By Avenell Dave
When Arsenal were doing well (and even in the so-called heady days, we had some seasons where we were as far behind M*nure as we are now) Arsene Wenger used to speak about the Premier league being the best way of gauging how good a team was.
That we finish season after season way behind the champions tends to suggest we have gone backwards and that we are a long way from being the great side moving to the Emirates was supposed to make us.
Playing Swansea in a replay has messed up all Wenger's planning.
It means that we have an extra game that we can ill afford because our squad is exhausted and stretched. You only have to lok at how performance levels have dropped to see that.
What we should have been doing this week is resting and looking forward to a trip to Brighton's snazzy new stadium.
But bad defending and a lack of character mean we have to replay against a side who have twice beaten us since being promoted just over a year ago and who, in Michu, have a striker who would walk into our team.
The sad fact is that Wenger cannot dismiss the FA CUp as he may have done in previous seasons when the title was there for the taking.
While seven seasons is nothing in the big scheme of things, we need to get the monkey off our backs if only to shut up the naysyaers and media critics who continually remind us of it.
And this young generation of players we are grooming need to know what it's like to win things - and gain the belief that they can do so that comes with lifting a trophy, something no one currently at the club has done in Arsenal colours.
But if we play our strongest side against Swansea, regardless of whether we win or lose, we have only a few days before we go to the Bridge and a game we simply cannot lose if we're to stay in touch for fourth place.
Defeat against the Ch*vs would leave us with just one point against the mighty Soton from three Premier League matches and the worrying thing is that it's very feasible.
We've made things more dificult for ourselves with lamentable results against teams we should be beating - including Swansea at home last month - and tomorrow night's selection will confirm how seriously Wenger is taking the Cup this season.
He may well judge that he has the players and the time to recover to field his strongest team but I'd like to see some wholeseale changes -to give some players a rest and give others a chance to get their form or fitness back.
If Abou Diaby can be thrust into the City game after four months out, others shold be given the chance to prove themselves as well.
The natives are getting more and more restless and heaven knows what will happen if we lose tomorrow. I think the internet will combust.
Jenkinson Mertesacker Vermaelen Santos
Ramsey Coquelin Diaby
Walcott Giroud Oxlade Chamberlain