February failure might cause Arsenal Silverware drought



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There is no getting away from the
fact that this weekend will be absolutely huge for Arsenal
with their FA Cup fifth-round tie against Liverpool.
The fact that Arsene Wenger’s side
are at home and have been without any silverware for almost nine years now puts
enormous pressure on the Gunners to deliver against a Liverpool side that will have nothing to lose.
As an Arsenal
fan you have got to be fearful. With a massive Champions League clash against Bayern Munich to follow three days later, Wenger
is left with some very tricky decisions.
The Bayern tie looks to be one that
they cannot win, so it would be understandable if Arsenal decide to prioritise
the FA Cup and seek to end that torturous silverware drought.
Arsenal have seemed a very weary
side of late, as though they are carrying around a big weight of expectation
and pressure; Liverpool, meanwhile, have been playing with a wonderful freedom
and confidence.
Wenger’s team selection is going to
be very interesting indeed in terms of what he wishes to prioritise and this
week he could define the rest of the season for his side with key trophies now
very much on the line.
Liverpool’s team picks itself at the
moment and the fact that Brendan Rodgers does not have to worry about anything
but ticking along in the league and attacking the cups with relish can only
benefit the approach his players will have.
It says a lot about where Arsenal
are at right now that, despite saying that they are the top team who most need
to win the FA Cup, Wenger would probably be the last to face any repercussions
if his side do not deliver again.
Having spent £42m on Mesut Ozil,
finally spending big; having staggeringly expensive season tickets; and having
neglected to sign a much-needed second striker for the third transfer window in
succession – the excuses will not be there for Arsenal.
Every February we all wait for
Arsenal to slip away and it could be that way yet again. Liverpool have to be
the clear favourites for this tie the way they are playing and given how they
exploited Arsenal’s lack of pace in their recent league match.
Wenger gets away with not winning
trophies every time, but in sharp contrast this is a trophy that Manuel Pellegrini could well need to win if he is
unable to steer his expensively-assembled City side to the Premier League
title.
Pellegrini cannot afford to be
outfoxed by Jose Mourinho again on Saturday but I predict that Chelsea will
rotate their squad and rest a few key players which could really help City’s
cause – particularly given the fact that they are at home.
This is a very big game for City,
who simply must not lose to Chelsea again, and Pellegrini must find a way of
responding to his critics with Mourinho no doubt very keen to again show that he
is the top boss in England
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