The Magic of The FA Cup – Arsenal

Howdy, it’s FA Cup weekend right on the back of our amazing victory in Manchester. If we learnt anything from the results this weekend it’s that the mental switch from the intensity of the Premier League to the roughness and the aggressiveness of the FA Cup is extremely important.

Growing up I once heard a pilot had had an accident on a freeway and I couldn’t process why someone who flew a huge iron bird with all the crazy dashboards over 30,000 feet above sea level would crash a car on land. That is exactly what the Gunners need to avoid today against Brighton, as three points against Man City will be immediately forgotten if we crash out of the FA Cup to a lower league side.

The guys at the FA would terribly love that wouldn’t they? More armour for their “magic of the FA Cup” catch phrase which would make for an amazing history lesson many years to come on the day top clubs from the Premier League all failed to win on a weekend in the FA Cup. There seems to be a yearly struggle to remind everyone how prestigious this competition is as the commentators seem to always have hype-the-competition script they read from. Dear FA, did you see the number of fans that came out to celebrate during the bus parade when Wigan and Arsenal won?  You can rest your oars now, we all get the point. Someone who definitely wouldn’t be happy would be Jose “The Campaign” Mourinho after seeing his team who he had earlier said had the mentality to compete on four fronts lose to mighty Bradford

“To help the title race, the best thing is to lose against Bradford and to lose against Liverpool and to lose against Paris Saint-Germain and to play only Premier League until the end of the season. “This is the perfect situation. But not with us. Not with our mentality, not with our way of thinking about our job, not with Chelsea DNA. We want to go the more we can. –Jose

Seems some people in the Chelsea dressing room felt differently, first they lost their media created invincibility and then now the chase for the quadruple. In Kevin Staceys Voice from House of Cards “Hopefully it all comes falling apart one by one, Forgive me but their pain brings me joy. “

To more Arsenal related stuff, while we are still a long way off from singing “SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON IN THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY” we have to admit that our job getting to Wembley has been made a little smoother with the exit of City and Chelsea. I saw a lot of tweets adding Spurs to the list of heavy defeats on the day but please let’s not start making our city rivals more important than they really are.

How have I gone this far into this post without making any real reference to the game itself, to be honest how much can you make from playing Brighton and Hove Albion? There is really one acceptable result here and it’s a win so the focus is more on the performance and the Boss captures it perfectly stating

“Beating Man City raises the belief and the confidence of the team but also questions your ability to repeat it” – Wenger

The task of repeating it I believe will fall on the shoulders of the likes of Ozil, Walcott, Chambers, Gibbs and Szczesny. All players who have something to prove, Ozil and Walcott especially as they seem to have lost their places as definite starters for Arsenal judging by recent performances of players that have taken their places in the starting line ups. More than ever the focus will be on Ozil as we have to admit he is yet to justify the huge transfer fee that brought him to Arsenal. It has been a tough period in his career since he joined us, but when you sign someone for 42m you don’t sign them to be a part of the cake but really the icing on it and Ozil hasn’t been that. The manager doesn’t seem to be helping matters stating he sees Ozil playing from the left or behind the striker. Which certainly means he doesn’t intend to tinker with what is working in his midfield.  Does that mean we would revert to the dysfunctional 4-1-4-1 the manager deployed earlier in a bid to have all his best players on the pitch or a 4-4-2 to have Ozil close to anyone who plays upfront?  ArseneKnows!

There certainly would be a lot of interest in the team the manager sends out to play Brighton. How much of a reaction to the upsets that occurred do we expect to see from Arsenal. Knowing Wenger, I’m not sure they would matter that much to him as if his mind is set up on the team he would still send those players out. I wonder if there would be space for Chuba Akpom to lead the attack, his contract with Arsenal is up this summer and he seems to be in a transit zone. Paid his dues in the U21 but not considered enough to make the final push for a first team shirt. With Sanogo, Podolski and Joel Campbell all out of the squad for now at least, maybe we will see Chuba more often with a possible appearance in this game.

In non FA Cup related news, there seems to something “unArsenal-Like” about us in recent weeks. First we sacrifice our philosophy to get a win at City, then Wenger comes out to say the players requested the change and he budged, then we sign a young DM and now we have just signed a proper defender in the January transfer window and it’s not a deadline day signing? I’m really loving this new Arsenal!

Gabriel Paulista has joined the club from Villareal in a deal that saw Joel Campbell finally listen to the fan who gave him some advice at the train station at Stoke, “Get out while you can Joel”. I don’t know that much about Paulista but his stats and journalists seem to all indicate we have just made a really good signing. With BFG playing every game this season and KOS still playing through the pain barrier it was extremely important that we brought someone in and it’s nice that finally we seem to be able to nail transfers quickly. Whatever Dick Law has been smoking recently, Gazidis better makes sure he never runs out of it!

So that pretty much rounds up this post, like you I hope we go and get the job done against Brighton, keep up the momentum the team has recently built especially as we head into some tough fixtures against Spurs and the champions league in the coming weeks. Cheers friends.


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