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The slippery slope of the FA cup

By Walter Broeckx

Well this round of the FA Cup sure went off with a bang. The first match in this group of games and Burnley who played at home to Lincoln lost 0-1. A goal right at the end for Lincoln. And the first upset of the round. And not the last.

A few hours later Milwall managed to beat Leicester with also a late winning goal. And what made this more remarkable was the fact that they had to play for more than half an hour with 10 men because of a double yellow card for Jake Cooper. So last season’s PL winner exits in this round of the FA up. And when one looks at the PL table they sure are not in a comfortable position. One point above a relegation place isn’t really where you expect last seasons champions at this stage of the season. So it could all go horribly wrong for them.

Do we still remember last summer? Arsenal would/should buy Vardy. And the we were going to buy / would buy /should buy /must buy Mahrez. Both stayed at Leicester after getting a huge pay rise. As things stand now they could be playing in the championship next season but on a huge contract.

Now of course this is nothing compared to the shambolic position Arsenal finds themselves. We are at present also 4th but not from the bottom of the league. And that without us having bought Vardy and Mahrez.

But that wasn’t all the surprises on this day. Yes Middlesbrough sneaked through with also a very late winning goal against Oxford United also from League One. But they won.

Which can’t be said of Manchester City. Granted this wasn’t the easiest trip for them as Huddersfield is one of the best teams in the championship so far this season, currently sitting in 3rd place. But still a team with all the money in the world, managed by the best manager in the world Guardiola…surely they should have won this match.

So a lot of surprising results so far in the FA cup. Let us hope the surprises are overcome next Monday.

What these results show however is that in any given match on any given day surprises might happen, can happen and will happen. Maybe some people will call those results embarrassing for the higher placed clubs.  And get on their high horse to condemn those clubs. Well that is what would happen surely if it were to happen to Arsenal.

I do however think that no result in a football match is embarrassing for me as a fan. Does a supporter of Leicester has to be embarrassed by their cup exit? It wasn’t him on the field so he didn’t do much wrong to feel embarrassment. Yes the result is painful for the fans. As the Bayern result was painful for us supporters. But that is the lovely/hard (depending on who you support at the final whistle) way of supporting a football club (or any other sports club) is.

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Is a defeat the end of the world? Well so far it never has. The world has been spinning around and turning around the sun for a long while and never have I felt it suddenly stopping because of how hard and painful a final result was.

Now I must say that when we lose and certainly after a defeat like the one at Bayern, I swear a bit against myself, try to look at something positive and move on. The next match is the most important one. That is probably also the reason I feel like falling in a big black hole when we have played the last match of each season. That is the worst moment in a season for me. No defeat can compare to this. Because we always have a next match to make up for it.

So losing is not funny at all, but I have always considered it to be part of the sport. And if you can’t stand losing, don’t become a supporter of a sports club. As no sports club wins everything all the time. But I really cannot find it the end of the world. There are far worse things in the world than losing a football match.

But of course that will be not what Leicester or Burnley fans want to here for the moment. Not that they will read this as I don’t think they will come to Untold to find comfort.

Yet what these results show is that nothing is for granted in football. Each match has to be played and each time one has to be 100% or things can turn out badly. Make that one has to be 100% for the whole 90 minutes to avoid defeat. And even then one can come up with a team that is even better and lose a match.

But if there is one thing that the losers of today should consider is that their teams just contributed to what makes the FA cup, the FA cup. An amazing competition where in the end mostly the favourites win but on the way to that final win you can get all sorts of surprises and shocks. Let us hope that we can live up to our role of being favourite. But let us not consider it to be a walk in the park. And take it very seriously. That is what I ask from our players. And as there have been enough shocks already we surely could do without other shocks when Arsenal is involved.

And looking at how some people react to Arsenal losing… it would be good for their blood pressure and health also.

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31 comments to The slippery slope of the FA cup

  • jimbo

    The way the WOBs react to every Arsenal defeat is a total embarrassment to our great club.These fools are more suited to the Jeremy Kyle show.

  • Gord

    Thanks Walter.

    I gather one thing “a bunch of fans” are made about, is that Danny is probably not playing at Sutton United. He apparently is scheduled to play for the U23 (or whatever number it is).

    Sutton has an artifical pitch, and there is evidence to suggest that these kinds of pitches are hard on knees. So, a player recovering from a knee injury probably shouldn’t play on that pitch (right away). But, the medja still have to make it sound like the worst problem since the last worst problem they made up.

    Kelly Smith’s game happened, and her All Stars apparently lost to the Arsenal Ladies team. 2500 and change people turned out for that, I kind of think Andrew might be in that bunch. Have to leave stuff for Andrew to write about, so I will stop there.

    Some animal news (well, besides stories about the medja, who are a bunch of animals).

    Local. I live in a small community where the Alaska Highway begins. There are signs on the public trails next to the creek, to Beware of Moose. It seems, that a moose has wandered into the city. I know they like eating dogwood shrubs, as I have often seen them doing so on my front lawn.

    For those that don’t know, moose is self-plural. You can have one moose or many moose. They are all dangerous, even the babies.

    Langley, BC. A couple of days ago, a wallaby was spotted on the loose. It had been spotted a few times, and the RCMP were asking for help in apprehending the friendly little animal. Apparently yesterday about noon, someone spotted said animal in their yard and called the RCMP about a kangaroo in their yard. Question remains, how do you catch one? One news article said grab its tail. In any event, a big fishing net did the trick and the little animal came out none the worse for the experience. Owner and wallaby are back together.

    It was nice to read that the RCMP did not have to use TASERs to subdue the animal. We have had enough of TASER, thank you.

    I’m up to my armpits in 1994/95 and making mead. I could ask questions, but nobody seems to answer.

  • OlegYch

    this is what english game became
    old our pal Barton in his full glory, that is not to say refs or Lincoln players were not complacent

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Why was my last comment on this article that is now trending not published? Well, I’ve no control on that.

    I have just watched the FA Cup quarterfinals draw and it has favoured us as Arsenal at home to Lincoln.

  • MickHazel

    Lincoln come to the Emirates in the next round should we beat Sutton tomorrow.

  • MickHazel

    Full draw….

    Quarter-final ties:

    Chelsea v Man United

    Middlesbrough v Huddersfield or Man City

    Tottenham v Millwall

    Sutton or Arsenal v Lincoln

  • Leon

    Lincoln must be really up for this whoever they have to play. If it’s us then they come to The Emirates & share a huge gate and attempt a giant kill, and if it’s Sutton they’ll be playing for a place in the semi final against a fellow non league team,and making history again.
    They’re on a win/win with this game.

  • Samuel I can’t answer your question directly, because much of the management of comments is done automatically because we simply don’t have enough people to manage comments on an individual case. But I have occasionally noticed that sometimes you post the same comment more than once, and that does cause confusion to our system, and it could well be the cause of problems that you have. If you could find a way of making sure that each comment only comes to us once it would make it easier for us, and perhaps stop any false non-publication. I do welcome your comments and certainly we are not trying to block you.

  • Meusenge

    When will Arsene ever get a break? Sutton then Lincoln, life is too cruel.

  • ossasa


    Do we assume you are a fan of the Kyle show? Nice one.

  • jimbo

    It was an article on 101 which said that the Wenger Outs interviewed on Arsenal TV were mainly made up of sweary dimwitted characters who look like they live on trailer parks and wouldn’t look amiss on the Jeremy Kyle show.

  • nicky

    Without wishing to be a doom and gloom merchant, I wonder whether clubs with artificial pitches should be compelled to play matches involving the top echelon of the EPL, on natural grass.
    My point is that because top-class players seem so prone to injury these days, is it fair to expose them to the obvious dangers of artificial surfaces?

  • Little Feat

    I would love to play the Spuds in the FA Cup Final.

  • Charlie George, who can hit them….. What a team that was.

  • Pat

    Yes, no more shocks, please, Arsenal!

    Gord, enjoyed your post about the moose and the wallaby. It sounds peaceful where you live, with the wild life wandering in. We get foxes in this part of London, but a moose is more exciting. Where did that wallaby in BC come from, a local zoo?

  • Zuruvi

    I suspect Millwall will beat the Spuds on the football pitch (and in the terraces too!!!!).

    I hope the Spuds never get to any final.

  • Mandy Dodd

    This ……could ……be set up for a beautiful ending to a final against a rival, but the players need to step up a bit for the rest of the season.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @Pat…haha sorry, no zoos that far north in Canada. If there was a wallaby, it was an escaped pet of some sort.

  • Gord

    The news articles said it was a pet. Langley is a suburb (sort of) of Vancouver, and is over 1000 km from where I live.

    I’ve often seen the moose eating my dogwoods. On the lawn, I have a weeping birch. And it was a favorite of a yellow bellied sapsucker which kept migrating through here. This last year, I cut the main trunk at 18 inches, hoping to allow 2 branches to grow, and maybe some shoots to start growing. Just before the latest moose moved into view munching on some dogwood, he had stopped at the weeping birch and took a few chunks out of one of the two remaining branches.

  • para

    There is a danger of becoming emotionless when one does not “enjoy” the full range of one’s emotions i am told. Is it not so that when one bottles it up or does not “let it out” it becomes a threat to oneself?
    This next game will be a different set of players i think, players who need games, so anything is possible. Fact is though, any display of brilliance tonight will be seen as just that, a display against an “inferior”(no disrespect) team.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ” I have my own peculiar yardstick for measuring a man: Does he have the courage to cry in a moment of grief? Does he have the compassion not to hunt an animal? In his relationship with a woman, is he gentle?
    Real manliness is nurtured in kindness and gentleness, which I associate with intelligence, comprehension, tolerance, justice, education, and high morality. If only men realized how easy it is to open a woman’s heart with kindness, and how many women close their hearts to the assaults of the Don Juans.”
    – Sophia Loren

  • Brickfields Gunners

    HipDict – This honest version of the dictionary is hilarious –

    ASKHOLE – (n) Someone who asks many stupid , pointless , obnoxious question .

  • Leon

    I know it’s being disrespectful to both Sutton United and Lincoln City, but we’ve been handed a pass to the FA Cup semi final. We’re virtually one match from another Wembley final and I don’t see how we can possibly mess these two games up unless Wenger puts out sides that don’t fit the games (like against Bayern M), or the players that are picked are overconfident or underperform on the day.
    The pitch tonight shouldn’t be that much of an issue and Sutton & Lincoln’s supporters are not known for being hostile to other teams. The dressing room and facilities (at Sutton) will be a bit basic, but they’ll just have to put up with that.
    Can it go wrong? Of course it can! This is the FA Cup after all and I love it.

  • Norman14

    Being from north Lincolnshire, my natural allegiance is towards Grimsby Town, and a similarly natural dislike of the “Imps”. However, it was quite pleasing to see Joseph Barton Esq., come up against Matt Rhead, and get put back in his pot.

    As much as this sets us up for a semi final appearance, we have these two banana skins to negotiate first. Whatever we come up against at Sutton, Lincoln are ten times better than them and we’ll need to be “mentally ready” (assuming we get that far).

    Anybody else think we have only become “mentally un-ready” since the psychologist got on board?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    DECREEPYTOSS -The forceful removal or ejection of inane and other unwanted pests. Delousing .

  • Leon

    Arsene seems to use the “mentally unready” excuse often enough, so you might have something there.
    I don’t even know what it means in relation to playing a game of football TBH.

  • Pat


    Gardening obviously presents different challenges where you live!

  • Polo

    @ Leon, I think he mean the players have trouble handling the pressure of the occasion, hence why they hired the psychologist who worked with the New Zealand Rugby Team the All Blacks who are considered the best rugby team in the world, who consistently lose key matches in the Rugby World Cup. After his work, the All Blacks seem to click and they won a World Cup.

  • Jerry

    To the ones trying to knock the FA cup and saying Arsenal have been given an easy draw to the semifinal. I hope you guys were complaining about the draws for other teams in the earlier rounds as well

    3rd round
    Manchester City vs PL side West Ham
    Arsenal vs Championship side (2nd div) Preston Northend
    Tottenham vs Championship side (2nd div) Aston Villa
    Manchester United vs Championship side (2nd div) Reading
    Chelsea vs League 1 side (3rd div) Peterborough
    Liverpool vs mighty League 2 side (4th div) Plymouth Argyle

    In the 3rd round, only City had a more difficult opponent based on leagues.

    4th round,
    Arsenal vs Pl side Southampton
    City vs PL side Crystal Palace
    United vs Wigan – Championship side (2nd div)
    Chelsea vs Brentford (Championship side)
    Liverpool! vs Wolves (championship, 2nd div) lost
    Tottenham vs Wycombe (League 2 side, 4th div)

    In the 4th round, only City had a similar level of opponent. Except for Manchester City, Arsenal had more difficult matches in the 3rd and 4th round.

  • Leon

    “To the ones trying to knock the FA cup and saying Arsenal have been given an easy draw to the semifinal. I hope you guys were complaining about the draws for other teams in the earlier rounds as well”

    Somebody “knocking the FA cup”?
    Not as far as I can tell.
    All I see is positivity & acknowledgement of the good the fortune of the draw. No requirement to compare with earlier draws. None at all!

  • Jerry

    Apologize if I took your comment about being “handed a pass to the FA Cup semifinal” in the wrong way. I read it as a backhanded compliment as if the only reason we have a chance at winning is because of the easier draws. People said the similar things the last two times we won.

    In fact, some articles are already saying it and trying to use it to fire Wenger, just look at the recent article by James McNicholas.

    I was just highlighting that no matter how good the draw seems, there is still no guarantee in the FA Cup, just ask Liverpool.