By Bulldog Drummond
Only four teams have won the FA cup twice running in this or the last century, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Newcastle Only two teams have won the FA Cup three times running and both of these made their mark before even Royal Arsenal FC existed. In fact the last one was in the April of the same year that Dial Square FC was formed and played its one and only game against Eastern Wanderers on the Isle of Dogs – and that game was in December.
But over the years Arsenal have caught up, and have now won the FA Cup more times than any other team, have been in the final more times than any other team, have been in the semi-final more times than any other team, and has a manager who has the equal top number of personal wins of the FA Cup. A victory this season would put Arsenal at the very top of the all time FA Cup record, along with their manager.
In fact Arsène Wenger’s record is actually better than top first, for has won the FA Cup six times, the same as George Ramsay of Aston Villa – the difference between that Ramsay won the cup three times in the 19th century – when such an achievement was a lot easier. Besides which his victories came across a period of 33 years, although to be fair for four of those years there was no FA Cup due to the war.
In comparison Arsène Wenger has won the FA cup five times this century. No other manager has won it more than once this century.
And just to be clear about the last time a team won the cup three years running, in that season Blackburn Rovers saw beat the combined might of Oswaldtwistle Rovers, Darwen Old Wanderers, Stanley, Brentwood and Swifts to reach the final. Thanks to Arsenal.com for that – saved me ploughing through the old records.
Speaking yesterday Mr W said, “We play against a Premier League team and we have learnt in the last 20 games that any Premier League team is a massive problem to face. The only way to deal with it is to give absolutely everything.
“The FA Cup has been fantastic for me. When I was a child I dreamed of winning the FA Cup and now, when I look back, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to Wembley so many times.”
For Sam Allardyce there is a double headache; he seems to be putting weight on again, and he has three away games in seven days. So he won’t play the full first team line up.
Mr Wenger has said that he might bring in two or three players who don’t normally get a start. I don’t think that includes Arteta who has only played half a game and will be on the beach, but we could see starts from two or three of these:
The Ox, Joel Campbell, Gabriel, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers, David Ospina, Jeff Reine-Adelaide or Alex Iwobi
Hector Bellerin is certainly being rested (he’s on holiday) and so I guess Chambers will play. But otherwise… maybe a clue comes in the players who have played the most this season…
|Name||Premier League||League Cup||Champions League||Total games|
|Mertesacker||15||2||4 (1)||22 (1)|
|Giroud||14 (6)||2||4 (1)||20 (8)|
|Ramsey||16||1||2 (2)||20 (2)|
|Monreal||19 (1)||0||4||24 (1)|
Arsène Wenger did say in an interview that he does still believe in David Ospina, as indeed he should given his displays in the second half of last season. So there’s a hint he might play.
The last time we saw some of the youngsters out (in the league cup) it was not a wonderful occasion, and Mr Wenger made some unusually negative comments afterwards, but the Telegraph this morning picks out three possibles for this match from the under 21s…
Certainly it looks like Mathieu Debuchy will be loaned to Villa so he is unlikely to play. And the deal to sign Mohamed Elneny is not yet done, so he hasn’t been spotted at the estate agents as of yet.
But what of the facts, figures and made up bits of stuff…
The first of Mr Wenger’s 97 FA Cup games was against Sunderland in 1997. And he has never been beaten in the third round. But the last time these two sides met in the FA Cup, Sunderland eliminated Arsenal in February 2012 2-0.
And as winners twice running we have a lot of consecutive wins under our belt: 12 in fact since February 2013.
Sunderland have the worst away record in the league: four points from 30 and 28 goals conceded says it all.
In the last six games between the two Arsenal have won five. Sunderland haven’t beaten Arsenal away in the last 17 games. And Arsenal have won eight of the last nine home matches in all competitions. But Sunderland have scored in each of their last five away games. On the other hand they have also let in 16 goals in their last five away games.
We have scored 11 in the last five home games.
To show how, just like transfers and managerial changes, injuries are not a good way to judge success, Sunderland’s level is modest, but Liverpool and Newcastle are way out in front now, and I am not sure anyone is going to catch them.
|15||West Ham United||4|
So to the team, and it is pretty much guesswork.
Chambers Mert Gabriel Monreal
Walcott Özil Oxlade-Chamberlain
Lurking on the beach on a sunny (until half time) but cold afternoon we might have Cech, Gibbs, Kos, Reine-Adelaide, Campbell, Iwobi, Arteta.
The alternative approach is to give Özil a break, and play Ramsey in his central midfield attacking position, but then I am not sure who I would put next to Flamini so I’m leaving Özil in. After all Mr Wenger says Özil doesn’t train much, and we know he never breaks out into much of a run. In fact I’m not sure what he does there.
Anyway, Sunderland might put some reserves out, but we want that third FA Cup in a row – preferably as part of a League and Cup Double, so I don’t expect too many changes.
Two anniversaries including the time we scored 11 in the third round…
- January 1863: David Danskin, reputed to be one of the founders of the Dial Square club, was born in Fife. He was instrumental in arranging the first match,and stayed with the club for several years, however when he stood for election to the committee in 1892 but was not elected, almost certainly because he opposed the talk of the move towards professionalism at that time.
- 9 January 1932: Arsenal 11 Darwen 1 in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. It was the first time since 1893 that Arsenal hit double figures in the FA Cup – this time en route to the final. Bastin (3), Jack (3), Lambert (2) and Hulme (2) got the goals.
Insult of the Day
To be so odd and from all fashions… cannot be commendable. (Much Ado about Nothing).