All Guns Blazing: Luck’s catching Arsenal up in FA Cup

12:56 18 February 2015

Arsenal's Patrick Vieira and Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo battle for the ball in the 2005 FA Cup final. Picture: Neal Simpson/PA

Arsenal's Patrick Vieira and Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo battle for the ball in the 2005 FA Cup final. Picture: Neal Simpson/PA


In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Alex Bellotti says that the Gunners will have to overcome their mental barrier against Manchester United to leave Old Trafford with a result.

Karma has a funny way of coming back around. As hard- fought as Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph was last season, there was a great deal of fortune that came our way during the run, and now it’s catching up.

Throughout the entire competition, we never had to leave London, nor did we have to face any of the previous season’s top three teams. Most fortuitously, during our home game against Liverpool, the visitors were denied a stonewall penalty to equalise late on – but this season, the Merseysiders have progressed with an easy-looking home draw, safe in the knowledge that their two main rivals have to go head to head.

There’s no doubt that Manchester United away is a fixture best avoided but, looking at it objectively, Arsenal should feel they have a good chance. Not only did United struggle to progress against Preston, but all season they have routinely fallen short of anything close to a convincing performance.

The problem is that, as in Alex Ferguson’s final campaign, they have kept winning regardless – and against us their record, even under duds like David Moyes, is annoyingly consistent.

It seems to be a mental thing, and when we face them on March 9, it will be that factor rather than ability or form that will prove decisive. Channelling some of the tactical nous we showed at Manchester City will be vital, but as I suggested the other week, the blue side of Manchester has always proved a happier hunting ground than the red and this test will certainly be a tougher psychological hurdle to overcome.

Ultimately, as a fan, there are plenty of reasons why we have to win it. Like Liverpool or United, the FA Cup now looks like our only realistic chance of silverware this season and as holders, you don’t want to relinquish that grip.

If United were to win it, they’d become the most successful team in the competition’s history; conversely, the same could be said of us. Furthermore, just the pant-wetting annoyance of Liverpool fans ending their relative trophy drought with Stevie G bowing out on his birthday is too much to fathom.

Unlike in previous seasons, the full-strength side we fielded against Middlesbrough suggests Arsene Wenger is prioritising the FA Cup again. Even if it means securing a return game at the Emirates, though, this next match feels like one we really can’t afford to lose.

Follow me @alexbellotti


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Sports News


A tale of two penalties decided the Islington Primary Schools’ Years 3-4 Boys’ Cup final as St Joan of Arc emerged victorious.

Mon, 13:01

Arsene Wenger turned 67 on Saturday, but his team failed to give him the birthday present he coveted most – three points against Middlesbrough.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Unbeaten Archway light-middleweight Tony Milch intends to demonstrate his championship credentials when he returns to the ring at York Hall next month.

Friday, October 21, 2016

On paper at least, the Gunners face a fairly straightforward contest against a misfiring Middlesbrough side at the Emirates on Saturday. Indeed, William Hill’s 12/1 odds, posted in favour of an away win, provide a clear indication of the strength of Arsenal’s favouritism.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Islington BC’s Jerome Campbell praised his coaching team after reaching the last four of the National Development Championship with a confident display on Sunday.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Oleg Yurkevyah and Constantin Tronciu both netted hat-tricks for Niva FC as they thrashed Wounded Knee 8-0 in the Hackney & Leyton League Premier Division.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Arsenal’s first match against Bulgarian opposition was a successful one, as Arsene Wenger’s men ran out comfortable 6-0 winners on matchday three of the Uefa Champions League group stage.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Andy Maud finished second on his Metropolitan League debut to lead Highgate Harriers to victory in their opening race of the season at Claybury.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport


Show Job Lists


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now