FA Cup Preview: Sutton United V Arsenal
Humiliated; ridiculed; reviled. Yes, it’s been a bad week for Piers Morgan. But while insufferable dipshit Morgan has been making a show of himself on a grand scale, the football team the odious TV presenter follows have had problems of their own in the last few days too.
So does Monday’s FA Cup tie away to Sutton United offer Arsenal the chance to repair some of the damage done last week, when the side were dismantled 5-1 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League? Or is it just another opportunity for Arsene Wenger to flounder in farcical style, the Frenchman’s reputation as chic footballing intellectual incinerated as Wenger’s inner Clouseau emerges?
In the wake of last week’s defeat at the Allianz Arena, it’s been suggested that Wenger has passed the point of no return. Arsene must say ‘adieu’, according to the critics who point to year after year of stagnation at the North London club, of which last week’s European misery was just the latest example.
But such is football’s freewheeling emotional rollercoaster, a manager condemned in February could yet hear the supporters singing his name come May. The more charitable onlooker would suggest that losing 5-1 to the German champions is a fate that could befall any team; we’re not sure if that point is bolstered or undermined by the fact that losing 5-1 to the German champions is a fate that also befell Arsenal two years ago.
Arsenal have now lost three of their last four games in all competitions, racking up two enormously damaging losses in the Premier League that have all but snuffed out any faint hope that the North London club could challenge for the title this season. Their Champions League adventure is technically alive – but realistically, deader than disco.
Which means that FA Cup glory (that, and a place in the top four) are the only things Arsenal have left to play for this season. The plucky opposition, the plastic pitch of Gander Green Lane, the fading significance of this competition in absolute terms – none of that can detract from the fact that what’s been flagged up as a potential banana skin should actually turn out to be a cakewalk.
Wenger apparently plans to play a weakened side in tonight’s encounter; yet for all that, Arsenal are a hugely odds-on 1/9 to win this game, while the hosts are 21/1 shots. Winners of the FA Cup in 2014 and ’15, Arsene Wenger may no longer be able to satisfy a fan base that once worshipped him – but it would be truly worthy of a disbelieving ‘zut alors!’ if the team come unstuck tonight.
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