Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Arsenal may strike further blow to FA Cup credibility
It would appear that Arsene Wenger will field a weakened team for the January 24th FA Cup tie with Stoke City, in order to keep first team players fresh for Premier League fixtures. Following from yesterdays article (which prompted a lot of controversy - mainly from Leeds United fans) this would add further wood to the fire as Arsenal clearly put the Premier League above and beyond the FA Cup in importance (rightly so in my opinion).
The FA Cup will never be the competition it once was if teams cannot field their full strength sides and truly value winning this competition. Wenger clearly thinks his side have a chance on challenging for the title this year, and victory at the weekend would take the Gooners to 2nd place in the table and only one point behind Chelsea.
Much like Mick McCarthy a few weeks ago, Wenger has to decide how best to manage his assets available to him and the message will surely be that a rest over the weekend of the 24th will allow his key players to stay on top of their game for the important Premier League fixtures.
A note on yesterdays article.
It appears to me that many readers have missed my point, and on review that is down to the fact that I did not explain myself as eloquently and clearly as I would have liked. Let me re-state my point in the simplest terms possible:
The excitement that I gain from sport comes from competitions where it is extremely difficult to predict a winner because of the wide variety of teams that could potentially win. Four teams have dominated the FA Cup over the last 15 years and as such I have lost interest. Similarly I lost interest in the Premier League the last two or three years as Manchester United and Chelsea were clearly the only two teams that could win. This season it looks like the excitement is back as things are much tighter and there seems to be greater equity among the teams.
If you look at the greatest sporting events in the world - they are all bound by one of two common trait - many possible winners, or great equity and competition between the competitors :
The World Cup
The Grand National
British Lions Tours
Over recent years British football has suffered because of a lack of these traits, I can only hope that they begin to emerge again.