I am fairly sure that a large percentage of Arsenal fans are finding it hard to get enthused about the defence of the FA cup trophy, because two points from the last three Premier League games has left the Gunners down in third place and our challenge for the Premier League title looking a lot less assured than it was a couple of weeks ago.
So most of us expect and will accept it if Arsene Wenger rests a lot of first team players for the 4th round game against Burnley on Saturday, as we are desperate for a win against Southampton next Tuesday. Having said all that, I think that a win in the FA cup, or at the very least a positive performance, could do us the world of good, confidence and morale wise.
And we should not just ignore the fact that Arsenal are chasing a very notable record in winning the famous old competition three times in a row. So how does Wenger balance these things? I think he needs to make sure that the team he picks, both fringe players and first team regulars alike, are sent out with the freedom to play and enjoy their football, without any fear that they will be blamed if we go out of the competition.
And a lot of the Gunners involved are likely to be desperate for more game time, so the likes of David Ospina, Calum Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs, Iwobi, Chamberlain and the new signing Mohamed Elneny should be up for it anyway. Finally the boss needs to instill in them a sense of the magic of the cup and get them feeling that Arsenal are sort of the underdogs for the game because of the current situation.
Is that the best way for Arsenal to focus on the FA cup?