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Winning The FA Cup Is More Important Than Top Four

I'll admit to feeling wary ahead of Arsenal's trip to Brighton. I'm glad The Arsenal came through it with a 3-2 win because before the match all I could think was we're away from home, in the cup against what will probably be a very much up for it Brighton side this just has, as I told friends, "banana skin written all over it.". Arsenal weren't at their best but they also weren't quite as bad as Manchester United or Liverpool or Manchester City or Swansea or Southampton or Chelsea or Tottenham. It's now perfectly fine to laugh and take the right royal piss out of the appropriate fans. Work on Monday is always that little bit better when you can go in and laugh at people. 

Given the results of other clubs Arsenal have a great chance of retaining the cup they won last season. They are currently second favourites behind Manchester United. I hope we really go for the cup again this year, as I do every year, even if it means sacrificing that fourth spot in the league and Champions League football.

I get that Champions League football is where the money is. The prize money increases the further you progress and obviously there is the lucrative television money that gets distributed between the competing clubs but money can't rival the magic of seeing your team lift a trophy.

I believe that Arsene's consistency in guiding Arsenal into the top four over the course of his management is often overlooked as an achievement due to the trophy drought, yet him doing that has allowed Arsenal to be in a position where they can now spend £30 million plus on players, players that can play in a state of the art 60,000 seater stadium all the while earning huge sums of money per week. 

The ideal situation, if Arsenal aren't going to win the league is to get into the top four and win a cup. As a business Arsenal probably prioritise the top four as more important than winning the cup. As a fan, I find this sad yet I begrudgingly understand why. Against Brighton we rested Mertesacker, Coquelin, Alexis and Cazorla. Thankfully we had more than enough to get through.

If Arsenal were to lose a game in this season's FA Cup I know I'd be quite angry if we hadn't started four players who should be in the first eleven, even if resting them meant we secured Champions League football once again come May. I remember laughing at Spurs when we closed the gap to take fourth over them and I have before sung the "10 Tottenham points in the gap" song. That song though, should only be sung when playing Tottenham. I've seen it sung at quite a few games and can't help but think "are we really still celebrating finishing fourth over Spurs?" I know, it was funny, but it's nothing more than fourth! Rub their noses in it, top four is their everything after all, but don't sing a song about finishing fourth nearly two seasons after it happened!  

Last season's FA Cup win was a reminder of just how good being a football fan can be at times. At Wembley, when Ramsey scored that winner I went wild. We'd won the FA Cup. The greatest, most magical domestic cup competition in world football. An actual cup. The next day was, in my opinion, even better than the day we ended the drought. I stood on Holloway Road amongst a sea of Red and White. Arsenal Flags and Arsenal scarves everywhere. That day was easily one of the greatest days of my life. You don't get a day like that for finishing above Spurs to claim fourth. 

"Two nil down, three two up, that's how Arsenal won the cup!" You can sing that song for the next hundred years. People don't remember who finished fourth (although recently Arsenal have made the spot their own) and people certainly won't care for very long if you do but winning a trophy, any trophy means your name is etched in history.

As a fan you can have a great day out. The kind of day out that makes it all worthwhile. The Arsenal have a fantastic opportunity to win The FA Cup again this season.

When the tougher games come I hope Arsene starts his strongest possible eleven. Arsenal have more than enough strength in depth to finish inside the top four and seriously go for The FA Cup yet if players are in need of a rest I'd rather they were rested in the league games and our place in the Champions League risked. 

I know finishing in the top four is important but I sincerely hope we don't pass up this great opportunity to retain The FA Cup. It's our best chance of winning something this season. And given the teams that have fallen it's a mighty good chance. I love Champions League nights and I love the one European away my wife lets me do each season and I really do hope we get inside the top four but if I had to choose between qualifying for The Champions League and a day out at Wembley then there is only one winner. 

What did she wear?

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Tags: Arsenal, Champions League, AFC, Uefa Champions League, FA Cup, Brighton

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