Do FA cup wins really back up Wenger´s Arsenal EPL claims?

It was not much more than a year ago, but I remember it like yesterday; Arsenal had somehow managed to go two goals behind to Hull City before 10 minutes were on the clock and but for a goal line clearance from Kieran Gibbs, we could have been staring down the barrel of yet another failure in a major final.

It felt as though we had blown it and that the nerves and the pressure of ending that horrible wait for a trophy had gotten to the players, but as we know the lads did us proud; fighting hard and finally showing the class we knew they were capable of and the mental strength and fighting qualities that had been called into question more than once.

Those battling qualities, work ethic and team spirit were put under attack again last week, when Gary Neville tore into us and said we lacked the grit and determination to win the Premier League. Arsene Wenger took exception to that and pointed to our back to back FA cup trophy wins to prove his point, as reported by the Daily Mail.

The Frenchman said, “We won the Cup last year. You don’t win the Cup unless you are mentally strong, believe me. That’s why I don’t agree with that.

“You have to respect everybody’s opinion. Pundits are just people who are filmed by a camera and give their opinion and you have to accept that but if a pundit gives an opinion and is not right in six months, nobody will come back and say: `well, why did you say that six months ago? You were completely wrong´.”

However, the facts are that Arsenal have not even been runners up in the EPL since the season after the invincibles did the seemingly impossible. While there are pretty good and well documented reasons for that, will our mental strength continue to be questioned until Wenger does steer the Gunners to the title once more? And if so, is that a fair criticism?


    1. Don’t belittle our feat. We deserved the victory in fa cup. All big teams played fa cup .. tried hard to win.. didn’t win it.. we did. Remember we beat united at the old f $#ng Trafford.

      1. @phylex is right. only the best team wins the league. winning the fa cup last year doesn’t really mean that you’ll win the league this year.Even winning the league last season doesn’t make you favorites this season. Look at chelsea.

  1. Can we please forget about the epl, we ain’t gunna win it this season…at least. A 3rd successful FA cup? And maybe a league cup and and a final appearance in the UCL? #ArsenalIsBae

    1. Final appearance in the UCL?Barcelona,Bayern,Real Madrid,Juventus,PSG,Chelsea,Man City,Atletico Madrid even Porto all these teams are more likely to make a final appearance ahead of Arsenal so stop dreaming!

    2. #Mozart,
      Yes right our team under Wenger and his transfer policy of no spending will never win EPL. all we could hope for is league cup and FA. As for ECL we should be expecting another year bog humiliation in the hands of Bayernband others. Platinum put the dagger on the back of English teams depriving them from Top seed, so we have to tough it up with top clubs. As longs Wenger is running Arsenal we have 2 enemies in one Greedy owners and Wenger. Wenger out.

  2. I think it goes back to the van persie deal where Wenger sold a ready made cloth perfect for a goalscoring situation went to United and arsenal at that juncture did not need a top quality striker but moving into 2015 arsenal definitely need a striker but Wenger wants somebody who can do it and be relied upon till the whole team gets motivated and gets good patch of form themselves

  3. Winning any trophy, especially after such a long time is fantastic, but does a cup win or two mean a club is progressing or that we’re seeing a great team? Not always.

    Portsmouth won the FA cup years ago, and were almost out of business not long after. Wigan recently upset the odds by beating Man City in the FA cup final, and were relegated in the same season, and have since been relegated again. These are just two examples of cups wins that didn’t mean progression, and I feel the same can be said of Arsenal.

    Back-to-back FA cups has been fantastic, but have we seen progression from Arsenal in relation to Europe and the league, not for me. First of all, winning the League cup or the FA cup is a million miles away from winning the league. You can win either of the two cups without even facing a decent team, it’s the luck of the draw. For example, last years cup success for Arsenal was probably the luckiest and easiest trophy Wenger’s ever won. Every round, apart from the Man Utd game, was a complete walkover given the poor opposition we were drawn against. We even had huge luck winning the Utd game, as they gifted us the winning goal and Di Maria got himself sent off. Don’t get me wrong, we did play well on the day, but luck was definitely the deciding factor. Man City and Chelsea inexplicably lost at home to lower league opposition, and even Liverpool were beaten in the semi-final by a team on the verge of relegation! Arsenal couldn’t have had it any easier. Even the year before, we had a fair bit of luck with the draw. We did have to beat better teams in Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool, but all ties were at the Emirates, and we avoided Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd.

    My point is, the league is the best and the fairest way of establishing if a team really progressing. All teams play each other twice (which means you have to face the toughest opponents), there’s no replays, no penalty shoot-outs, no extra time, and no away goals rule. Cup competitions are short, where as the league is over 38 games. With the league, you see truth, the cups can be deceptive.

    So have Arsenal been progressing? Barely! Last season we gained less points and had the same amount of defeats (7) than the season before, but with a much stronger squad. Even worse, was that we only gained two points more and the same amount of defeats (7) last season, compared to the 12/13 season, when we had even a weaker squad back then! No Ozil and Sanchez in that season. Considering Wenger’s delusional actions in the transfer window, I think we’ll struggle to get past 75 points this season.

    We’ve also been going backwards in Europe for many years. I think a lot of fans, including myself, thought Arsenal’s exit in the last 16 each season was fair enough given the quality opposition we kept facing. But last year we were given the easiest tie (Monaco), who were also injury ravaged for the first leg, whilst we had almost our first choice starting XI available. Our team had way more quality than Monaco’s, and yet, we still lost! Progression? No way!!

    1. Why are you belittling the achievements of these teams winning the oldest trophy in the world? Is like they did not played at least 12 games to actually win the trophy.
      Also, this year the top teams will make even less points, TV rights made sure the competition is leveling out.
      In the end of the day what it matters are the results. Arsenal finished 3rd and won the FA Cup. It is called progression from any angle you look at it. Hard to accept or understand but this is how things are.

      1. @Budd

        You’ve missed my point entirely. I am not belittling winning the FA cup or even the league cup for that matter. I was just explaining in detail how winning the cups as nothing to do with progression or that we have a great team, in terms of winning the tough competitions such as: league and Champions League.

        If winning back-to-back FA cups IS a sign of improvement, then how on earth did get less points in the league than the season before, and with a stronger squad! Why has there been almost no improvement comparing to the 12/13 season. How did we lose to Monaco? Even if you want to ignore Wenger’s classic first leg gung-ho tactics, and blame Giroud and Mertesacker for the Monaco defeat, ask yourself this – who signed them? Who plays them almost every game, irrespective of form? How on earth are they still first team regulars?

        My over riding point, is that Wenger is just not good enough any more and the FA cup wins have just simply papered over the cracks.

        1. @ ThirdManJW thank you for your words of wisdom, you spoke for every ARSENAL fan who looks forward to something more, well except for WENGER’s troll BUDD who always has an argument and that insists to defend the indefensible, no matter how absurd his logic sounds.

    2. Your comparing arsenal winning back to back Fa cups while adding world class players to an already talented squad who has learned how to play against the big teams to f*ckin Portsmouth and Wigan?

      Then you had the nerve to say our victory at old trafford was luck? This site is getting worse and worse i can’t believe what I just read you clearly have no respect or no idea what your talking about.

  4. “if a pundit gives an opinion and is not right in six months, nobody will come back and say: `well, why did you say that six months ago? You were completely wrong”

    Two seasons ago, Arsenal was leading the league, but pundits kept insisting Arsenal won’t win the league, the pundits were right. Pundits have been insisting for a very long time that this Arsenal team (without replacements for Vieira and RVP) doesn’t have what it takes to win the league, the pundits have been spot on all along. Honestly ask yourself this question: Do you think this Arsenal team can win the title next year???

    1. With Wenger as manager Arsenal will never win the league again,he lacks the ambition and killer instinct of league winning managers!

    2. What you conveniently omit to say is that in that season pundits were saying Arsenal will finish outside top five, with teams like Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United, and Tottenham tipped to finish above Arsenal. The pundits tipped Chelsea to win the league based on the Mourinho factor. Midway into the season they tipped Arsenal to finish second or third, while Chelsea and Man City were tipped to win the league. In February they tipped Liverpool to win the league, while Arsenal were tipped to finish outside top four, with Everton given the blessings to finish fourth. Come end of season Man City finished first followed by Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal. The gap between Arsenal and the winners was 7 points, probably the smallest gap between champions and fourth placed team in years.

      So in essence you cannot the pundits were right in their predictions, not even for a period of a month.

  5. Arsenal, stable or stalled?
    Is top 4 enough or is only
    winning the EPL enough?
    This seems to be the basis of every
    topic on this site for years.
    I think Arsenal should have won at least
    one EPL title in the past 4 seasons.
    11 years without the title is not good enough.
    Wenger must win the EPL or ECL
    this season or step down….

    1. You can quote me on this “there is no way Arsenal will win the league or champions league with Wenger as manager” come May it will be the same cries as always every season,we had too many injuries,we should have signed a striker etc

  6. How can U even equate fa cup to league? How many number of games do U play in fa cup compared to the league? This shows Wenger is out of touch with realities… One fact is Sure, U CANT WIN THE LEAGUE WITH GIROUD AS UR MAIN STRIKER…. N-E-V-E-R!!!!!
    Wenger Out!!

  7. The reality is that we finished 12pts behind the league leaders and 4 games into what was suppose to be a rossy season we are already 5pts adrift! Now let’s start with what went wrong for us the other season….mmmh injuries(not news and infact we already are in it),lack of a proper dm until the new yr(le coq emergence who desperately needed a back up) , lack of a lethal striker(giroud’s injury noted though obviously not good enough and the sole reason even wenger himself needed a new striker) and finally lack of depth in key positions(CBs,DM and yes a CF). Did we address some or any of this issues??? If partly or not then what is it that make us hopeful???notin that chelsea and city finished 12pts and 5pts respectively ahead of us and have further strengthened what do we think is the advantage we have against this teams???only time will tell!

    1. What a lame analysis. Arsenal scored 2 goals less than the eventual winners, so what are you harping about on the lack of a lethal striker? The rest are self manufactured reasons so that you can find a basis for your usual negativity. I could also argue that if Arsenal had not conceded one goal more goal against Hull City, One at home against Tottenham, one away to Leisceter, one away to man united, one more at home against Man City, and two away to Swansea (a total of seven goals), Arsenal could have become champions last season.

      Based on the above basis I would then go on to argue that Arsenal needed to address its defensive department this season. The club bought Gabriel in January, a world class keeper in the summer window, and coquelin is as best as they can get. Arteta is an adequate back up for Francis, regardless of what you think. In conclusion I would say Arsenal addressed the areas that led to them finishing 12 points behind the eventual champions. In short anyone can create his/her basis for making an argument.

      Coming to the tired argument that Man City who finished above us have strengthened, the question is so what? Only 11 players can be on the pitch at any point in time. Of the three additions City have made, only one has played so far, just like in the Arsenal team where one summer addition has played in the first four games. City’s new acquisition, apart from scoring once, has not had any major impact in their results, while Cech has had a major impact in the results against Liverpool. Man City’s great performance is thus attributable to the bunch of players they had last season, who finished 7 points behind the eventual winners. If the same Man City squad could make such a tremendous improvement, with no additions, why shouldn’t Arsenal players do the same, especially when they were the best team of the second half of the season.

      Chelsea is already 3 points behind Arsenal as we speak, hence we are better than them already despite them buying one starter, and three bench warmers.

      1. What an idiotic analogy by an idiot AKB. What if that goal here and there for so many games what if I won a lottery band be a millionaire!!!!! You are so brainless that even 6 months of Wenger mental institutions would not help. What if Real, Barcelona and all go bankrupt and we become the master of Europe. Wow so many idiots in the world called AKB.

        1. Everyone knows who an idiot is between the one who puts his/her argument without making insults and labeling, and the one whole arguments are based on insults and labeling. You read my argument, you will note that I am saying anyone can create a basis for an argument but that does not make the argument sound. Your genius Kempinski argued that we did not win the league last year because, in part we lacked a lethal striker. He/she pointed out that we were 12 points behind because of those factors. I simply put an alternative scenario where we could have won the league by conceding seven less goals, to demonstrate how weak his/her argument is, and the genius Ezat is threatening to commit suicide.

  8. I think Goonsquad8 has aptly put it that this website is becoming worse and worse. Perhaps it is not the site but the contributors who have turned mediocrity into a trade! Those of us who have been watching the English game for some time know exactly what the FA trophy means to many English people. Its importance can be seen from the glamour that accompanies the FA final where the Royal Family’s representative is always the guest of honour.
    There is a level of ignorance that some people who don’t know the symbolic meaning of certain things exhibit and pretend that they know it all. Nobody in his right mind can demean the FA trophy! The fact that some teams like Birmingham and Wigan won it does not remove its importance. Blackburn Rovers also won the EPL in 1991-92 but was relegated from the Premier league a few seasons back. Does that make the EPL less important? It is even more disappointing for self-professed Arsenal supporters to demean the achievements of the team simply because they hate Wenger. Is that logical? If you hate Wenger that is your business but to demean a club’s achievements because of Wenger is very cheap. That way you will have crossed the line between hatred for an individual and spite for the team!
    I wish to reiterate that since the EPL was launched in 1991-92 only the following five teams have won it: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Blackburn Rovers. So should the other teams stop participating in EPL or should their supporters stop watching their games and paying for their match tickets? Interestingly, on every match day you will find all stadiums full of happy and cheering supporters who even know they have no chance of winning the league! Perhaps such supporters pose a challenge to our fickle fans who are so myopic! True sportsmanship is not only about winning but actively participating and deriving pleasure from sports. By the way many of those teams have not won any trophy in a long time, if ever, but still their fans are very exuberant and supportive of their teams unlike some of our sulking fans! If some of our naysayers could learn from these other fans it would be greatly beneficial. There is no owner, manager, player or fan that is bigger than the club! Hence whoever feels he is unhappy with the situation at Arsenal can save himself from it by either withdrawing his support or switching allegiance to another club. It is all a question of choice but you can’t fight the team you claim as your own from within through negative propaganda. It shows lack of manners and class!

  9. You have to give yourself the best chance to win the league, and by not strengthening the team, we are not considered to be seriously in the running for the EPL title.

    Of course we can win it, but we haven’t increased our odds whatsoever, so for me it will be down to others failing rather than any stonking run of wins on our part.

    I don’t see being realistic as being negative, I’m just not deluding myself that we have anything other than an outside chance.

  10. Regardless of the fact that I believe Wenger sabotaged our season by not getting a Top striker. He has built a decent strong team that’s capable of 3rd/fourth place. We have 5 World Class players. We lack a leader type player but we are still strong.

    The fact that we won the FA Cup back to back is an amazing feat. An average team doesn’t win the FA Cup back to back and rarely wins the FA Cup at all

    So even though I want Wenger OUT, I still appreciate all the trophies he has helped us win including the back to back FA Cups

    But now I want the PL and CL trophies

    (Btw we also won Two community shields back to back lol)

  11. Neville is angry about Arsenal because Neville respects Arsenal (even likes us). Unlike Chelsea we play beautiful football, and unlike City we are not his hated rivals. He is frustrated Wenger does not do what Neville feels is the obvious solution because Neville is a stalwart of the strong dogged player. He wants Wenger to buy some imposing players who will win games through physicality if they don’t win it by skill. Wenger’s approach is totally different to this. This is on what these two are truly arguing; Wenger uses the cup as an example against Neville but Neville isn’t really belittling our ability to win games, but rather, that in the long run of a whole season it is more likely for us to drop points due to relying purely on skill which is far more linked to form then something like physicality.

    When Neville says there is not enough “steel” in the midfield, he isn’t referring to a willingness to buckle down, run hard and make life difficult for the opposition. He is referring VERY specifically to an ability to win the ball through imposing yourself on your opposition. It is a tactic that is very viable and you see most of the top teams using players who are powerful to the utmost. Chelsea have Terry, Costa and Matic. City have Kompany and Toure. These are players who “let you know they are there” and can make a good player worse for it. To a large extent I agree with this BUT if you watch Coquelin he has this in spades. The problem is our other players are so unimposing that when they are out of form, they have nothing to fall back on. Even on his worst day Toure can power through a team simply by kicking the ball and running because he is stronger and faster then most. If Cazorla is having a bad day can he do the same? No. If he is not intercepting the ball before it gets to a player because he isn’t reading the game, is he going to win the 50-50 for strength? No.

    Across our team we have an abundance of players who rely on their technique and skill as opposed to their physical attributes. I can point to two players who this is not the case for: Giroud and Theo. Theo uses his pace and that’s a constant. Giroud uses his size and his jump – also a constant. But these factors are not there for a majority of our players. Ramsey, Wilshere, Santi, Ozil, Mertesacker, Monreal, Alex and even Koscielny to an extent are VERY reliant on their ability mentally and physically. We have no “raw” players who get by on physical attributes alone (bar the aforementioned 2). Even Coquelin – our most steelied player, is not physically as fast or strong or tall as other midfielders and is usually relying on his dogged attitude to get by which against top opposition isn’t always enough.

    The jist of it is – ignore what Wenger is saying. It’s an irrelevant comment. Clearly Arsenal have got grit, determination, cohesion and a wonderful work ethic. I don’t think Neville denies that. What we don’t have is raw, undiluted power, pace or strength. We have it mixed in there, but always underlined with skill and ability. A couple of more raw talents who share in the skill and ability would greatly aid our team – players like your Kondogbias. I think Schneiderlin would have added this more as a replacement for Santi then a replacement for Coq though. Up top we have the same issue – we really need someone who can be physically imposing AND fast enough to break the line. Options are great, but keeping the defense guessing at all times is better.

    Needless to say, Arsenal are far stronger then 3 seasons ago. I understand Neville’s frustration and I understand the frustration of Arsenal fans too, but the belittling of the FA Cup wins on here is sick. To say it is a worthless trophy or a second rate trophy is just to walk over history. It’s an achievement as long as teams fight for it, and every team fought for it. We won. Accept that Arsenal did something great. At least we’re not the forever underachievers of certain other clubs!

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