THERE were groans around the Emirates when Karl Hein made his fatal error in the 27th minute.
The debutant’s slip and trip on Brighton’s Danny Welbeck began Arsenal’s descent into Carabao Cup despair.
Arsenal’s Carabao Cup exit can only be a blessing in disguise for Mikel Arteta
And the night ended in a 3-1 defeat with Mikel Arteta’s men being dumped out of the competition earlier than expected.
But is the result really the end of the world for Arsenal?
Playing (mostly) top-class football, thumping rivals like Chelsea and Spurs, and competing for a first Premier League title since the Invincibles of 2004?
The answer is simply no.
In fact, tonight’s exit can only be a blessing in disguise for Arteta, who almost certainly won’t be shedding any tears tonight.
That’s because he now has one less distraction to deal with.
And Arsenal no longer have to worry about a competition many see as meaningless.
Yes, it’s always nice for potential league champs to kick-start things by landing the first trophy of the season.
PLAY OUR DREAM TEAM WORLD CUP FANTASY FOOTBALL GAME TO WIN A SHARE OF £50k
But at the end of the day, Arteta will not be remembered nor championed for winning the Carabao Cup.
He already has an FA Cup in the bank.
And every diehard Gooner only has eyes for the Premier League this term.
Arteta can now forget having to prep for eight or nine changes ahead of a random midweek fixture.
He can also rule out further long trips away from London, making his already-knackered players even more tired.
Now Arsenal can fix their sights almost completely on the title, with the Europa League and FA Cup a nice sideshow.
And nobody can be surprised if Arteta cracks a wry smile on his drive home tonight.