I Didn’t Want to Win the FA Cup Anyway

By on January 25, 2010

Of course, that is how a child deals with disappointment. In that sense, football makes us all children again in different ways. During moments of absolute glory, we, as supporters, experience a heightened sense of joy that those who do not follow football, or other sports, as intensely as we do will likely never feel. You just don’t get feelings like that in everyday (dare I say “real”) life. And that goes for both highs and lows.Immediately ollowing the FA Cup defeat to Stoke yesterday, I once again felt that childish spiteful disappointment. If you did too, it’s okay. We’re not crazy, we’re just Arsenal supporters (the two not necessarily being mutually exclusive).

After a while to reflect, the child usually forgets his disappointment and moves on. Herein lies the difference. The child doesn’t have to read newspaper articles and blogs about his not getting a new PlayStation game for Christmas. The child doesn’t have to listen to pundits on podcasts, and lesser pundits on television, dissect why he didn’t get the game he wanted or be blamed for it. (Pundit: “I’ve been saying little Timmy was not a good boy for three years now. See, I was right all along.”) But, for us, our disappointment goes straight into the “record books.” There for all to see for eternity, if not longer.

Obviously, it was a hugely frustrating afternoon and it hurts even more to be dumped out of the Cup when a few other serious contenders had already made inauspicious exits. But, it’s over now. And it’s time to get on with the real business… the League. Ahead of the tie, I thought Arsene should rest a good number of first-team players, what with the four crucial league fixtures coming so thick and fast. And, he did. The side he put out should have been good enough to at least win a replay, especially against a Stoke City side that, let’s be honest, did not play their entire first team either, with Beattie and Tuncay on the bench.

Though still, this hardly qualifies as the “shock defeat” so many in the press are calling it. Stoke are a tough side and Arsenal have failed to get results there recently, even with a full-strength side. A shock defeat is United going out to Leeds or Liverpool going out to Reading, not this.

While I’m sure many of you now regret Arsene fielding the weakened side, I don’t. In fact, I only wish he had rested Fabregas as well. Don’t get me wrong… the FA Cup can be a glorious competition. And some of my best moments as an Arsenal supporter have been in the FA Cup (some of the worst too-did someone say 1999?). But, after suffering through another campaign last season where we had no hope of winning the league by the first frost, I can’t see risking our shot at the League for the FA Cup.

Some will say that we need to win ANY trophy at all costs. These are the same people who think Arsene should field our first XI in the Carling Cup. I respect that opinion since it is based on the correct assumption that winning breeds more winning. But I would not be satisfied in the least with a season in which we finished fourth in the league, but won the Carling Cup, or even the FA Cup. And I certainly wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice the League for a Cup competition.

But, I tend to go along with Arsene when he says that the League is always the most important thing because it takes consistency to win the League, not luck. To win a cup competition, even the Champions League, you need luck… But no one wins the league primarily due to luck. Performance in the League over 9 1/2 months and 38 fixtures is true measure of a team’s quality.

Yes, it sucks to go out of the FA Cup in the Fourth Round, but we lasted longer than United and didn’t go out to a Football League side. And, we are now freed up to focus on what really matters… four League matches that will prove more important than every domestic Cup tie we’ve played this season put together… multiplied by 20.


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  1. 7masters

    January 25, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Thanks for making me laugh, After conceding within 70 seconds it amazing we still clawed back. But good Luck to Stoke they fully deserved it. Those who are blame Sol should shut up, What on earth was Denilson doing following a player instead of jumping in. Fabregas should have rested.

    • ArsenalStation

      January 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm

      I actually thought Sol looked pretty good considering he wasn’t match-fit and hadn’t played competitively in months. When he gets his fitness up to par, he will be a useful back-up.

      I thought that Arsenal were more poor than Stoke were good, but our youth didn’t cope well with the pressure of an away Cup tie against a physical team. So much so that even Cesc couldn’t make the difference. I agree with you, I wish that he had rested Cesc as well.

  2. hh

    January 25, 2010 at 11:49 am


  3. Djofils

    January 25, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Great read!!!

  4. ClockEndRider

    January 25, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Surely the funniest thing about yesterday was listening to the idiot commentating. At one point he said that all premiership clubs should employ some northern numpty who holds the world record for distance at throw ins, because Delap was so effective. It is idiocy like this, such stunning poverty of ambition, which helps to perpetuate the failure of the England team to get anywhere meaningful in international tournaments. Can you honestly imagine anyone in Brazil (5 times winners), Italy (4 times) or Germany (3 times) advocating that you build your entire strategy around somethign totally unrelated to skill on the ball?
    KLet’s see how the global audience likes watching Stoke play in the final, should they get there. This is the true test of football. Who wants to watch some Fortean freak show rather than skill, style and panache?

    • ArsenalStation

      January 25, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      The same idiot who criticized Wenger for resting players that needed it. “You should play your best lineup for every match and then worry about the next one, when it comes…” Yeah, that’s called bad management. What an idiot the commentator was.

  5. spit yo game

    January 25, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    But I would not be satisfied in the least with a season in which we finished fourth in the league, but won the Carling Cup, or even the FA Cup.Yeah but arsenal would,don’t you know it’s an achievement finishing 4th every year…

  6. Sambuca

    January 25, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Spit, u’re definately r spud fan! Jus 2 let u kno, firstly, its better come fourth every season b’cos u get in2 da champions league…somethin u lot hav neva had da chance to participate in, so u wudn’t kno da feelin. Secondly, its better 2 come fourth cos it means we not only get more money than u, but also we deserve da right of bein soo soo much better than u.

  7. Daxxjoker

    January 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    First – I agree that winning the league has got all to do with quality.
    Second – my wish came true ! Alex will be available for Man,Chelsea and Liver ! All hail Egypt !
    Third – I’m so glad that we have players like Vela and Theo ! Not that they’re not improving – they’re getting worse by every game.These 2 should go out on loan this summer,and play 40-games season each,in other PL clubs.Not Wilshere – these two.They’re not helping at all,and the lack of playing time is not helping them develop their amazing potential and become important and regular first-11 players for the future.

    I was hoping we would lose – we don’t need extra fixtures.Not with this kinda injury list.

    But now – Wenger and his players will have to prove something to the fans,and the world.That they’re good enough to win PL this season.I know they are,so let’s do it !
    It’s not enough to just be all fired up for the title when talking to reporters.Put that on the pitch ! Show everyone you can do it !
    It will be very important we start well.First game of the crucial period is just 48 and a half hours away ! Our players will have to give their best ! That means – Eduardo can not afford to miss 2 superb chances.Arshavin will have to be in the game all the time – he can not afford to drift in and out of it.Our back four must be strong and concentrated for 96 minutes,or Agbonlahor,Young and the guy I fear the most – Milner – will punish them.From Denilson I only expect to avoid making stupid errors.And Fabregas – he will just have to go out and be Captain Fantastic.Oh – no worries about him – he is already that guy !

    P.S. Sambuca – write normally.Your way is so damn annoying.Thanks.

    • ArsenalStation

      January 25, 2010 at 4:00 pm

      First, you’re right about the text-speak. If we can keep that to a minimum, I’d appreciate it. I’m not 15 years old and have a hard time reading it. 😉

      Second, I understand you when it comes to the loans. I think that the time is quickly arriving when Theo is going to have start showing that he is capable of fulfilling his potential. Vela, whom I think has a brighter future than Walcott, would benefit from a loan but he has already played a full season in La Liga. What he needs is more time playing with Arsenal.

  8. Daxxjoker

    January 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    i know he has played in Primera,that’s why I said he needs a full season loan in PL.That Spanish experience didn’t really help him.In fact,he’s not using any of it,I think.He plays in PL,so it’s not much of a positive that he had a 30 games in Spain in one season.He needs to toughen up,cause PL is another level.Let him play a season for Fulham or Sunderland,and see what kinda great player we have got in the season after.He will own every single right back in the league (being how I think that he can be more useful as a left winger then a striker).
    As for Theo – he was pretty good two seasons ago.Last season – I expected him to break all the chains,unleash hm self and become a true great.That didn’t happen.And this season – he’s done nothing.Yeeeees,I know – injuries.But,dude . . . do something about it ! Get stronger all over the body ! Work in the gym like crazy ! And yeeeees – I know . . . that would take some of his pace out.But he’s got plenty ! And that would be enough to outpace every opponent.Plus – his body won’t allow some small knocks to sideline him for a month.

  9. barry the gooner

    January 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm


  10. Daxxjoker

    January 26, 2010 at 10:56 am

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Such a great news today !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Nasri is back in full trainig !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    He will be available for Manchester,Chelsea and Liver !!!!!!!!!!!!
    We will have Alex back !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I just hope Diaby will be ready for sunday !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    If that’s the case – all of a sudden – we look pretty good !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I don’t think Samir will repeat his show from last season’s clash with United at Emirates – but we sure are stronger with him in starting 11.
    Other stuff – in a few days time – it will be official.We won’t buy any striker for second part of the season and for the future.Wenger says he can’t find anyone.
    Well,ofc.Now,Wenger can’t even buy stupid Nugent for his favorite amount of transfer fee – 8 to 10 mill.
    On the other hand – we have Nicklas back.That’s amazing news.Not ! ! !

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