In the past under various guises this competition has seen Arsenal lose in the final to both Chelsea and Birmingham. While the Chelsea defeat was not easy to take at least it was against a good side and we had the added bonus of Abou Diaby's boot doing the world a favour. The defeat against Birmingham was one if the low points of Arsene Webger's reign at Arsenal and still hurts to this day for me.
Never mind that Birmingham were virtually incapable of playing football as we know it or that they ended up getting relegated that season. That game showed Arsenal still hadn't lost their knack of pressing the self destruct button which we can only hope has finally disappeared. The mix up between Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny that led to Birmingham's last minute winner was the stuff of nightmares.
Who can forget Arsenal going to League Two side Bradford last season and losing on penalties or losing a semi final over two legs to Wigan a few years ago. The boss has put an awful lot into this competition at times and his return in 17 years is zero in terms of trophies.
The biggest positive from last night for me had to be that plenty of players got a much needed rest ahead of the upcoming week with three huge games in competitions that really matter. I suppose Mesut Ozil and Olivier Guroud had to be thrown on to try to chase the game but I would have preferred to see them sit it out. I wasn't overly happy to see Aaron Ramsey start either but somebody had to play and he seemed to come through intact.
It's never easy to lose to Chelsea or to hear their fans' songs echoing through the Emirates Stadium. It's also never easy to lose to the thoroughly detestable Jose Mourinho and I long for the day he leaves Chelsea in controversy again. I have no doubt it will happen as no club owner or chairman can stick him for more than three years.
Chelsea had a stronger second string than Arsenal and despite a few injuries narrowing Arsenal's options it's hardly surprising. As long as financial fair play fails to be installed propey teams like Chelsea and City can run their clubs at a huge loss and suffer no consequences. It's very hard for properly run clubs to compete in the transfer market or pay the wages these clubs pay when money doesn't seem to matter to them.
Chelsea signed Willem in the summer and it looks like they did so merely to stop him joining either Liverpool or Spurs. When they can afford to blow that sort of money what chance is there for other clubs to try to build a competitive squad. Arsenal have a fantastic first team and some very good back up but they cannot stretch to the squad size Chelsea and City do.
If defeat last night means Arsenal are properly prepared for the challenges of the next three games and players are sufficiently rested then it will certainly have been well worth it. At 5.30 next Saturday we should get a chance to see exactly how much they have benefitted from the break. I for one hope they can come through those challenges intact and then last night'a defeat will be well and truly despatched to a bad memory.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.