Arsenal host Newcastle at the Emirates in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.
This has felt like a long week, hasn’t it? A full seven days on from Arsenal putting West Brom to the sword, football is back in the form of the best domestic cup competition in the world.
Back in July – which feels oh so long ago – it brought Arsenal and their supporters unbridled joy. Coming from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final was the highlight of the year. In that time there has been change aplenty.
The Premier League has not been a happy hunting ground for Mikel Arteta‘s side, and while a full corner has not been turned, Arsenal are now peeking around the other side.
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Ironically, this would have been a game to give the youngsters a few minutes. As it is, it’s probably a fixture where most of the old guard may garner a few minutes. By no means, however, should the FA Cup be discounted this season. It means a great deal to supporters, and could even be the Gunners’ most legitimate route back into Europe this season.
Sitting in a lowly 11th place in the top-flight, even with the upturn in form and the bizarre unpredictability of the division this year, we can’t get carried away and expect to suddenly finish in the top six. Not out of the question by any means, mind you.
In terms of the Europa League, there are some fierce opposition left in the competition, not least Benfica who await Arsenal in the round of 32.
Above all, this is a trophy that is Arsenal’s to defend. 14 titles is testament to the club’s ability to produce in knockout-style competition and evidence of its importance to the club.
Newcastle await in an all Premier League tie, and here is your preview of Saturday’s third round clash.