Arsenal: Can Mikel Arteta lead the Gunners to an FA Cup win?

Arsenal, Mikel Arteta (Photo by Neil Hall/Pool via Getty Images)
Arsenal, Mikel Arteta (Photo by Neil Hall/Pool via Getty Images) /

It is not a difficult question, although ascertaining the answer is a bit murkier for Arsenal.

With Mikel Arteta doing his best to implement organization at Arsenal, patterns and discipline into the team since he took over in December, the brief offseason would appear much sunnier with an FA Cup victory against Chelsea. The revolution that began before Christmas would be celebrated were it to end with a victory; it could very well incentivize further spending at the Emirates, as well as the long term retention of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Conversely, Frank Lampard could use his first FA Cup trophy as a manager to galvanize his young team moving towards the new campaign. With the purse available for Lampard at Chelsea, silverware would only stifle those who claim Maurizio Sarri enjoyed a better first season last year.

With these factors noted, who could use it more? And as asked above, can Arsenal realistically win?

Arsenal: Primed for special moments against special opposition with Mikel Arteta in command

Since the Premier League restart, Arsenal has shown glimpses of their future under the brilliant Spanish manager; victories against Liverpool and Manchester City offered great excitement for Gooners across the world, while the Leicester City game showed us all what is still to be worked towards.

Against Chelsea, a rematch game for many of these players from last year, Arsenal can have little complacence; they must be controlled emotionally and intellectually, while still harnessing the memory of defeat in the Europa League Final last season. What difference might it have made to Unai Emery? He likely would still be the manager in North London; Arsenal itself would very well look different across is squad as well.

In any event, Mikel Arteta is here, and his club has played with a different sense of purpose, of organization, and ambition than that of his predecessor. His attention to detail is known, but how he has related to the players and shown care for them is crucial as well; if Arsenal plays with the inspiration they demonstrated against the two best clubs in the Premier League, Chelsea will be hard-pressed to succeed.

But will they?

Yes, in part thanks to Pep Guardiola

Arsenal senses the moment; despite suffering injuries, young players are playing with ambition and determination; in turn, this is pushing the older players to progress further still as well.

With the backend of the shape lighter thanks to the recent Shkodran Mustafi injury, do not be surprised to see another conservatively played match. Although it is not the style we will expect to see as the years move forward, the tactical advantage Mikel Arteta can imagine for Arsenal may end up being a key advantage the club has over Chelsea.

Frank Lampard is a good manager and he will continue to get better; while he managed Derby County for a successful season last campaign, it is hard to imagine he had the masterclass of strategy brought to Arteta by Pep Guardiola of Manchester City. While Frank Lampard likely has the superior squad, will he have the superior tactics? The superior spirit?

We will shortly find out, but what is certain above all else is that the game will be hard-fought and the victor will have an emotional, as well as financial, step up going into the next campaign.

But who needs it more?

From current circumstances, it appears to be Arsenal easily; they are with less money than Chelsea, have done less work in the transfer market in anticipation of the upcoming window, and have no other way into European competition without a stand-out performance.

For Chelsea, this is merely an exclamation mark on a wonderful first season under Frank Lampard; one in which he has utilized academy players to great effect. A victory is desired but even without it, Chelsea will be on a pace for a really competitive season moving forward; Arsenal need every advantage and contribution they can muster.

Mikel Arteta can get this type of stand-out performance out of this team, as we’ve seen during this restart already. Overcoming Chelsea and their own dynamism will be no easy challenge, but then again neither were the matches against Wolves, Liverpool, or Manchester City. Rising to the occasion is exactly what Mikel Arteta wants to see from his own youth and veterans alike; with little time left before we see the final result, Arsenal feels like a different team than last year, and a victory against Chelsea would prove it to be true.