Arsene Wenger was very relieved that Arsenal won their first trophy for ten years by beating Hull City in the FA Cup Final last May, and he is keen to retain the trophy this time around.
But this time we have to face the same opponent in the Third round so we certainly hope that we are not subjected to the pressure of being 2-0 down early on in the game as we were at Wembley.
Wenger admitted on the official Arsenal website that he was very relieved when we managed to make a fantastic comeback to finally lift the trophy. “It was unbelievable,” he said. “We had to knock out Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham en route to the final. Then you arrive in the final and you go 2-0 down after 10 minutes. You can’t believe it. When you know football you know you have very little chance of winning. The fact we were 2-0 down and turned it around was a fantastic relief.”
“Hull are a team that are always very dangerous against everybody. They have had a bad run but they can still go away and win games, so you are cautious.
“Our experience from the cup final keeps us on our toes and we know that we have to be very focused to get out of this game. Sometimes it’s maybe better you play a Premier League team, because you know the quality of your opponent and if you do not have a great performance, you don’t get through.”
“Last season’s final is a great memory but we have a big job to do against Hull,” Wenger continued. “We also want to come back in the Premier League, then we have the Champions League. What is for sure is that we have room for improvement and we have to manage to do that quickly.
“Of course it is important. We want another cup run and we want, if possible, to keep the trophy. We’ve won it five times in my period as manager so that means we know the importance that it has.
“The biggest thing in the third round of the cup is that you play to get in there, to get on the train and stay on the train. That’s sometimes the most difficult thing.
“There is a little pressure as holders, but there is also a motivation not to lose the cup that is in your home. You want to keep it where it is, and that’s a good incentive as well.”
Surely Arsenal will be looking to rest at least a few players, but after our awful performance against Southampton we really need a win today, not just to get through to the next round but to give our very fragile confidence a boost. Wenger then made it clear that he wouldn’t be making too many changes today but one player definitely left out is Wojciech Szczesny.
“Honestly I have to check who is available and who is not,” he said. “The two keepers, Ospina and Martinez, will come in. After that, we will see. I cannot rotate too much either because we need stability. Who comes back? We have the 18 players that played against Southampton – nobody else will play.
“At least we play at home after the Christmas period. That’s not bad, because you play on December 26, 28 and on New Year’s Day. At the moment, we have a decimated squad, so that means everybody will have to contribute very well and a lot. The fact that you play at home can be an advantage.”
It needs to be an advantage and we need to up our game and beat Hull. I simply cannot imagine the Arsenal fans reactions if we fall at the first hurdle in defence of the FA Cup.
Come on you Gooners! Make us proud again!