Make no mistake about it, that's a massive victory for Arsenal. Mikel Arteta's reward for naming a strong side against Brentford is not only a place in round four of the Carabao Cup but possible positive implications for the remainder of the campaign.
The big debate going into Wednesday night was how serious should the Gunners be taking the domestic cup competition this season. After all, it can be argued there are 'bigger fish to fry' in terms of the Premier League and Champions League, and with injuries beginning to pile up, the Spaniard's intentions were of great interest.
An hour before kick-off it became clear that the Arsenal manager is certainly up for a cup run. Whilst the likes of Bukayo Saka, William Saliba and Declan Rice were given the night off, the starting line-up still featured Gabriel Magalhaes, Ben White, Kai Havertz and Aaron Ramsdale who began the season as the first-choice goalkeeper.
Historically the third round of the League Cup is often where the north London outfit rotate heavily and blood a few promising youngsters. Granted that approach was somewhat in place against Brentford with Charles Sagoe JR making his senior debut, but the changes felt more to give players much-needed minutes rather than hand fringe players an opportunity.
And it was the performances of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Jakub Kiwior, Emile Smith Rowe and match-winner Reiss Nelson that reinforced the belief that Arteta has a squad that can challenge on all fronts: «Really happy. In this competition you are in or out,» he said in the post-match press conference. «We are in. Two very different halves. The first half we had a lot of control, scored the goal and had some chances to put the game away. We didn’t.
»Second half, they had a moreRead on football.london