Capital One Cup: Wenger is impressed by quality of Championship sides after Sheffield Wednesday dump Arsenal out of cup
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger knows coming up against Championship opposition in the Capital One Cup is not as easy as it used to be after finding out the hard way against Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night.
The Gunners, who last won the League Cup in 1993 when beating the Owls at Wembley, were dumped out at the fourth-round stage by their rampant second-tier opponents as goals from Ross Wallace, Lucas Joao and Sam Hutchinson sealed a 3-0 win.
Wenger cannot claim he fielded a side full of youngsters either, as Petr Cech, Per Mertesacker, Mathieu Debuchy, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud were all named in the starting XI.
And despite that array of talent on the pitch, the Gunners were blown away by a Wednesday side full of quality and confidence.
Wenger said: "You have to congratulate Sheffield Wednesday, they put a great performance in, very resolute and dynamic performance. They deserved their win.
"We had a lot of the ball but we didn't make a lot with it, we didn't create a lot because we were too short in midfield, then it was down to not conceding on set-pieces and unfortunately we did that because we lost the ball in situations where we shouldn't have lost the ball.
"Because of many foreign players playing in the Premier League, more and more good players are going down to the Championship.
"To play with young players against Championship teams now becomes very difficult. The level of the Championship has gone up and you see that we did not have enough experience to win these types of games."
The Owls could be on the cusp of creating something special this season as new owner Dejphon Chansiri has allowed boss Carlos Carvalhal - a left-field replacement for Stuart Gray in the summer - to build a squad that looks like it could mount a promotion campaign.
They extended their unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions and their disposal of the Gunners follows their win at Newcastle in the previous round.
Owls midfielder Barry Bannan, a key component to their good form, said: "To beat a Premier League side of that quality is going to add to the confidence that we have already built up.
"Everybody is buzzing. We came in as underdogs and were fighting for our lives, making it uncomfortable for them.
"The work ethic of some of the boys was outstanding. Our confidence is high, we are on a good run at the minute.
"A lot of people look at us say we are a hard-working team, but we have quality too.
"We had a gameplan, we played 4-5-1, sat back a bit deeper and waited for them to come at us. The goals were quality."