Come on Arsenal … we love the FA Cup

Tonight we turn our attention to the FA Cup, with a place in the quarter final up for grabs! We travel to the south coast to face league one promotion chasers Portsmouth. This will be the first time we’ve met since 2009.

After our disappointing exit from the Europa league, this is now our last chance of some silverware this season. I love the FA cup, so am hoping Mikel fields a very strong 11, as we’re all in need of a pick me up!

Now I’m not saying this will be easy, as Fratton Park will be packed to the rafters, and their fans will be their 12th man! Although our away support is amazing so it should be a cracking atmosphere!

I believe Mari will make his debut, this is the line up I’d like to see :


AMN     Mari     Holding     Saka,

Guendouzi     Torreira     Willock,

Martinelli     Nketiah     Aubameyang

I’ve picked Saka, but think he needs a rest. If Mustafi is fit then maybe he could deputize?! I’m going to go with a 3-1 win (& hopefully won’t feel the need to turn over to Eastenders 😀)




92 Responses to Come on Arsenal … we love the FA Cup

  1. Thank you Sue for the post.

    It seems weird that we’re the first fixture in the current round having been the last fixture in the previous rounds. And Monday night football too. What’s that all about???? Still, I’m looking forward to this FA Cup game because, like Sue, I love the FA Cup.

    Hope you’re right about Mori 😉

  2. Sue says:

    Oh Peaches, I’ve just seen who’s refereeing – Mr Dean 😳 no var though.

  3. RockyLives says:

    Nice one Sue

    Arsenal and the FA Cup are linked by destiny.

    Let’s hope the boys have picked themselves up after last week’s disappointment.

    I lived in Portsmouth for a while and I’ve been to a few Arsenal games there. You’re right that the atmosphere will be lively. Their fans can be very noisy, with the famous Pompey Chimes ringing around the stadium.

    We have a little run of south coast games coming up. Pompey tonight, then, after playing West Ham, we have Saints and Brighton. Let’s hope we coast through them all.

  4. RockyLives says:

    Dean? Ugh.

    We’d better make sure we don’t give him the opportunity to stiff us.

  5. Sheila says:

    I think we are the first team to play as we missed our game with City, & I am pleased at least that our game is on TV as I can’t get to away games much now .
    Mike Dean !!!! no need to say more
    The thing I remember most about Portsmouth fans is that they sing all the way through their games even if they are losing, a great fan base ( well they used to the last time I have watched them play)

  6. RC78 says:

    I d like to see:

    Martinez – AMN, Mari, Luiz, Soares – Torreira, Douzi – Nelson, Laca, Saka – Nketiah

  7. Le Coq Monster says:

    Nice one Sue.

    Should be a hostile atmosphere as a cut throat mean looking hairy bunch of scarred scurvy hate filled retrobates you wont find as bad as there……… comparison the men there are angels!

    We are the greatest ever winners of the worlds oldest football cup competition to add to our Invincibles crown…………lets keep it going!

  8. Pete the Thirst says:

    Good one Sue.

    This should be a walk in the Fratton Park, shouldn’t it?

    That unbeaten season is extremely hard to do as many teams are finding out. What makes it better is that the Scousers aren’t happy about it…

  9. Sue says:

    Pete.. I’m still on a high over that Watford win! I must’ve watched the highlights about 20 times!! Loving Twitter too, been some hilarious stuff on there… that really has made my year!
    Yes, they’ll be champions, but at least it won’t be unbeaten – there is a God!! Hallelujah!!

  10. Rasp says:

    Thank you Sue.

    I’d throw everything at the FA Cup short of risking players who are not fully fit or fatigued … so I agree Saka needs a rest.

    We can’t have Maureen winning a trophy in his first season with the miscreants … the best way to do that is win it ourselves … after all, we don’t have to worry about European games any more!

    I hope we do see Mari. It must be the biggest 180 in history for Mustafi to go from the most denigrated player to being lamented for his absence when Olympiacos got their winning goal …. would a match fit Mari have stopped that free shot in our 6 yard box I wonder?

    I know students who have been to Portsmouth uni and would tell you that Fratton Park is a no go area. The fans will be intimidating as will the football I reckon so not a game for the faint hearted.

    We have to erase the doubts that resurfaced after Olympiacos and play in a calm controlled manner … but … but … don’t dwell on the ball, get it forward quickly and with purpose whilst holding our shape in defence. And it would be a really good idea not to give away too many corners or free kicks because they will undoubtedly see set pieces as our achilles heel.

  11. Sue says:

    So in other words, Rasp.. we should pull our sofas out 😀

  12. LBG says:

    With no desire to usurp Sue’s position as No 1 poster for today, recommend highly article on Invincibles by Tommy Conlon on back page today of Times sports section.
    “You dont know what you (could have had) till its gone”, to paraphrase inaccurately, the great Joni Mitchell.

  13. allezkev says:

    That was a nice read Sue, thanks for that…

    Everton, then Olympiarkos seemed to have found a chink in our armour with high balls into the box and no doubt Pompey will have taken note, so yeah, Mari to start, but I did read that Mustafi was training normally again and maybe Sokratis is an option at the back as Holding is still not up to speed.

  14. RockyLives says:

    Given our weakness from high balls into the box in recent games, there’s a strong case for trying out Mari. I think he’s 6ft 4ins, compared with Mustafi (6ft), Sokratis (6ft 1in) and Luiz (6ft 2ins).

    Size isn’t everything, as they say, but it’s got to count for something.

  15. RockyLives says:

    And yet… Mustafi has been very aggressive at winning aerial balls in recent games, so perhaps the problems have been less “height and desire” and more organisation in the box (eg leaving Ozil to mark the 6ft 6in defender when Olympiacos had a corner).

  16. allezkev says:

    It’s all in the timing of the jump as Frank McLintock often proved against Peter Osgood.

    Having defenders who can think on their feet and organise without needing the coach to tell them everything is also a big help.

  17. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Sue…..and a big thank-you to our yellow and black neighbours. You just knew that letting them have our old training ground next door would pay off eventually 🙂

    I like RC78’s proposed back line if Mari and Soares are fit, but may be better with AMN at LFB and Soares at RFB. If we are doing that then we should be giving Saka a rest so no point putting him in the side further forwards. Would get Martinelli in for this one instead.

    Le Coq 🙂 your knowledge of women all along the south coast has no equal 🙂

  18. GoonerB says:

    Rocky, I have to say that Mustaffi has been excellent at putting in good headed clearances in the last couple of games but wasn’t there a stat against Everton that showed he had a lot of headed clearances but that we lost 7 out of 8 direct aerial duels in our box.

    That would suggest that his positioning is often good to be the person to head the ball clear but that he and the rest of the team are still dominated in a direct 1-1 aerial challenge.

    I am afraid I still see us and needing more height and size and to be more commanding in these battles with our 1st choice CD partnership .

  19. LBG says:

    18 years ago today DB10 made THAT turn, scored THAT goal against Newcastle.
    Breathtaking, and not even his best ever!

  20. Sue says:

    GB.. maybe we should call on RA to help us out! Nowt would get past him 😜

  21. LBG says:

    Remember BOTH, A M-N and Soares have played left and right back. Would be good to test that reversibility IMO, against a Championship team……..perhaps.

  22. Pete the Thirst says:

    I just love the FA Cup. It helps that We’ve been so successful in recent times in the competition.

    I’m lucky enough to have seen Arsenal win the FA Cup 8 times in person. That’s as many as Spurs have won in their entire history!

    My favourite was probably v Chelsea in 2002 in Cardiff, but Chelsea in 2017 pushes it close.

    I have a feeling that if we win tonight we will pull a big team at home in the last 8.

    Come On You Rip Roaring Reds

  23. RA says:

    A fine Post, Sue, an erudite and enjoyable read, thank you.

    Perhaps you can do more for us – what about a post-match report for tomorrow?? 😁

    I do have a little favour, or two, to ask of you;

    — if/when we score, or
    — if/when Dopey Dean gives a penalty against us, or
    — if Kola makes a magical recovery

    Please remember that — my ears are important to me, (they hold my baseball cap up) and I would very much appreciate it if you could tone down your ‘whoop-whoop’ calls of delight, or anger as my eardrums are still vibrating with your shrieks of despair at the final whistle last Thursday.

    (In fairness, GB was venting too, at the time, and the pair of you made me search for a life boat – dry land or not).

    I humbly thank you in advance — GB already knows the camel gets it if he sounds off.)

  24. Sue says:

    RA.. you will be pleased to know that on Saturday, at around 7pm, I lost my voice – can’t for the life of me think why 😜 – so your ears have a reprieve……

  25. RA says:

    I, too, have always loved the pomp and circumstance of the FA Cup (altho, when we have lost a final – not so much).

    I was at the 2000/01 Final in Cardiff, against the Piddle, and I was not best pleased that somehow we lost when Michael Owen somehow banjaxed us.

    Never liked him and his accent after that. 🧐

  26. RA says:

    You lost your voice, Sue???? Oh, my goodness – and now you cannot even squeak, I bet – how terrible!! 😳

  27. RockyLives says:


    That 2001 final against the Puddlers was definitely one that got away. We were way better than them throughout and then Owen, in classic Liverpool fashion, mugged us and ran away. Boo!

    I’ve been totting up the Cup Final wins I’ve been lucky enough to attend, but I can’t quite match Pete’s…

    I’ve got: 1979, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2015, 2017.

    The only FA Cup final defeat I’ve been to was that daylight robbery in 2001.

    What a lucky boy I’ve been…

  28. RA says:


    You referred, above, to the improvement in the heading ability of Mustafi, and that is undoubtedly true.

    You also questioned the ‘height and desire’ theory of defending crosses, etc, in our box which left the 5′ 11″ Mesut to defend a header when confronted by a 6′ 6″ oppo player in the box, which is also fair enough.

    I think the zonal marking cock-ups are still responsible for that, as each defender is allotted a space to mark, irrespective of the physicality of the opposition player.

    Actually — last Thursday, the defence opened up like Moses commanding the Red Sea to part, leaving the 6′ 6″ Olympiakos CB to stroll thru at leisure and score.

  29. RockyLives says:

    Fair point Redders.

    I think allocating the right defenders to obvious threats in the opposition team would help. In the case of Ozil, even if he was 8ft 6ins I wouldn’t back him to stop a determined player who wants to get his head on the ball.

    GoonerB’s point about us losing 7 out of 8 aerial duels against the Toffeemen is a bit worrying…

  30. RA says:


    The number of Finals you have been able to get to far outweighs the paltry 3 I have attended.

    One way or another, even when I have been abroad, I have seen the other 10 on TV, one way or another, altho, on one occasion, I had to pretend to be a little loco with alcohol and sneered and yelled threateningly at the bar staff if anyone tried to get the channel changed to a more popular game. [imagine, they thought there was a more popular game???]. 🤔

  31. RA says:

    Sorry, Rocky,

    I have only personally been to 2 Finals, and watched another 3 on TV.

    My memory was getting ‘spaced’ mixing the FA Cup with some European ties. Hmmm – that was a bit worrying. 🥺

  32. RA says:


    — “In the case of Ozil, even if he was 8ft 6ins I wouldn’t back him to stop a determined player who wants to get his head on the ball.” 😁

    Totally agree.

    I watched Theo for the Toffees against the Manure and it made me smile — he did what he had perfected at Arsenal — when he was within 10 yards of a pass breakdown, he would run very athletically towards it, but never quite managed to get there in time.

    The reason I smiled was it reminded me of an old cowboy movie I saw where a counterpoint was the 7th Cavalry charged when the Indians attacked somewhere and they set off to deal with the attack, with bugles blowing and guns firing.

    Meanwhile the action elsewhere continued with the ‘Hero’ saving the ‘Fair Lady’ and 10m minutes later the 7th Cavalry arrived – like Theo, too late. 😁

  33. RockyLives says:

    Haha – perfect description of Theo.

  34. RockyLives says:

    It’s been quiet here for the last couple of hours.

    Is everyone getting nervous?

  35. GoonerB says:

    LBG, I think I would like to see an AMN and Soares left back right back option today and maybe even switch them around to see how that works if all is going well in the game, although I think on the official website they don’t have Soares back in full training for another 1-2 weeks. Why not give young Bola from the academy a go on the left?

    Rocky those 7 out of 8 duels was a rough recollection, but it was something like that, and was representative of our whole defence. Mustafi must surely have been involved in some of those lost duels, so I feel despite his good clearances when in the right place he will still lose out in many 1-1 duels.

    This is something that we need to address but I think it will be moving forwards. A lot could depend on how Mari shapes up so he will be a very interesting one to watch. I am keeping my fingers crossed with him because, with Saliba arriving, he may stop us having to spend big on another CD in the summer if he looks good.

    I compiled a little list of the defenders we could choose from next year as our mainstays before we even enter the transfer market and put them in ascending order of height:

    Mustafi – 1.84cm : 6′
    Chambers – 1.85cm : 6’1″
    Socratis – 1.86cm : 6’1″ (and a half)
    Holding – 1.88cm : 6’2″
    Luiz – 1.89cm : 6’2″ (and a half)
    Saliba – 1.92cm : 6’3″
    Mari – 1.93cm : 6’4″
    Medley – 1.96cm : 6’5″

    Now interestingly two players we have been linked with, Upamecano and Koulibaly, both come in at 1.86m (6’1″) so both sit on the list next to Socratis. They would still be below 5 of our other good options.

    I feel it is good to have a slight mix of defenders that have different size and mobility attributes anyway so 1-2 sub 6’2″ CD’s can be accommodated. Chambers, provided he rehabs well could be kept. His versatility in 3 positions makes him valuable.

    6’2″ and above feels a good height for an EPL CD, so anything from Holding upwards, and that gives us some good options from the big uns. Much may depend on if Holding can make it back to pre-injury level and we have to trust the coaches in that decision.

    This is why I am also interested in how Mari does because we would have 3 good options in him, Saliba and Luiz with potential back up from Holding, Chambers and Medley if he looks the deal.

    Also Saliba looks the absolute real deal and is that rare defender that has height, strength, pace, technical ability and seemingly reads the game like a senior pro. If he stays injury free I feel we have our VVD, our Vincent Kompany, possibly something even better. I predict he will be a first choice from the moment he joins us, so it is the others that are chasing down the 2nd spot next to him.

    I am sure most of you have checked out the youtube footage on Saliba but if not have a look at this

  36. GoonerB says:

    There you are Rocky, something to take up your time right until kick off 🙂

  37. fred1266 says:

  38. Sue says:

    Mari starts!

  39. RockyLives says:

    Thanks GoonerB 😀

    Sok at RB presumably.

    I like the look of the young core. Nelson and Martinelli (and Saka) will hopefully create opportunities for Eddie.

    Gwen and Willock in MF – plenty of energy with Terrier as the anchor.

    I’m excited.

  40. RA says:

    I am really hopeful too, Rocky.

    Thanks for the info on the respective potential CBs and CDs GoonerB.

    It has been quite a time since I saw Medley play, but he looked physically the perfect height for us, he was really technically good, and he could play at CB or CD, because he seemed pretty fleet of foot too, so as we have seen sod all of him playing, even off the bench, I presume his youth has made Mikel wary.

    I think LBG will agree with my comment about Medley, so fingers crossed he will come good.

  41. RockyLives says:

    Back to defenders’ heights…

    Big Tone was just under 6ft 3in.
    Big Sol… just under 6ft 2in (but was also 6ft 2in wide).
    John Terry (Boo!)… 6ft 1in but dominant in the air.

  42. RA says:


    If Mari starts, just let me know, and I will sort him out.

  43. Sue says:

    RA.. 😂

  44. RockyLives says:

    Redders 😀

  45. RockyLives says:

    All Brazilian central defence pairing.

  46. Sue says:

    The one player you don’t want to go off, is going off. Not a good start… poor Lucas…

  47. Rasp says:

    I didn’t realise Martin Keown was such an arsehole. The idea that any challenge is ok because ‘they got the ball’ is antiquated and incorrect. You can get the ball and it be a reckless challenge if it is conducted in such a way as it is likely to injure an opponent. The Portsmouth players are wound up and smashing into our players at every opportunity

  48. Aaron says:

    Dang, really, only the Arsenal can lose this many players.
    Will probably get a yellow card now for the second foul an Arsenal players commits..

  49. RockyLives says:

    Hmmm… another central defender gets a free header in our penalty area. Lucky we’re not a goal down.

  50. RockyLives says:

    Sok is not a bad player, but he certainly isn’t a right back.

  51. Sue says:

    Bloody hell this is tense!

  52. fred1266 says:

    Why amn not getting a run jeez and waste of time guendouzi is

  53. Aaron says:

    How on earth is deaN allowed to officiate our games? It beggars belief.

  54. RockyLives says:

    We’re not looking great but the commentary team are so over the top about everything. You can virtually hear them wishing for the “cup upset”.

  55. fred1266 says:

    Is the ref blind or something

  56. GoonerB says:

    Mike Dean definitely looking to sending off an Arsenal player tonight. He so wants the little guys to beat the big team he hates the most. How is this guy still reffing Arsenal games.

  57. RA says:

    Pace, Rocky, or the lack of it.

    Sok is far too slow.

    The fact is we – as a team – seem to be on a go slow, and I’m disappointed Mikel has not read them the riot act as it has become ingrained in the team’s psyche.

  58. LBG says:

    Mike Dean is like Johnson. Thinks hes untouchable.

  59. Sue says:

    Christ they’re dirty sods… I bet Mike Dean has a blue shirt on underneath. I really can’t stand that bloke.

  60. RA says:


    He is a reffing idiot.

  61. Rasp says:

    Q What do Mike Dean and Jermaine Jenus have in common?

    A … they’re both twats

  62. RockyLives says:

    I hope there are some senna tablets in the half time dressing room – we’re playing a very constipated style of footy

  63. GoonerB says:

    I’d put it stronger than that RA but we essentially concur

  64. RockyLives says:

    When I said Sok was not a right back, what I meant was that he’s a centre forward 😀

  65. Sue says:


  66. That’s why Socratis is on the pitch … to score a goal 😂

  67. Sue says:

    Hear hear, Rasp!!

  68. Rasp says:

    Jenus “we didn’t deserve it” … we’ve had 71% possession? These pundits are being paid to talk this shite?

  69. Aaron says:

    Will take it.
    deaN will probably have a word with the opposing coach in the tunnel after halftime on the way out and say “don’t worry, I got this!”

    Somehow the Arsenal have to defend this lead. Get it done lads.

  70. RockyLives says:

    The punditry is sick-making.

  71. Aaron says:

    Many games I watch with the sound off or I would not have a tele left to watch it on.

  72. RA says:

    Rasper, 😁 😁

    Well Jenus is an ex-Spud – so no surprise there. 😩

    I usually like Martin Keown having spent some time in his company. But you are correct about his comment re the Terrier injury.

    I think he dismissed the tackle before the close up showed it was dangerous, and instead of admitting his mistake he carried on blustering.

  73. RockyLives says:

    What a lovely goal. Well played Reiss and great poaching Eddie.

  74. Sue says:

    Eddie!!! I think we’ll see a grown man crying soon – yes the man in black!

  75. Rasp says:

    Jenus’ verdict on Eddie’s goal .. “he was a bit lucky” … no … it was a brilliant touch and finish

  76. RockyLives says:

    Jenas… the man who scored in the NLD and celebrated as if it had stopped us winning the league…

    Then realized that no, we were still winning the league…

    At the N17 toilet…

    For the second time…

  77. RockyLives says:

    Right to take Willock off. He’s looked completely cream crackered for the last 20 minutes.

    Not sure why that should be.

  78. RockyLives says:

    Pretty happy with Mari tonight. Physically imposing but also nice footwork.

  79. Aaron says:

    Nelson with 2 assists, Eddie with another goal and Mari getting the job done.

  80. Sue says:

    Job done 👍

  81. Punch all the commentators for talking such rubbish.

    Some really lovely play from the youngsters. Very impressed with Reiss Nelson tonight.

    Who fancies writing something for tomorrow?

  82. RockyLives says:

    Quarter finals here we come.

  83. Sue says:

    The draw is on Wednesday.

  84. allezkev says:

    Jenus, Keown, you lot are lucky, I had to listen to Tony Pulis on the radio.
    It was all too much so I just had to turn it off…

    Great result, delighted for Eddie

  85. Sue says:

    Poor you, Kev 😄

  86. LBG says:

    “The kids are worth the risk!”
    Eddie’s running off the ball and goal. Possible. MOM.
    Reiss impressive work all round. Possible MOM.
    But for me, apart from upsetting Dean, (kick him in the crown jewels next time and upset him properly!), its Douzi for me. MOM.

  87. LBG says:

    Mark my words, like Dominic Thompson before him, Bola has great potential! “All we are saying, is give yoof a chance”!

  88. RockyLives says:

    I’ll do a few paragraphs Peaches.

  89. RC78 says:

    @Peaches – will give Rocky a break tomorrow and will provide you with a post… Maybe about Ajax or Dortmund and their model and how it can be a blueprint for us maybe 👍

    @Sue – thanks for the prematch

  90. RockyLives says:

    New Post…

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