With all of the Premier League’s top four teams in action midweek, after a gruelling weekend of tough fixtures, we’re likely to see a number of changes to the Premier League sides, and the inclusion of some reserve and youth team players.
The League Cup has, for the top teams at least, proven to be a good opportunity to ‘blood’ young players – the youngsters get their opportunity to fill in for the regular first-team stars who will likely be rested ahead of their congested Premier League and continental fixture list.
But is the cup becoming a “Mickey Mouse Cup” as some have suggested in recent years – it’s clear from the team sheets that the big clubs don’t take it as seriously as any of the other competitions.
One might be inclined to suggest that demeans the trophy and degrades the value of it, perhaps even becoming a tad disrespectful to lower league teams to whom it’s a great opportunity – not only to get their hands on some silverware but also to play European football. It surely doesn’t do their gate receipts any harm, either.
But, then again the last non-Premier League team to win the League Cup was Sheffield Wednesday in 1991, leaving some to question its usefulness to lower league clubs. Synonymously, it’s never quite commanded the same respect as the FA Cup which has a certain romance and glamour to it.
With recent criticism from England manager Roy Hodgson over crowded scheduling and it’s detrimental effect on players and managers ability to adequately prepare for international matches, the Premier League’s top managers, most notably Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger and Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson have also complained about international friendly scheduling.
Hodgson called for a ‘winter break’ this month when he spoke about his concerns over player fitness in the run up to vital World Cup 2014 Qualifiers.
But, logically, if Premier League teams don’t really care that much about the League Cup, surely not playing in would alleviate their congested schedules. As it stands the Capital One Cup may as well be called the Young Premier League Cup. Just a thought.
image: © joncandy