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All Guns Blazing: Let Arsenal fans enjoy the magic of FA Cup

10:55 07 January 2015

Arsenal

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez (left) gets past Hull City's Harry Maguire during the FA Cup, Third Round match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Layth Yousif laments the changing identity of the FA Cup, but says it’s still got the magic.

The third round of this season’s FA Cup felt a long way from our glorious day out at Wembley last May.

For one, the bloke selling the-half-and-half scarves at Finsbury Park was met with apathy.

Whereas I saw a sickening amount of corporate fans on Wembley Way proudly wearing this strangely unsettling 21st century concept as if it were a badge of honour.

It was also freezing. Whereas, Saturday May 17, 2014 was a magnificent summer’s day, the type of which the FA should copyright as solely belonging to the final of the world’s oldest cup competition.

But what was most striking in our third round game against Hull was that the sense of occasion was missing. The sense of anticipation.

Ok, it was hardly the best of games. Although the sight of the soon-to-become legendary Alexis Sanchez, and the relish he showed in absolutely sprinting to take a corner late in the game only filled me with the joy of watching someone who absolutely loves football. And that’s without even

mentioning his sublime goal, which looked even better from my seat behind it.

It was a subdued atmosphere, even by our standards, in a less than full ground. Even if an inappropriate kick-off time of 5.30pm is the latest I can ever recall a game of ours starting on a Sunday.

To be fair, I did notice the home sections next to the away end were sold out – which suggests the gaps in the seats around the rest of the stadium had more to do with absent season ticket holders.

It simply didn’t feel like a third round cup tie. Was it because not much will live up to the drama of our previous cup game against the Humbersiders? Or was it because the FA Cup is now spread over five days – stretching from Friday to Tuesday? In the 80s you could have drawn the first game and got the replay out of the way in the same amount of time.

I just hope it isn’t because people simply don’t care as much about the old trophy as much as they once did.

Because I do – and I can’t wait for Brighton away.

Unless, of course, the powers-that-be move a weekend on the South Coast planned by a shedload of loyal Gooners to a miserable Tuesday night...

Follow me @laythy29

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