How seriously should Arsenal take the FA Cup?

By Avenell Dave

Arsene Wenger said in his weekly press conference that he always watched the FA Cup finals when he was young.

Given that he has won the competition four times with Arsenal - and in case anyone had forgotten, it was the last trophy we won in 2005.

Lest we forget, we're top of the league and while we have 16 "cup finals" to win if we are to win the title, many a neutral would suggest that our squad and 

Looking at our squad, in terms of injuries and availability, it's hard to see who can come in from the fringes.

It's one thing to cut the deadwood, as we have been doing over the past year, but another not to have a new wave of talent coming through. 

With Liam Brady stepping aside, it will be interesting to see if his replacement, Andries Jonker can continue to develop the young talent we need to maintain a core of players brought up in the Arsenal way.

We have Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs who ahve come through and the likes of Serge Gnabry and Wojciech Szczesny who were nurtured after being identified overseas, but it would be great if a striker or centre back was identified.

Benik Afobe was once thought to be a great striker hope but his progress seems to have stalled and it remains to be seen whether defnder Daniel Boateng or midfielder Thomas Eisfeld make the grade.

Why does this matter? 

It matters because, when we get the sort of cup draw we ideally want, one against a lower division side at home where players can be rested, we need to blood the next generation of talent, those players who can perform at this sort of level and gain much needed experience before being blooded in the big competitions, namely the Premier League and Champions League.

We need to be able to give as many of the core squad of 16 a rest and with the squad in the shape it is in at the moment, that just can't happen.

One player likely to feature tonight is Gedion Zelalem. There's a great feature on him that I recommend you read in the Guardian today which tells you all you need to know about the player who is being tipped as the best player to come through the ranks since Cesc Fabregas. Some reputation to live up to!

I saw him in the pre-season games when he looked outstanding and without wanted to expect too much too soon, he certainly looked the part then, albeit against lesser opposition.

There isn't too much wiggle room for rotation although a couple of players returning from injury such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Nik Bendtner will almost certainly start.

Some might suggest that the FA Cup is our best chance of a trophy this season and I certainly don't think we should take it lightly. 

Good results breed confidence and momentum .

But if we go far and are in with a chance of winning the title or stretching the squad ahead of say, the FA Cup semi-final where fatigue can play havoc with fitness, which would you prioritise?



Jenkinson Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs

Oxlade-Chamberlain Zelalem Flamini

Gnabry Bendtner Podolski