. With a successful run of form going, Arsenal will definitely be favourites heading into the game and the encounter could give Emery a good chance to single out how important the competition will rank in this massive transitional season for the Gunners.
Expectedly, the Europa League could also be seen as a competition that Arsenal should target, especially with the success Emery had during his time at Sevilla and the fact that Arsenal made it to the semi-finals last season. But, the Carabao Cup could be an easier and more clever option for the Emery to claim his first piece of silverware as manager of Arsenal.
Arsène Wenger never managed to win the League Cup in his 22 year spell at Arsenal, but came close last season when the club faced Manchester City in the final in March, but it was ultimately the start of Wenger’s downfall as the Gunners slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Wembley.
Prioritising the Carabao Cup could be a wise decision in Emery’s first season at the helm. Although he and his players aren’t probably thinking about it this early in the season, a full focus on the competition could give Emery a good base to work from.
Facing the likes of Brentford and other English teams from lower leagues will also give Emery some experience in terms of handling a different type of pressure compared to the Premier League and Europa League.
The competition always provides an opportunity for younger players to showcase their talent in the first-team, and last season it was Eddie Nketiah who made his breakthrough when he came off the bench in Arsenal’s fourth round win over Norwich City.
The young striker scored an equalising goal in the final stages of the match before snatching the winner in extra-time.