So Arsenal will begin their defence of the FA Cup away at Championship side Nottingham Forest, who have had great success in the past when Brian Clough was the manager, and have even won two more European Cups than Arsenal! The Forest legend Gary Birtles, who played in both those massive Finals, thinks that Arsene Wenger will be wary of playing a weakened side at the City ground. “It’s a great draw for the fans, and for the players it’s a chance for them to showcase their ability against a top team,” Birtles told the Nottingham Post.
“They don’t always play their full strength sides early on in the FA Cup, the big boys, but Arsenal might put out a strong team.
“They’re the defending champions, they are not going to want to get knocked out by Forest.
“I’m sure they will want to put up a strong defence of the Cup they won last season.
“It’s a proud thing to be able to say you defended something, I know that from when we defended the European Cup.
“I also know how it feels to get knocked out in the first round when you’re the holders. It’s a massive blow, and Arsenal won’t want that.”
“Nobody will expect Forest to win, there will be no expectation on the players’ shoulders so they can relax and go out there at full pelt,” added Birtles.
“It’s going to be a great occasion for the club.
“For Mark Warburton, it will be a chance to pit his wits against one of the best, in Arsene Wenger, and he will relish that.
“And if you look at the crowds Forest are getting already at home because of their performances in the league, you would expect it to be a sell out.”
“Everybody will want to play in it,” he said.
“Every player wants to play in the big games, and the Forest players will be no different.
“But it’s not going to be easy, Arsenal will not want to get knocked out by Forest.”
It may be an interesting tie, but Arsenal, who have only lost one FA cup tie in the last four years, should be reasonably confident of winning in Nottingham, but it is a cup game, and anything can happen!