Having cut short my holiday to come back and watch The Arsenal take on Bolton, travelling for hours across England and enjoying the numerous delays of Virgin Trains in the process, I was pleased with the overall result. A Win, against a reasonably strong Bolton side.
The second string we put out on Tuesday can be pleased that they got the job done, although there were some shaky moments, with Yennaris having a good debut up against the experienced Tuncay and Miquel not looking too phased by moving to Left-back. But the fact that none of these players - bar the quite impressive Arshavin and possibly Park & Yossi - will feature against Chelsea at the weekend shows just how weak our line up was. And, unless Vermaelen is fit, we will almost certainly make 11 changes for Saturdays game.
But should we be expecting more from Arsenal in the Carling Cup this season? After all, isn't it our best chance of a trophy this season. A trophy that will end our long standing, much publicised drought. And winning a trophy will give us something to celebrate after the depressing summer and start to the season, as well as the players a strong platform to build on.
We may have won the game on Tuesday, but overall we were very unimpressive, and things could have easily gone differently. Imagine if we had gone out. We would only have 4th place to fight for until we reach January and the FA Cup, but even that is a sought after trophy, with Chelsea, City and United needing to gain some silverware for their season not to be deemed a complete failure.
And before any mentions the Champions League, that is not a trophy we can expect to challenge for. If we cant even beat any top teams in England, what chance do we have against Real Madrid and Barcelona?
I agree that the Chelsea game has a lot of importance, but certainly in the next round I'd like to see a stronger team. Maybe resting Van Persie and other players we cannot afford to lose, and playing players like Park and Fabainski who need the game time, but if the rest of the team can't be trusted to play an win us games in the league, why should they be playing in the cup?
I've never even been the biggest fan of the Carling Cup, and last season found it slightly embarrassing how much importance we had given to such a measly competition that only Tottenham take seriously. But now, when the league is out of reach, and we only have to think of a tricky battle for 4th place, maybe we should re-think our approach to the Carling Cup.