How important is the FA Cup to Arsenal this season?

By Avenell Dave

21 years.

Yes, as long as some of my work colleagues have been alive.

That's how long Liverpool, one of the great clubs sides in world football, the dominant force in the 1970s and 1980s have gone without winning the title.

Go anywhere in the world and the two British clubs that people talk about are Liverpool and M*nure. It's a fact.

But how much do you see written about Liverpool's failure to win the title, how often do they refer to how the club haven't been in the Champions League for a few seasons? 

Yep, never, pretty much.

Even their defeat against WBA which leaves them struggling for top four status this season is hardly the great scandal that it would be if Arsenal failed to reach the upper echelons of the league.

Arsenal have gone a few seasons without winning a trophy. 

The season ticket prices are high. The cost of the new stadium in the heart of the capital is high. We have no sugar daddy pumping cash into the club. 

But we are seen as failures for not lifting silverware.

It really really annoys me.

Of course I would love to see us win trophies, but when I see fans lament the loss of Na$ri (overrated and being found out at Citeh), Adebaywhore, Cesc, RvP and others, I'd like to remind them that when we had all those players we still didn't win anything.

Have we underperformed? Undoubtedly so, on occasions. Have we reached a plateau? Possibly. Can we do better? Probably.

But while I am as desperate as anyone to see Arsenal win a trophy, I can see progress at the club.

We've signed up pretty much everyone and this summer, if there are any 'BIG' departures, it will be Vermaelen or Sagna, players we can cover for or replace with eas compared to the likes of RvP.

But the FA Cup is still there for us and while it may well be our best chance of silverware this season, with the squad still delicately poised between brilliance and fragility, we have to get the balance right with massive Champions League and Premier League games coming up.

Regardless of injuries, a home game against Blackburn should give us less trouble than some of the other sides we could have faced and I'd love to see some rotation.

Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere (who is probably going to need until the Bayern game to get fully fit anyway) should all be on the bench and only used if we find ourselves in trouble.

I'd love to see us win the FA Cup and stop people moaning about our failure to win trophies. 

We are consistent in our league form (even though this season is our most shaky since 2006) and top four still remains a priority for me. If we are to compete for the title, being in the Champions League and able to attract the sort of players to help us strengthen is essential.

And I do believe we can compete for the title again.

We've lost one game in seven and we need to maintain momentum without sustaining more injuries.

The FA Cup is important, but the bigger picture is far more critical if the latest rebuilding of the squad is to be completed this summer. 

Addict XI (selected before AW presser with an injury update)


Sagna Mertesacker Vermaelen Monreal

Cazorla Ramsey Rosicky/Diaby

Walcott Podolski Gervinho

Who do you think should start against Blackburn?