Arsenal aren’t a mere cup-winning side – there’s more to them – but, at a time when it’s increasingly looking like neither the Premier League nor the UEFA Champions League give Arsenal a realistic chance (eight points behind Leicester City and a 2-0 deficit to overcome against Barcelona at the Camp Nou) of their first major piece of silverware since 2003/04, the FA Cup is all of a sudden seeming to be a priority and an indispensable part of the Gunners’ plans.
As it stands, there’s no reason why Arsenal mustn’t be in the semi-finals at least, with first Hull City in the way at the KC Stadium in the fifth-round and then Watford at home in the quarter finals. Surely, Arsene Wenger’s side should be able to go through. If not, we may as well not see Arsene Wenger next season which is why the fifth-round replay against an old FA Cup acquaintance has a special significance for the Frenchman.
The last time these two met, Eldin Jakupovic stood in the way as the goalkeeper put in a sterling performance, making 11 saves (21 shots in total) to almost single-handedly ensure a draw in what could otherwise have been a pure trouncing. As good as the goalkeeper was, the finishing from Arsenal wasn’t very good which is generally the case with the Gunners. If that’s the case again come Tuesday, you never know what may happen since this is “The FA Cup”
Going into this game, there’s no doubt as to who will be under more pressure. Hull City aren’t the club with the highest cash reserves in the world – Arsenal are; they aren’t the ones chasing big trophies either – Arsenal are (promotion to the Premier League would mean success for them, the fans as well as the manager Steve Bruce). It’s almost like history is repeating itself as Arsene Wenger sees himself on the verge prior to an FA Cup match against Hull City.
The last time we had a similar scenario, Arsenal and Hull City were both about to play an FA Cup final at Wembley. A win back then saved Wenger, and only a win would save him this time too, provided that Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur don’t remarkably blow their advantage away to clear the way for Arsenal’s Premier League ambitions, but that’s a matter of a big “if”, in which case, the bitter truth that the FA Cup stands to be the North Londoners’ only realistic chance “as of now” of a silverware can’t be objected.