Arsenal have fundamentally changed their attitude towards the Carling Cup for a variety of reasons. Manager Arsène Wenger was asked directly for the motivation behind his decision to pick stronger teams in this year's contest after Tuesday's 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic put the north London club in the semi-finals.
He responded directly, saying: "It would get you to ask me some different questions." The remark was partly in jest, but also touched a nerve with Wenger, who has grown weary of questions about his team's failure to win a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.
For the players, however, the motivation is clear. They have forgotten what it is like to win a trophy, and believe that the Carling Cup could be a springboard to greater glories. In his programme notes before Tuesday's game, captain Cesc Fabregas, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury, said: "We know that the Carling Cup is maybe not a priority for the fans but for us it's a very important trophy. We want to win, and to start feeling what it means to win trophies."
The sentiment is shared by Denilson, who said: "The first cup, if you win the Carling Cup, then after will come the FA Cup, then after Premier League and Champions League. I think this year we can be stronger. In some games we have shown that we can win trophies. If you can win trophies people will believe in Arsenal."Reuse content