The great FA Cup conundrum facing Arsene Wenger

By Avenell Dave

Have you looked At Arsenal's fixtures lately?

It's all very well people talking about the horror run of February with Liverpool twice, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

But look at March. After Swansea we have Bayern, Tottenham and Chelsea (all away) and then Manchester City at home. It is scary.

We also have a possible FA Cup tie but that depends on whether we get past Liverpool on Sunday.

The naysayers are already predicting that, should we lose to Liverpool, our season will be in meltdown and we'll slump back to a battle for fourth place in the Premier League.

Who knows? Maybe that will happen.

There are certainly some concerns about the squad with games coming thick and fast and the squad stretched to breaking point.

Yes, there is an argument that this is of the club's making, having failed to sign players or over-played some of the squad to the point where they break down.

There's also an argument that you can;t keep signing players just because we have injuries. 

I'll admit, in the past my patience wore very thin with RvP and all his injuries and then he had a run of 18 months where he couldn't stop scoring. There is no exact science to it at all.

Certainly many of the team looked tired on Wednesday and whether that was down to caginess after the Liverpool game or just the intensity of games being played, the need for rotation has never been more pronounced than ahead of the FA Cup game with Liverpool on Sunday.

We have players itching for games - Lukas Podolski, Mathieu Flamini (back from his ban) and Serge Gnabry are three who spring to mind and if fit, you could add Thomas Vermaelen to that and the reserve full backs for good measure.

It's a huge risk to play them all given how poorly the team seems to adapt to widespread changes but perhaps we have to take that gamble to give players a few days off ahead of the Champions League tie and Premier League games to come.

It is so frustrating that in Germany, they give teams extra days to prepare for European matches and we have to play late on Sunday.

And if we lose again, it will certainly dent confidence.

But let's not forget that we've beaten Liverpool once this season and there's no reason why we shouldn't do it again, however embarrassing the Anfield game was. 

I don't think Arsene Wenger should rest too many players, because losing to Liverpool again would dent confidence and it may well pan out that the FA Cup is our most realistic target (although I will never give up on the title).

Santi Cazorla's absence is the only certainty from the squad that was involved against United in midweek so I expect Jack Wilshere will keep his place and hopefully play himself back into form.

But as I've been saying for months, regardless of what we think of individual or team performances, what we think of other Arsenal fans whose opinions may or may not match ours, let's all work together.

Let's make it difficult for Liverpool. Let's knock THEIR confidence and overwhelm them rather than jump on our own players if things don't go according to plan.

Addict XI


Jenkinson Koscielny Vermaelen Monreal

Oxlade-Chamberlain Flamini Wilshere

Gnabry Bentdner Podolski