Friday 7th January 2010

Just like the draw back in 2010, FA Cup Third Round day is very special in the English football calendar. Whatever our views are on its importance within the modern game, it is a competition that holds so many incredible memories, including of course for us Gooners.

Not only does tomorrow see this particular road to Wembley begin for the country's top clubs but it is renowned for the drama and shocks that it always seems to provide. It is these aspects that make it such a totally worldwide spectacle.

We go into the weekend on top of a game that if it had been a boxing bout would have been stopped in the early rounds. Yet frustratingly our visitors went away with the same haul of points as we did.

City will see it as a good point so many will call it a job well done. For me, however, the luck they enjoyed, especially in the first half, suggests the tactics were successful for more fortunate reasons than anything else. The bombardment of the woodwork alone once again demonstates those horrible thin dividing lines I seem to keep mentioning at the moment.

Personally I don't blame our visitors for their tactics on the night. We have all seen Italian football over the years so can hardly be surprised! We are used to seeing our team go into every single match looking to win, wherever that may be and this for me is probably why we found Wednesday night difficult to understand from a team challenging for the title.

Apart from not taking maximum points there are a number of positives to take from the night I feel. A clean sheet is always satisfying even if City rarely threatened and results elsewhere on the night also went in our favour. More than that however, we totally dominated the game, played extremely well and created enough chances to win. Overall it simply wasn't our night in front of goal.

England's cricket team put the icing on the cake with their thumping Ashes victory in Australia in this morning's early hours of course. Always great to see and watching the celebrations among the players and fans certainly whets the appetite for success in our sport.

At least that particular series finishing means those of us interested can finally get some proper sleep!

With the other three still very much on target, our fourth chance of success starts tomorrow as we take on Leeds United. A fixture that has included a Final date at Wembley back in 1972, these days our visitors are back on the up after a difficult few years.

As a result it is definitely very much one of those FA Cup banana skins that only a good performance will avoid.

"We're on the march with Arsène's army...!"


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7 Jan 2011