All Guns Blazing: Forget Liverpool, Arsenal’s FA Cup result against Reading is all that matters
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Layth Yousif recalls the spirit of the club’s 1994 European success as he looks ahead to the weekend FA Cup tie.
I interviewed Stewart Houston last week for my next book based on our unforgettable 1993/94 European Cup Winners Cup run and triumph.
Apart from being a thoroughly impressive and decent man whose insight into the tactics of football was far greater than I had ever imagined, and who still loves Arsenal to this day – what struck me was when we were talking about the legendary semi-final against Paris Saint Germain.
He told me emphatically: “No one wants to lose a semi-final. It’s worse than losing a final. For us that tie was all about getting to the final. Nothing else mattered.”
And so it must be on Saturday.
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Yes we are on a terrific run of form where our performances are as stellar as our results – but let’s not get carried away. We aren’t going to win the league – although a runners-up spot after a thumping of Chelsea setting us up for a genuine tilt at the title next season would be very welcome.
Our one chance of silverware this season – as many have been saying since our sluggish start to the season – is the FA Cup.
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So, put aside a lot of nonsense on social media where people are already talking about avenging the 2001 FA Cup Final. The fact is we are playing Reading, not Liverpool. And we need to beat them first before thinking about anything else.
Which is why after last season’s narrow win against Wigan I ignored all the pundits who crucified us for our performance that day.
Notwithstanding the fact we were actually playing the holders, who deserved far more respect than they were given by those outside the club – all that mattered was the fact we got through. And we did.
Admittedly by the skin of our teeth – but if you know anything about Arsenal you’ll know we never do things the easy way if we can help it.
Which is why we must all get behind our team at Wembley on Saturday even if Reading frustrate us.
The last time we played them in a cup match it was 7-5. It was the most incredible game of football I’ve ever been to - and I’ve been to more than a thousand Arsenal games. I took my son that night who simply couldn’t believe his young eyes.
One thing I do know is Saturday won’t be a replica of such a free-flowing game. Semi-finals rarely are.
It’s all about the result. Nothing else matters.
Follow Layth on twitter @laythy29