Arsenal‘s 2-1 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup was a cracking match that displayed exactly why it still matters to many.
The fifth-round line up was always set to give us fans something exciting. We had to wait until the final fixture of the weekend, but it was a real cracker.
Arsenal took a 2-0 lead just after half time, but that sparked an already entertaining contest into overdrive. So many journalists, pundits and even certain fans have said in recent years that the FA Cup no longer matters, that it’s lost its shine and that it is dying.
This cup tie was the complete opposite of that belief. Even if viewing figures are down slightly compared to the other competitions, it is just a byproduct of the modern game. But in terms of raw football terms, it mattered.
The frantic battle came from the two teams genuinely recognizing as the clock ran down, that they were fighting for a really great shot at major silverware. Liverpool’s drastic efforts until the last minutes showed us that they wanted that cup glory. But perhaps the Arsenal situation told us more.
They’re still in with a shot of the Premier League title and a long shot of the Champions League. Yet, despite those options the Emirates Stadium was rocking. The 59,000 in attendance were passionate and you could see it reflected on the pitch.
21-year-old Yaya Sanogo made his first start for Arsenal. Having arrived from France last summer, he is perhaps a little distanced from the history of England’s FA Cup. But he was signalling the crowd to get louder, running his socks off and helping a passionate performance get its rewards.
I hope people don’t feel Arsene Wenger‘s slightly weakened team selection meant he has less care for it than in the past. As those players that were rested were simply necessary for their plans this season.
The passion from each and every player, from no matter which area of the globe they had originated, gave us all the answer to the question, “Is the FA Cup losing it’s magic?” It was one of the best matches I’ve seen all year. Quality was perhaps a little off in some areas and chance conversion was average. But the tempo and endless desire from all 22 men was unquestionably exciting.