Arsene Wenger’s ‘unfinished business’ with the Carabao Cup
The Frenchman has yet to win the League Cup in its many different guises.
Arsene Wenger revealed a sense of “unfinished business” with the Carabao Cup after Arsenal reached next month’s final at Wembley with a 2-1 defeat of Chelsea.
In their first fixture since the confirmation of Alexis Sanchez’s transfer to Manchester United, Arsenal impressed in securing victory at The Emirates through an own goal from Antonio Rudiger and Granit Xhaka’s finish after Eden Hazard had given Chelsea the lead.
They will contest the final against Manchester City on February 25, having last reached it in 2011, when a late defensive blunder gifted Birmingham an unexpected 2-1 victory in one of the most damaging defeats of Wenger’s managerial reign.
In 2007 they also lost 2-1 to Chelsea having taken an early lead at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, and discussing one of the trophies that has so far eluded him in England, Wenger said: “It’s unfinished business, because we didn’t win.
“We are again at Wembley and many times we were there, but now we are in it, we want to win it and we will play against a very strong side, so it could become a very interesting game.
“We are out of the FA Cup and so I will focus on the League Cup, and you can see that Manchester City do the same, so it is difficult to win trophies in England.
“What is important is the quality of the game (against Chelsea). We showed that we can beat big teams, no matter what competition it is, and what is important is the rest of the season.”
The 68-year-old had previously insisted that even reaching the final would not change the pessimistic mood around his club, but reminded of that, he responded: “I have the right sometimes to have a small sense of humour, even if I am not very talented in it.
“But that’s what I said. Somebody once told me that at Arsenal you are never more than five minutes away from a crisis. I said ‘No, three’.”
He was also again asked of Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who he has been in talks about signing, but said: “If something happens it happens, if it doesn’t happen then we are strong enough. I am perfectly happy with the players I have. We got Henrikh Mkhitaryan in and I have a strong squad.”
Chelsea had made a promising start when Pedro had a header ruled out for offside before Hazard’s seventh-minute finish and Rudiger heading into his own goal when Marcos Alonso deflected Nacho Monreal’s header towards him.
In the 30th minute they lost the influential Willian to injury, after which he was replaced by debutant Ross Barkley, and their manager Antonio Conte said: “The injury was decisive.
“Don’t forget Alvaro Morata was out, and I was forced to play with Ross Barkley. He’s a really good player, a great prospect, and is really important for Chelsea, but he needs a bit of time to understand our football.
“Willian said he felt a problem in his hamstring, but he doesn’t think it’s serious, and I hope he’s right.
“We started very well, we scored, then conceded a strange goal – two strange goals – and were unlucky in two circumstances.”