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FA Cup Glory Is No Longer a Priority, It's a Necessity

arsenal fa cup winners parade

As most expected, Arsenal thrashed Lincoln City by five goals to nil to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the third time in four years. It took until the final minute of the first half to make the breakthrough but the result was never in doubt, and Arsene Wenger’s side will be quietly confident of advancing to the final as they bid to win a record 13th FA Cup crown.

Two months ago, supporters wouldn’t have batted an eyelid if Wenger had opted to send out a second string side for the third-round trip to Preston North End in January. Now, the FA Cup could save Arsenal’s season... sort of. The Gunners are right up there in the fight for the top four but there’s nothing quite like winning silverware; especially if it comes at arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur’s expense.

With Spurs, Manchester City and then one of Chelsea or Manchester United set to join the Gunners in the semi-final draw, four of England’s biggest clubs will compete for a place in the final; which can only be positive for the enhancement of the oldest club competition in English football. Silverware is always nice but the opportunity for Arsenal to get one over on their rivals is another reason to harness all of their efforts into the FA Cup.

In years gone by, Arsenal have overlooked the competition – it hasn’t exactly been high on the list of priorities considering how the Gunners usually feature in the knockout stages of the Champions League. However, many believe that the FA Cup helped Wenger to keep his job; with back-to-back victories against Hull City and Aston Villa in 2014 and 2015.

Unfortunately for Wenger, an FA Cup triumph and top four finish might not suffice anymore – he has had plenty of chances to take Arsenal to the next level. The Frenchman has enjoyed plenty of success in the past but many believe his tenure is coming to a sorry end; his relationship with the supporters is in tatters. Fans will always respect what he has achieved over the years but you cannot continue to live in the past; you must move on.

Out of the five teams still in contention for the FA Cup this season, bookmakers suggest Arsenal are only fourth favourite to win. Punters and betters can get the latest tips, such as this preview ahead of Leicester’s recent clash with Hull, via Oddschecker in the build-up to the semi-finals. Despite fans' doubts, Wembley is an iconic venue and Arsenal have a decent record at the new home of English football; Wenger will be confident of (potentially) signing off with another major trophy – he is chasing his 16th as Arsenal boss.

For Arsenal, the FA Cup is very important this year. The Gunners might end up missing out on a place in Europe’s elite club competition for the first time in over two decades, but lifting the trophy at Wembley will remind rivals that Arsenal are still a big club. Change is coming in the next few months but the Gunners will remain competitive if they can prove their worth against England’s big boys in the FA Cup.

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