So yesterday the quartet of semi finalists were confirmed and as much as I’d love to see Chelski brought down a peg after the season they’ve had, it’s still delightful to see Jose and United fans outraged at some kind of perceived injustice against them, like they haven’t had cart blanche as a club for the best part of two decades. Certainly whilst Howard Webb had anything to say about proceedings.
The reality is that Chelski are the strongest team in the league right now and their victory means that Arsenal will need to put two massive performances in to win the cup. Personally I’d have fancied our chances against either of the two Manchester clubs, but with the that lot playing them, it means even if we progress to the final we’ll probably be slight outsiders.
Heck, with the way we’ve been playing in 2017, we’ll most definitely be outsiders with our own semi final against City. But given the three possible alternatives that were available, I’d rather have City than either of those two, and I’m sure City fans are saying the same as well to be honest.
Both teams have defensive frailties and both teams can look lost at times. City have got back in to scoring mood of late and that doesn’t really bode well for us, but with a game against them coming up in a few weeks, we have a dress rehersal of sorts and at least that’s at home.
Already I’ve seen the ‘dream scenario’ touted by Arsenal fans and if you’re like me and you think Arsène’s time is up, what better way to see him depart than winning the FA Cup? People are talking about that, plus a top four finish, as the utopia. But personally, I’m not as fussed about the top four finish as I am winning a trophy. Having seen us win the cup a couple of years back, it really did give me the bug and now that I’ve seen it a couple of times, I want more of that experience.
I get the argument of top four attracting the big names, but to be honest it’s not like we have gone all out to buy megastars anyway, over the years. Sure we got Özil and Alexis, but that feels like it was down to circumstance more than anything else. Arsenal have the cash to save at these types of players and are you honestly telling me if enough money was waved at the both of them without the option of Champions League, they wouldn’t have taken it?
There’s also the counter argument that other teams can assemble sides with star players whilst not being in the Champions League, so why can’t we? The reality is that the Premier League has more cash swilling around in its bloated belly than any other league can dream of, which means all of the club’s have the availability to buy stars: if you pay them enough.
So yes, given the choice, I’ll take memories of a cup win over a top four finish that I’ll have forgotten all about by August.
What needs to happen now though, is that we need to focus on picking up points in the league and that starts with the players having a proper think about how they want this season to end. A win against West Brom this weekend will help. I think it’s fair to say a lot of us fans are fed up with the limp performances in 2017 and so we need this Arsenal team to perform. I’m hoping that the Lincoln victory will have added some more confidence but even if it didn’t, I just hope the damage done from Bayern and Liverpool won’t have smashed the players mentally to bits. It’s where Arsène has a job to do. I personally think he’s failed this season, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get his side together to put on a winning run. That needs to happen this weekend. We can’t afford any more fannying around as a team.
We’ve had the protests, people know there is growing discontent, but regardless of that, the players and fans needs something to unify us. Perhaps that can be the FA Cup, but I want to see signed before then. We shall see.
The only other news seems to be around Jack and his contract at the moment. That he’s said he’s putting off any talk until the summer is expected, but he hardly sounds like he’s clamouring to return. It’s a shame really, because I think he’d have been in the team and a regular by now, so the thought of him disappearing off to another club isn’t really one I’d like to entertain. But it looks like it’s becoming more of a reality. Having spent his life at Arsenal he’s already seen that there is other places he can be happy and with Eddie Howe having played him for most of the season (admittedly not recently though), I think the chances have gone from 50/50 for him to return, to 25/75 that he won’t. I hope I’m wrong.
Catch y’all tomorrow.