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
Ryder Cup
The Grand National
6 Nations
March Madness
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.


  1. Arsenal's "weakened" side won at Upton Park.

    How can you say this devalues the competition? How do you think West Ham fans feel about losing to a "weakened" side?

    Do you think Stoke relish playing our "weakened side"?

    There's no debate here, you're just recycling the same ignorant rubbish the tabloids pump out.

  2. Blame ITV, not Arsenal......or the way they move fixtures that makes it impossible to field a top strength side.

    Nevermind, more experience for the youngsters.

  3. this argument is getting tiresome, Wenger has reached the FA Cup final 5 times pluc countless semi-finals and has yet to go out of the first round of the competition using this same method of roating his squad hardly the work of a man disrespects the competition.

    Also don't let the number of injuries they had as well the amount of games that are due to be played get in the way of the argument

  4. If they haven't got a strong enough squad to cope then tough luck! Thats football these days!

  5. nine players injured, Eboue already gone to ACN, so please explain why Wenger should not rest players who have played alot recently, the FA Cup never was anything other than second place to a league title, the media are now trying to rewrite history by making out it somehow at one time was equal to the league. Funny how its Arsenal and Wenger who are striking a blow to the credibility of the FA Cup when they beat a PL side WHU at upton park, but Man U have not by losing at home to a league one team, yes lost at home to a team two divisions below them. Is this not the same man U who did not enter the cup a few years ago. Better not mention that as Sir Alex would not be pleased and may not talk to which ever branch of the media dare upset him

  6. Absolute rubbish. Wenger demonstrated how much he wanted to win at West Ham by bringing Diaby and Nasri on. McCarthy pulled a completely different stunt by playing 10 reserves, and the Wolves traveling support was not happy about forking out 47 quid as they let him hear about.
    To compare those two matches is nonsense, especially as Arsenal won. Besides, Wenger has not mentioned anything about his side he plans on fielding at Stoke. (But should the kids be trotted out so be it, they tend to come through if you have not noticed). We have four matches right after that might well decide the title race and the supporters certainly want the best squad out for those matches.

  7. typical, recycled BS... wenger has been saying he'd put together 11 (plus bench) who could win on the day...so what's the problem?

    however the issue/ outcry with wolves (rather its manager) was that he didn't seem to have the intent to win thus disrespecting all other teams.. if he had the intent to win against manu, he'd have fielded a a 'stronger' and not a 'weaker' team - simple logic, isnt it?

  8. I think the subheading of Intelligent football opinion is sorely misleading. The only intelligence on view here comes from the comments. Utterly pointless,and unfactual article.

  9. How ironic that this should be posted here...not a lot of common sense in the article...

  10. All commenters would benefit from reading between the lines before insulting the author.

  11. No manager in his stable state of mind would not have done what Les Boss did, you have a number of players out injured and others struggling for fitness, as if that is not enough you have 3 games in six days.If you beleive that you can make some changes some where some how and still win then yuo do that.
    Bravo Asene.
    Byamugisha Ibrahim
    Kampala Uganda.

  12. please reverse your utter rubbish what must the manager do with the hectic fixture list in Dec and Jan. No sense in the article.

  13. This is nonsense and has absolutely no logic. How can you say that Arsenal may strike a further blow to FA Cup credibility?? We were 1 nil down and fought our way back to win 2 1 with goals in the last 10 mins - supposedly with a weakened team?! That, to me, is what the magic of the cup is all about.
    As for the FA Cup not being taken seriously when teams cant field strongest teams....that is an issue that needs to be addressed with the morons organising the fixtures. We dont have a game for a week then play 2 in 4 days, all for the sake of TV.

  14. you say the last 2, 3 years there were only 2 possible winners in the premier league? what about the 8 or so years before that? How many teams outside of Man Utd and Arsenal did you see having a chance of winning the league?

  15. Lets fast forward to Jun/July 2010 England lose to Germany/Argentina/Brasil in the quarter finals. One of the excuses will be that English players play too many games, and are exhausted.
    We have a league with 38 games, the FA Cup and league no Winter break and Europe, all becuase of the romance of the FA Cup and league cup. Reduce the number of league games, get rid of the league Cup and get a Winter break then just maybe we may not be the nearly men of World Cup.

  16. 'Intelligent football opinion'? a hubristic strapline if ever there was one.

  17. So you don't like the PL and FAC cos there's only four possible winners. So explain to me exactly how many possible winners there are in the Ryder Cup......or simply continue the age old media philosophy of having a pop at Arsenal. Dork!

  18. Has this idiot checked Wenger's FA-CUP RECORD???????????????????????????????????????????????????PATHETIC!
    You should look at MAN-U going off to play in brazil to find out who has devalued the cup.

    GOOD OF THE GAME??????????????????

  20. "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. "

    ( I think yesterday we established it was five, given Portsmouth's involvement. And the website owner attempted to defend your frayed credibility by pointing out you are a Celtic supporter. Celtic play in a league which has had only two teams win it, and excepting one year only two teams appear in the top two, since its inception. )

    "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" ( ... has been won, since its inception in 1930, by 7 countries )
    "Ryder Cup" ( ... has only two competitors and two possible winners. )
    "The Grand National"
    "6 Nations" ( ... the clue is in the title. There are six possible winners, one more than has won the FA Cup since 1996. Except, in the 6 Nations, Italy are unlikely to win it, which brings us back to ... )
    "March Madness" ( does involve a lot of teams, but US college basketball isn't a proper sport, frankly, is it? )
    "British Lions Tours" ( isn't a competition, but a tour consists of a test series, which has two competitors and therefore two potential winners )

    Yesterday, I didn't think you knew what you were talking about. Now I don't think you even know what you're writing. I'm guessing you like the 6 Nations, the Lions Tours and the Ryder Cup because they involve Scots, but in that case your affection for the World Cup is inexplicable.

  21. The FA Cup was never more devalued as when Manchester United as holders were allowed withdraw in order to flog their merchandise in Brazil.Eight semi-finals, five finals , four victories in thirteen years is proof enough of Wenger's respect for the Cup.

  22. As I have clearly stated in my article - I AM NOT AGAINST WENGER DOING THIS, in fact I think he SHOULD DO THIS. Read the article.

    As for the other competitions I have mentioned, there are TWO COMMON THREADS:

    1 - many possible winners (grand national, march madness)
    2 - or great equity among the competitors (ryder cup, 6 nations)


    If Wenger fields a weakened team, that is his prerogative, and the only people (as someone mentioned) to blame are the FA who make clubs play far too many games, thus weakening the overall quality of some of the competitions (Carling Cup for example).

  23. Having read this blog for exactly two days, and the comments of the author, it wins the award of being the first site I've hidden on NewsNow (click on the site name, click hide). See ya.