What’s more important; the FA Cup or fourth?

By Tony Attwood

Quite obviously we’d all like to see Arsenal continue in the FA Cup.  We are the record winners, and even if Manchester United were to win the Cup this year (they play their third-round tie tomorrow) we’d still be the club with the most FA Cup wins.

But here’s another question: at this stage in our re-development what would we sooner have: fourth in the League or winning the FA Cup? Of course it is a trophy, and we are the all-time best FA Cup team in the land, but surely what we are crying out for is a return to proper European competition.

And yes, given all the options I would sooner have Arsenal both win the FA Cup and get back into the Champions League, but at this stage in our redevelopment that would be a double bonus.

But the fact is that getting fourth, and thus a place in the Champions League is going to improve our chances of signing the players that Mr Arteta wants; the players who will take us back up the rankings, and finally re-establish our position that Mr Wenger kept the club in for so many years.

The trouble is today, everything is wanted NOW NOW NOW, and the fact that Arsene Wenger delivered his first trophies in his second season, should not be taken as a basic standard. We might still win the league cup this season, although it will be tough to do so, and I suspect we won’t.  But still I think that all the energy should be invested in coming fourth, and getting that Champions League spot (which some supporters use to decry as meaningless under the “Fourth is not a trophy” phrase) once again.

As matters stand, the league position is still uncertain with Tottenham breathing down our necks and with two games in hand

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 21 17 2 2 53 13 40 53
2 Chelsea 21 12 7 2 45 16 29 43
3 Liverpool 20 12 6 2 52 18 34 42
4 Arsenal 20 11 2 7 33 25 8 35
5 West Ham United 20 10 4 6 37 27 10 34
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 10 3 5 23 20 3 33

We can’t rely on them to cock it up as they usually do, we need to build on our achievements in recent games, and the fight and spirit we saw against the 12 men of Manchester City.]

Of course I would much sooner we had won than lost, but losing is not a disaster.  Paddy Power, joining the eternal anti-Arsenal rhetoric ran the headline recently “TIME TO GET YOUR COAT, MIKEL? ARTETA ODDS-ON TO BE NEXT MANAGER SACKED” – and that of course is the sort of mindless gibberish is thrown at Arsenal all the time, day and night.

In my view, and of course it is just my personal opinion, we need to hang on Mr Arteta, protect him as much as possible from the mindless idiots, and let him continue with his revolution at the club.  

Yes he lost to a second-tier team, in a match we would have expected the club to win, and yes that cuts down the number of trophies we might get to just one – the league cup, where we have to play a very strong Liverpool! side home and away.

So maybe it will be another no trophy season.   But if we continue to see real progress I’ll be happy and of course, I will continue to renew my season ticket.

That is what support is about.  Staying with your club, and looking for positives.  Even on a bad afternoon.

11 Replies to “What’s more important; the FA Cup or fourth?”

  1. Whilst we should have had a first half penalty and the Forest goal would have been disallowed for handball in the build-up if a true VAR review had been available, we cannot really complain about the outcome.

    Our passing was below-par and all our players seemed to be having an off-day, especially Saka, Martinelli and Nketiah, who are capable of so much more.

    Leno did well and could not be blamed for the goal. Why was Forest keeper allowed to pick up a back pass?

    Let’s hope for a better performance against Liverpool.


  2. John L

    Agree with all your points.

    Such a shame. Never really got going, and the annoying thing is even playing so poorly I never thought we looked in trouble because no matter how many times we insisted on giving them the ball, apart from that 1 attack, they never really looked like scoring. But neither did we.

    And to answer the question, as I always used to say, 4th is more important, or rather Champions league football is more important than the FA Cup.

    I know some don’t agree or think it is sad, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

  3. The Gunners were all waving their hands when their keeper picked up the back pass. How does an entire refereeing team miss something that obvious? Can an assistant referee buzz the referee on that call?

  4. The odious Mike Riley will have certainly enjoyed the circumstances of our defeat today at the City Ground in a VAR less cup tie, but tbh as soon as I saw Craig Pawson in charge my heart sank, we never seem to win when he’s in the middle. A right Jonah…

  5. We are FA cup kings so back to champions league. Missed the game same old same old with the ref what can we do?

  6. Shiny things are lovely in May, but next autumn we’ll all agree on how important a champs league spot is.
    Remember the days when we could have both? What ever happened to that Wenger chap?
    Pretty awful display today from everyone except Leno. Two children in the middle of midfield were a.ways going to struggle without a grownup beside them. Shows where our priorities for Jan should be. Ref was his usual atrocious self but we made it easy for him to do Riley’s bidding. Roll on Thursday and Liverpool. Gulp!

  7. I see Klopp had a lot of ( 9 ) false positives last week but not to worry , they will all be ready for Thursday.

  8. Fourth would be better than the Cup, but the cup guarantees European football, so not to be sniffed at.
    A cup run also gives needed game time to many in the squad. So losing to Forest not ideal for Nketieh et al.

  9. Have yet to see the game . Just caught the Youtube highlights , so not able to comment . While I was under the impression that our second stringers will be able to take their chances against most opponents , it was not meant to be.
    Still , I’d settle for a top 4 position any day . Especially if it brings along with it , a St. Totteringham ‘s Day Trophy ! That is a real trophy in our minds !
    Up the Gunners !

  10. Going

    “The Gunners were all waving their hands when their keeper picked up the back pass. How does an entire refereeing team miss something that obvious? Can an assistant referee buzz the referee on that call?”

    The reason it wasn’t given was quite simply because it wasn’t kicked. Look at the incident again it came of the Notts Forest players thigh it’s only a back pass if deliberately kicked by an opposition player to their GK

    Did Pawson have a bad game ? Not sure he did . Possibly the only two incidents that were maybe questionable were one on and one by Saka

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