Arteta must not take any chances in FA Cup v Nottm Forest – Remember 2018?

The FA Cup third round draw will bring back painful memories of January 2018 when we were humiliated 4-2 by Nottingham Forest.

Mr Wenger made the decision that evening to rotate his squad, prioritising the Semi Final of the League Cup days later.

Nearly every player who started at the City Ground didn’t start in the 1st leg at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal are beating Sunderland away from being in the final 4 of this year’s Carabao Cup.

With winning a domestic trophy our most realistic route into Europe the fear is Arteta will feel compelled to prioritize the League Cup.

That fear exists based on what our manager did last season.

Playing Southampton twice within a few days, the Spaniard felt his team couldn’t handle the schedule so essentially sacrificed the FA Cup, our most likely route to silverware.

I vividly recall debating with some Gooners who thought it was good management to play a weak side in the Cup to give us an advantage for the Prem fixture.

The reality was victory in the League still meant we were five points off 4th and 8th in the table.

It was arrogant to suggest that this group of players were even in the conversation for the race for top 4.

Naive to even pretend that could be our reality.

A failure to address where we were at the time.

Within a few weeks, shock horror, we regretted not leaving the FA Cup as a fall-back option when it became obvious that we had nothing to play for in th League.

My first thought on Monday’s draw is a sense of de ja vu.

So let’s save ourselves some time.

By January 2022, I expect us to be in the last 4 of the League Cup and between 6-8 th in the table.

We have a section of a fan base who will then debate that we can put this magic run together which contradicts anything we have seen in years, hence not needing the FA Cup.

The likes of myself will then be called negative for not wanting the Cups to be discarded, and then told we are right when it’s too late.

Semi Finals of the League Cup, 6-8th in the table, neither are reasons to not take the FA Cup serious. In fact it would be a sackable offense not to do so.

The domestic cups are our only route to putting smiles on people’s faces.

Quite simply, we are not good enough to be travelling to even a Championship team without 100 percent focus.

Without European football for the first time in 25 years there is zero reason not to take the Cups serious.

One of the signs of a top boss is learning from their mistakes.

Arteta got burnt in the FA Cup last season while Mr Wenger paid the price for underestimating Forest the last time we played them in the competition.

If history repeats itself, it could cost Arteta his job.

Be Kind in The Comments


Tags FA Cup Nottingham Forest


  1. That’s the 8th of Jan Dan ,you think he will still be in charge ?
    7 games inbetween to ruin everyone’s Xmas with his management style .

  2. It really doesn’t matter though, because certain fans didn’t see winning the Cup as anything special, along with finishing in the top four.
    How times have changed at our club.

    Just to put that Forest loss in to perspective though, it was the first time in over two decades that The Arsenal failed to progress past the third round…. no other PL team can say that.

    It was, of course, a terrible game and, in my opinion, hastened the decision by AW to stand down just a few weeks later.

    If MA loses, one wonders if he will also put the club first, or continue to try and make the process work, by using some of his magician skills?

    1. Hi Ken

      I suppose your first paragraph has 3points
      1. Winning the FA cup is an achievement, but diluted by CL.
      2. I reckon the fans wanted to “compete for the league”, after finishing top4 so many times.(so 4th spot was frowned upon)
      3. If we finish 4th now for five consecutive seasons, point 2 will come into play…

      I don’t think MA will quit because it will look bad on he’s CV, but if he finishes 8th, he could/should leave and then manage historically mid table teams in the prem, or go abroad having managed a huge club.

    2. it wasn’t that I did not appreciate a top 4 finish, it was just that the club, ownership, and even some players settled for top 4 like it was the season’s goal.

      There was no real effort to push on and compete for the title, or go deeper in the CL.

      Too many times positions were not upgraded, average players stayed at the club too long, and not ruthless enough.

      It was obvious we would eventually get overtaken by more ambitious clubs and ownership as money continued to flood into the league; a blind man could see that coming down the road.

  3. We still need to push for a top four finish, until it’s impossible to achieve. Our fringe and squad rotation players are good enough to make us go to the next round of FA Cup

    1. Yes. Arsenal have been good at home this season with only one lose to Chelsea. I don’t see Southhamption posing any problem. If Arteta and the players can’t pick up themselves after two loses, then I don’t see any hope in top 4 or 6. Should we lose to the Saints then the players would find it had to pick up themselves.

  4. I don’t think MA will quit he is on £5m a year!! And I’m not too concerned about the FA Cup, we’ve got 14 of them, they should rename it the Wenger Cup. Much better to concentrate on trying to get back into the UCL. Not much chance this season though.

  5. Sometimes I struggle to understand your position Dan.

    You keep saying that this season it’s top 4-5 in the EPL.

    I don’t recall you saying that the objective was to win a cup this season.

    If AFC finish 7th in the EPL and win the FA cup you will be asking for Arteta’s scalp, won’t you?

    Finishing 7th and winning the FA cup would be a failure for me. Yes winning the FA cup is nice but we’re in a re-building process, the priority is to be making progress in the EPL and finish in the top 4 ASAP.

    It makes sense to give a couple of academy players and a couple of back up players a chance when facing a League 1 or Championship club in the cup. That gives them extremely valuable experience and we should keep our best starting 11 fresh for the vital EPL games coming up.

    1. My position is this
      We clearly won’t finish in the top 4 will we so therefore priortise the cups
      At least we then see a team win something

      1. We are not favourites to finish 4th but are only 5 points off target and not even half way trough the season.
        We are still in the race.

          1. Our young squad have more potential for development than Wolves’.
            I still wouldn’t totally rule them out.
            Did you think West Ham were contenders a few months ago?

  6. Arsenal is not currently in a position, where it can arrogantly decide to not compete agressively in any competition. No trophy should be undervalued by playing an under strength team.

      1. LeGunner, not fielding “understrength” doesn’t mean there can be no rotation of players. Why shouldn’t Balogun be selected, if other players aren’t scoring goals?

        1. Agreed Ozzie. What I meant is I’d like to see some players like Balogun, AMN, Holding, Chambers or Leno in the cup starting line-ups.
          They wouldn’t normally fit in our strongest starting 11 and cup games are good opportunities for them to get some playing time.
          When we play Sunderland this month it would be madness to use our best starting 11 in such a busy and vital EPL period

  7. “If history repeats itself, it could cost Arteta his job.” So a defeat would be a bad thing short term, as a supporter, but a good thing long term

  8. I don’t particularly recall ManC not taking the Carabao Cup seriously so if a top club fights on all fronts then Arsenal should do the same. The aim is to win and keep winning regardless of the perceived value of the trophy. I’d like to think that engendered motivation- a will to succeed- something that is currently in short supply.
    If we were to go out of the FA Cup in the 3rd round that would be a disastrous.
    I would be seriously worried that without a decent cup run our season could sink without trace if the league position over the Xmas holidays doesn’t show positive signs of improvement. I have accepted 2 very mediocre years to give Arteta a chance, but a third would make any possibility of a return to the big time yet another year further away at best.

  9. As we aren’t playing any European competitions, there should be much less need to rotate, and we can play our best available 11 in nearly every game.

  10. Is it fair to torture Arsenal supporters any more with Arteta as the lead torturer? He has not got the faintest idea how to change our club and team into a dominating force. In 2 years we have better players but are playing exactly the same football. Does that not tell you ARTETA is stuck? As a supporter I want Arsenal to win every game. As a feeling/thinking man I hope something will happen that gets Arteta out of his deluded tactics, poverty struck football coaching, and inability to man manage….to see him given his marching orders. Surely the honest amongst us cannot cover up this Arsenal ‘Greek’ Tragedy. HONESTY. Arteta is just not working. I wish him a good life, but here at the Emirates he is the WRONG man in the wrong job. 2 years on and the same old, same old. It’s time to end his misery whether we beat Notts Forest or not. Surely it’s over.

  11. Both the FA Cup and the League Cup have to be taken seriously. Arsenal is not in a position wherein it can make choices. Also, I agree about the notion of giving fringe players a chance in the Cup games, like Balogun, AMN, Chambers and Holding and also Lenno. They stand little chance of playing the main EPL games so they can play the Cup games atleast to improve their game and their confidence.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs