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Arsenal v Liverpool. Who needs the FA Cup?

By Tony Attwood

So we play Liverpool, once more at home.  Will it be Friday, Saturday or Sunday?  Who knows.

What we do know is that us season ticket holders now have to pay to go and watch the much more important and exciting Arsenal v Bayern because we only get six Cup tickets in our season ticket allocation a year.  Bit of a bugger that.

There’s been a lot of chit chat in the media about what to do about the FA Cup.  The biggest problem for the FA is that it is selling a product billed as the most famous cup competition in the world to a media from whom top prices to show the game are being screwed, and then presenting half full stadia to the TV audience.

Meanwhile lots of people don’t care too much.   Survival in the Premier League, and beyond that, reaching the top four, are far more important projects for the bigger clubs, so they don’t always play their full squads.  But anyway most of the time the top teams are so far ahead of their lower league colleagues that it is a good thing they take it easy to avoid cricket scores.

It is hard to escape the view that an awfully large number of people simply don’t care too much about the FA Cup.  Worse, it is a distraction.

Certainly the Premier League don’t care, putting on their own matches as soon as possible once the FA Cup games are over.

Meanwhile the FA are killing off the competition with over exposure.  Where once we had every game in each round played at 3pm on the saturday, now, as we know to our cost, it starts on Friday night, stumbles through Saturday lunchtime and (again as we know) Saturday evening, and finally bores itself into the ground by 5.30 on Sunday.

Impact?  None at all.

BBC Radio 5 Live has been asking anyone who happens to tune in to text in their notions as to what should be done about the Cup.   “Give a Champions League place to the winners” is a popular answer – but that would only diminish the value of the Champions League, and spread the lack of interest even further afield.   The Champions League may not be full of Champions but at least it is full of teams who did quite well over 34 or more matches, not six matches, as is the case for the FA Cup winner.

And besides if one of the regulars in the Champs League wins, what then?  The runner up.  Or the best losing semi-finalist?

And that’s the problem – in the days of multiple competitions the domestic cups are always second best because they are much more related to pure chance, than the league.

In my view, and of course it is just my view, we should do nothing about the FA Cup, not because it is perfect (obviously not) but because fading competitions should be left to fade away or naturally to find its own level.

I’ve been to see Cup matches this year from the qualifying rounds through to the 4th, and of course will be there at the 5th, and hopefully thereafter.   They have all been interesting games, and I know that they have been enjoyed by the non-league club supporters as much as I enjoyed the Coventry game.

So let the cup go on, but let it find its own level.  If TV kill it, fair enough – its the FA’s fault.  But ideally stop mucking about.

Anyway, Arsenal v Liverpool.   Not bad eh?

28 comments to Arsenal v Liverpool. Who needs the FA Cup?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Strange draw, top four drawn together! Still will take anyone at home. Let’s hope the other two have a gruelling game, and replay

  • In a month that already sees us play United, Liverpool and Bayern, we could’ve really done with Sheffield Wednesday at home for the FA Cup…

    February will demand a lot of the players as it sees us face quality opposition every 3 days :/

    Here’s hoping we make it through the month top of the league, with a place in the quarters of the FA Cup and the chance to go to Germany with something to play for!

    UP THE ARSE!!

  • GMV8

    It was odd – I thought initially when our name was pulled at home – oh good, we’re at home – let’s hope we just don’t get 14 (Liverpool), chances are we won’t as there was about a one in 14 chance, and bang what do we get?

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    After the turgid game Chelsea played today, can’t see them getting anything against the Oilers. The “Chosen One” has certainly mastered the art of parking the bus and isn’t it boring! If Stoke had any decent players they could easily have got something from that game.

    Bit of a bugger having to pay extra for Byern though, I know which one I’d rather have included in the season ticket price.

  • jambug

    The FA Cup has lost it’s magic simply because it’s importance, relative to the juggernaut that is the premier League, has diminished so much.

    The Premier League, for all it’s flaws, is a magnificent and compelling competition in which the rewards for success, even relative success, are enormous and the penalties for failure can be catastrophic.

    This is why Wenger had it right all along, because 4th place, and the CL football that it brings, is infinitely more important to a Club like Arsenal than the FA Cup is. As is just surviving for many others. But more damning even than that is the fact that promotion from or survival in the Championship, and possibly even League one for some, is more important, hence the half empty stadiums across so many of the ties.

    Yes for some it can be a financial lifeline but as a rule it gets in the way of the ‘real business’ and that’s league status and the ultimate goal of reaching, or staying in, the Holy Grail that is the PL.

    It might be sad but it’s the price you pay for having such an enormous, all consuming primary competition. It renders everything else virtually irrelevant.

  • Solly

    Sad indeed. If all that matters is the “big business” and financial reward then why not just follow a stock exchange. I for one prefer trophies.

  • Jenkinson

    Participants in the Champions League and the Europa Cup should be withdrawn from the FA Cup.
    This would open up the competition for the lesser teams and reduce the fixture congestion which is so damaging to the top teams.

  • colario

    I have heard on Radio 5 the various ideas as to how to revamp interest in the FA Cup.

    One idea I like but I have not completely thought it through is the winning teams in each round are credited with a league point. This would need the agreement of the various ‘lower’ leagues and there are a many of them.

    It would create I think a greater interest in the Cup. Especially by the Championship and Premier league clubs, for whom every point is valuable and could mean a big difference in money awarded to them at the end of the season. It might mean the end of fielding weaker cup teams.

  • bjtgooner

    This will be a difficult match in the middle of a sequence of difficult matches and Liverpool do have a number of serial divers on their books, not a good factor. However, it is a home tie, let’s be confident.

    I agree with the comments about over exposure, the rearrangement of fixtures to suit TV companies/broadcasting has become too dominant, to the detriment of sensible time for physical and mental rest,recovery and preparation between matches.

  • jambug

    colario

    I don’t agree. I think Tony has it right when he says it should be left to just find it’s own level. You cant ‘force’ something to be more important than it is. The only way it can return to anything like it’s former glory is if the importance of the PL diminishes, and I cant see that happening anytime soon.

    As an aside, reading my first post you would think I didn’t care about the FA Cup and whether we win it or not. Nothing could be further from the truth. I care passionately about every single competition we enter. I’m disappointed if we don’t win any pre season tournaments we enter. I was gutted losing to Chelsea in the C1C. But as I say, it’s all relative.

    If we won the FA Cup and/or the C1C I would be ecstatic. If it was at the cost of even just qualification for CL football I would be gutted.

    Some may think that a little sad but that’s how I see it.

  • jambug

    Andrew Crawshaw

    100% with you on your assessment of Chelsea, yet the TV commentators was loving every minute of it.

    If we’d huffed and puffed our way to a one nil over a diabolical Stoke side we’d of been slaughtered.

    OK they had a couple more chances but as you say it WAS turgid. It WAS boring.

    As usual the chosen one can do no wrong.

  • nicky

    Compared to the Premier and other Leagues, the FA Cup pales into relative insignificance. So much depends on the draw.
    I remember one year in the 50’s when Arsenal won the Cup, never having left London.

  • bc

    For me the league cup is the problem not the fa cup. Here is what I would do. I would scrap the European place for the league cup and not allow premier league teams to field players from their 25 man squad. I would then keep premier league teams that are in europe out of the fa cup until round 4. There would be no replays. Both teams making the final would qualify for the Europa league with the winners playing the 4th place team in the final.

  • Mandy Dodd

    How long until Roman gets fed up with that style of football….after all, he did before, and let’s not forget Jose was not his first choice, that was a guy who played very different football. Chelsea have some very good players, amazed he has to play like that with the talent he has available, or in his reach. Guess he has a formula that works for him and the media that suck up to him, what it will yield remains to be seen

  • Brickfields Gunners

    It will be intresting to see the outcome of ManShitty vs Chelski games in the space of 2 weeks .
    I was watching last night’s game and just couldn’t understand why Stoke didn’t up their game . Chelski were crap and Stoke weren’t even intrested .I felt pity for their traveling fans ( albeit momentarily !). I was even hoping that they hoof it into the box -Pullis style , but they seem more intent to keep the score low !
    How Hazzard was not booked for diving , I ‘d never know !

  • Armin

    Chelski have problem to score, Shity have problem to defend, so outcome is hard to predict.
    But back to FA Cup, problem should be discussed on wider level. As I believe all around Europe there is similar problem, especially in top leagues. So maybe giving place in CL qualification rounds to Cup winner would maybe brought some life in competition again. Who knows.
    I guess Platini would say such solution is not fair toward “smaller” leagues, and would decrease their chances to get trough qualification round. But to be honest how many of us believe teams from my own Bosnia, and such leagues deserve places in CL at all?

  • Mike T

    Some food for thought for you.

    Chelsea have scored 43 goals in the EPL , the same as Arsenal. Chelsea have scored 3 goals in the FA Cup, Arsenal 5. Chelsea scored 12 in their CL group, Arsenal 8 and finally in three CC games Chelsea scored 5 Arsenal in their 2 games scored 1. Total goals scored Chelsea 63 & Arsenal 57

    As for goals conceded in the league Arsenal have conceded 18 Chelsea 19,In the CL Arsenal 8, Chelsea 3, In the CC Arsenal 3 Chelsea 2.In the FA Cup neither Chelsea or Arsenal have let a goal in. So in total Arsenal have conceded 29 Chelsea 24

    Yes Chelsea have had one more game to both score and let in goals but when some like Armin suggest Chelsea struggle to score in truth the facts sort of suggest that Arsenal Globetrotters and their tap tap football really isn’t that more effective or in goals really a lot different

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mike T,
    but Chelsea have at their disposal a striking force they have paid double the money than Arsenal their striking force. If not 3 times as much. Probably something in between.
    You should outscore us with City like numbers.

  • Pete

    Article on its way which attempts to draw conclusions regarding relative goal scoring/ goal prevention outcomes…!

  • Mike T

    Walter

    Fair enough point but it still doesn’t alter the fact that Arsenal aren’t the free scores that some suggest

  • abdul

    @Mike T you can’t compare arsenal’s champions league opponents to Chelsea’s.

  • Gooner S

    @Tony

    We get 7 cup games.

    What’s your view on what we should pay for the 8th game (Bayern)? The BSM have written an open letter to the club on the this making various suggestions.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mike T,
    I think the only free scoring team in the PL this season is Man City and Suarez but they are a one man team 😉

  • Mike T

    Walter

    Indeed Man City are free scorers yet they are a point behind you yet, I don’t see anyone suggesting its unfair on them that they trail you! And of course its not its all about results after all is it not?

    Abdul

    Perhaps you are right but then again I did compare or game against EPL opposition namely Stoke with Div I Coventry

  • WalterBroeckx

    That is completely unfair for Stoke and Coventry Mike T 😉 They seemed a nice bunch and then to see them compared with Stoke… 😉

  • Mike T

    Oh you devil you!

    For the life of me I cant work out why our game was selected as it never was going to be a spectacle and to be honest I really didn’t expect anything other than a home win in yours. Ok the draw wasn’t exciting but was it just me but to select so many games was poor and when I saw the crowd numbers at Sheffield Utd from Div 1 at home to a EPL team I really do worry about the long term future of the FA Cup

  • Steve C

    Put The Fans First (not the Premiership)

    The FA Cup is not just about how convenient it is, or what the clubs get out of it. The FA Cup results are remembered by fans for years.

    The only thing that needs to happen to make the FA Cup important is,.. to make it important.
    1. The Final restored to last match of the season (after all the league promotion games too).

    2. FA Cup matches happen during weeks with no other football (no Tuesday matches – then I can live with the spread of games over the weekend). Keep the league out of the way. Other cups are ok – fewer clubs involved (and it will encourage squad rotation with all the risks that brings).

    3. The draw takes place after all the rounds matches take place.

    If some FArie godmother was to make all my wishes come true… I’d add more matches for the top tier clubs.
    All professional clubs should come into the draw at the same round (Round 1?).
    The clubs from the higher leagues will have to travel to some tiny grounds… and they’ll take their second team (perhaps even 3rd team). But every now and then they’ll get it wrong – totally epic for the fans (I know – I was living in York in 1985. It would be double for non-leaguer. They’d never forget the year they beat a Premier club… or even just played at Premier ground)

    [And while you’re at it – put the League Cup back to double-headers. All rounds, same reasoning. Sure the crowds would be smaller, but maybe the games would be cheaper to watch… and some non-season ticket holders could be sure to follow their team through a competition]

    And if there aren’t enough weekends in the season – just hang the competition out the end. There’s only going to be a few clubs left in it by then. (Could always lose a club or two out of the league if it was really tight).

    I think the “bigger” clubs have got the squads – and the lower league clubs might just like the money. The squad players might even like the exposure [Further idea for the League Cup. Perhaps each club has to name a 17 man pool (pick your number) from their squad to float all games in the contest]

    Football glamour is the stories we tell about matches 20, 30, 40 or more years ago. And there are just as many stories for the clubs that don’t win (or dare I say it, when our club loses), as there are for the winners.

  • Rupert Cook

    The Champions League is diminished anyway by having non champions in it. It also diminishes our league by making finishing fourth some sort of success.

    Give a spot to the FA Cup winners then we’d only have three from the league which would help restore a little value to the league. Ultimately it might mean we lose a place in the CL as a team like Wigan would be unlikely to progress beyond group stages but that’s even better as then only two would qualify from the league making it far more competitive and awarding those who have really achieved something. Certainly winning the FA Cup is far better than finishing fourth and should be rewarded.