Sport Soccer

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Denilson desperate to bring Gunners' five-year trophy famine to an end

Jeremy Wilson

Arsene Wenger's complex attitude to the League Cup was neatly summed up this week when he was asked by journalists what winning the competition would mean to Arsenal.

"That you ask me different questions," he said.

The message was clear. In itself, the League Cup is a trophy with limited significance, but, in terms of transforming the general narrative and mood that surrounds his young squad, it could just be pivotal.

Wenger has grown weary of being reminded that the club's last piece of silverware was won in 2005 and is acutely aware that this generation of Arsenal players now desperately needs a first trophy.

Once that hurdle is cleared, there is a belief that they will go on to achieve a sustained era of success.

Midfielder Denilson is one player who epitomises Arsenal's talented, but largely trophy-less squad and he is certain that this year's League Cup can provide the springboard to greater things.

"I think winning it will help in the major competitions," he said.

"If you win the Carling Cup, then after will come the FA Cup, then after the Premier League and the Champions League. We have progressed from last season. Last season we lost some big games, and this season we are more experienced.

"We have a great team, we have young players, but quality as well. I think we have a chance to win trophies this year. For five or six years we haven't won any trophies but now we are a little bit stronger.

"Sometimes people say that Arsenal, when they play Chelsea or Manchester United, they will lose the game. 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."

With United losing to West Ham on Tuesday night, there is certainly a sense now that the League Cup has become Arsenal's to lose.

The strength in depth of their squad has certainly been evident in the competition so far this season, with the return of Robin van Persie in the 2-0 quarter-final win over Wigan ensuring that even the absence of captain Cesc Fabregas went relatively unnoticed.

"Missing games is killing me inside," said Fabregas yesterday.

"I hope all I've done for the last week helps me to be fit and ready." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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