The FA Cup is alive and well for Arsenal, but to lift that famous piece of silverware we are going to have to jump through some rather large hoops.
The teams that currently occupy the top eight? The majority are still in with a shout too. That could mean the Quarter-Final draw is an action-packed list of heavyweights slugging it out for that same honour.
Yep, Liverpool are out, thanks to a superlative display from Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, but who else are in with a shout?
Chelsea, Manchester City, Leicester City, Sheffield United, Man United, Tottenham and Newcastle are all barring the way to us and walking up those famous steps in Wembley and holding the trophy. If Manchester United defeat Derby County in their 5th round tie, it will be an all-Premier League lineup for the Quarters – a real rarity and a minefield for any suitor for the cup.
A trophy that could give Mikel Arteta a solid foundation for success in the future – and the time to build an empire.
All managers are judged on results of course, and Arteta has heralded improvement since he took the reins. A cup win though, could prove to be the boost that the Spaniard would need to begin his dynasty.
A cup win in his first season? Without a pre-season and picking up broken pieces from Unai Emery’s tenure?
It would be a hallmark for something potentially really special.
Firstly though, we need to overcome Sheffield United at Bramall Lane – a venue we failed to win at this season in the League. The small but partisan stadium will be a difficult place for us to travel to and escape with the win but if we do, a semi-final place will be booked and from that point onwards, the cup is anybody’s.
With Chelsea facing Leicester City at the King Power, Tottenham or Norwich to face Man Utd and Man City having to go to St James Park – the destination for that famous cup is very much in the lap of the gods.
Arteta will know this, and a strong team will be sent to Sheffield for the next round – our coach could very well be making an indelible mark on our history at the earliest opportunity.