Julio Baptista believes that the Carling Cup could be the making of his Arsenal career.

The burly midfielder-cum-striker is on loan from Real Madrid this season and hoping to impress Arsène Wenger enough to gain a permanent deal at the end of the season.

With six goals in two games, the Carling Cup appears to be the tournament he has chosen to stake his claim.

"This is the competition I'm having most opportunity," said the 25-year-old Brazilian. "It's the one in which Arsène Wenger is really giving me a chance, the only one where I've been able to show how I am able to play.

"It has been very important to me, as much as anything for my own self-confidence. It shows that when I'm needed I can do the business.

"I think I've definitely shown what I'm capable of and now it's the decision of the Club [over whether to keep me or not]."

Baptista goes by the nickname of "The Beast" but he was also called "Batigoal" during his free-scoring spell at Sevilla. However, although the match ball from the 6-3 win at Anfield is sitting on his mantelpiece, his four-goal performance that night was one of the few in which he has started up front. He has flitted between roles as an attacking midfielder and supporting forward.

"My favourite position is as second striker," he said, "but a free-roaming one, ideally about five metres behind the striker.

"Arsène knows that's my best position but sometimes the situation arises that I am needed in other positions and I'll play there. But really the one I want to play in, and know I'm best at, is the second striker role.

"Of course it has been frustrating not to play more but you're competing with international players in every other position.

"When I arrived the team was pretty much formed already, everyone had their positions. But of course I want to be playing in the main team."

Sunday is Baptista's chance to bridge that divide.



8/1 - Carling Cup Final: One-nil to the Arsenal


Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 23 Feb 2007