FA Cup adventure should be Arsenal's springboard, not sole focus

By Avenell Dave

Arsene Wenger once said that he wished the football season was in the summer.

You can see why really. 

Brazil produce some outstanding players and have a consistently warm summer and mild winter - although it is a huge country and there's enough poverty for kids to hone their skills instead of focusing on school.

A warm spring day and a home game and Arsenal showed why Wenger prefers warmer temperatures for games.

Arsenal dominated for 80% of the game and although Everton's equaliser took the gloss off our dominance, we looked in control.

If moments change games, Ross Barkley's miss at 1-1 also proved to be a turning point and Wigan's win at Manchester City gives every Addict a mixture of excitement and anxiety, hoping we don't muck up our best chance of a trophy since the League Cup final against Birmingham.

Fans seem anxious that we are going to mess it up and while we should certainly take nothing for granted - that was City's problem against Wigan - we are more than capable of winning the two matches necessary to lift the trophy.

It amazes me that everyone has written us off in the title race, though.

Yes, we are seven points behind and the loss at Stoke was a huge, if not entirely unexpected blow.

We have to beat the big teams, that's for sure.

But there is no reason why we cannot put a run together, particularly with some big players coming back for the run-in.

It only takes a defeat here or there for Chelsea or City and the entire complexion of the title race will change. With a quarter of the season to go, should we really give up now?

All focus is now on Bayern Munich and while everyone has written us off, and we know what a good side they are, a repeat of last season is not impossible.

There were concerns, of course, against Everton, that we have to address.

Yaya Sanogo looks a decent prospect but he should have been loaned to Hull or even maybe West Brom where he could hone his skills before taking a squad place that looks a little bit too much for him at the moment.

Thomas Vermaelen was also a worry throughout the game.

You could argue that having been out for so long, he has every right not to be in top form but many of the issues that caused concern have been typical of his time in North London.

He wants to bomb forward almost in preference to defending, his positional sense underlined some poor decision-making and in comparison to the calm and authority of Per Mertesacker (who still has the capacity to shout and bawl when players need it), the Belgian's approach was conspicuous by its shortcomings.

"He's a liability" said my neighbour and I wouldn't argue with that.  He may not be a terrible understudy but it makes sense if he departs in the summer - as long as we plan to buy at least two if not three new defenders, Bacary Sagna's departure also prompting a replacement.

Everton are a decent side and I suspect we'll face a far tougher task when we go to Goodison in a few weeks.