I think we are all close to accepting that Arsenal have very little chance of gaining enough ground in the Premier league to get us all excited, but the Gunners have always had a love affair with the FA Cup to keep our interest up until the end of the season, having won it 3 times in the last 6 seasons.
Obviously most people accept that the Premier League is the most important competition to get finished, but, if that gets completed without any major catastrophes, will there be still time for clubs to then complete the remaining rounds of the FA cup as the big season finale?
The FA Chairman Greg Clarke has already written to all its clubs and told them the extent of their budget cuts starting from next season. He wrote: “Whilst we would all like to see football return in the coming weeks, the health of our communities and the protection of the NHS must remain our priority and we will continue to be led by Government advice as we work together with stakeholders from across the game to assess any potential restart.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant financial impact on all sectors of society and sadly football is one of many sports to have been affected as a consequence.
“I want to assure you that we are committed to supporting the game as a whole through this crisis; especially the lower echelons, where the impact has been felt most acutely.”
“Having worked through the numbers with Mark (Bullingham) and the executive team, the Board has agreed that a sensible cut to the annual budget is £75m. In a worst-case scenario, this would be necessary for the next four years to offset a £300m deficit.
“Clearly that will impact many of our plans as every area of the game will be touched and projects that we all value will be affected. There is no other way and I ask for all of you to help us to build this revised plan.”
This is a big blow to the lower league clubs who get enormous support from the FA, and Mark Bullingham, the governing body’s chief executive, told FA Council members on Thursday that he wants the FA Cup completed so as to relieve some of the financial shortfalls, and he also wants the semis and the Final to be played at Wembley.
There are very interesting matchups in the quarter finals, with this being the previously scheduled ties….
Leicester City v Chelsea
Newcastle United v Manchester City
Sheffield United v Arsenal
Norwich City v Manchester United
Obviously because there are literally only 7 games remaining to finish the competition, it could probably be arranged by having a mini tournament after the League gets completed.
This is all conjecture at the moment, but the fact is that completing the TV schedules could free up more money for the grassroots game that is funded by the FA. And could it also mean we still have a chance of Mikel Arteta ending the season on a high?