Would winning the FA Cup salvage Arsenal’s season?

Winning any competitive cup competition is something worth celebrating but would getting their hands on the FA Cup salvage what has been a pretty miserable season for Arsenal?

It certainly couldn’t do any harm, it’s fair to say that much.

What it will not do, however, is assuage the feelings of anger and frustration from fans after the long, hard slog of the regular season. It certainly won’t solve the problems that persist within the structures and setup of the club, either.

But it will be a little bit of relief from the relentless negativity that has slowly enveloped the club since the turn of the year, to the point where this squad is never more than 90 minutes away from disaster.

Arsenal fans know better than most that winning a piece of silverware should never be taken for granted so another trinket for the trophy cabinet so not be so churlishly overlooked, whether it’s the FA Cup, Champions League or Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

I don’t think there is more than a handful of fans out there who believe that winning the FA Cup would represent progress for this squad, and squeezing our way into the league’s top four – however unlikely that may be – will not change that perception.

But that doesn’t mean fans should not get behind the team in the push to win the cup, or that the players should not give it everything to get their hands on it.

In all honesty, the FA Cup represents our last best hope of adding some gloss to the fetid turd of this season and so, for once, we should be the team that ‘wants it more’– in theory at least.

In the build-up to Sunday’s game, midfielder Aaron Ramsey took a pragmatic view.

He said: “This is massive for us. It’s going to be important for us to finish the season strongly and hopefully have a final to look forward to.

“It has been a quite difficult season. There are a lot of things being said at the moment but we have to stand up for ourselves and get back on track as quickly as possible.

“There’s still a lot at stake and it’s important now to put ourselves right.”

What many fans fear, particularly those who long for Arsene Wenger’s departure, is that winning the cup – should it happen – will give the manager the excuse he needs to sign the oft-mooted two-year extension to his contract.

I don’t think, however, it is the reason we have seen, and continue to see, a delay in an announcement over the manager’s future. The board is not hanging on to see if we land the cup before making up its mind, no responsible board could or should do such a thing. The planning has to be much longer term.

I think at this point, and given everything we have been through as a club this last four or five months, winning the FA Cup is not going to change the outlook of the manager or the board. In all likelihood, the decision has already been made.

So all things considered, I think winning the cup would represent something of a bright spot in the gloom, if not quite a complete salvage job.

The real frustration from fans lies in the deep-rooted problems with the management and board structure, as well as the quite spectacular underperformance on the pitch, things which a single trophy cannot fix.

That said, no fan should be happier not to win a trophy than they should with enjoying a Gunners victory under the Wembley arch, not if they are a real follower of the club.

All we have to do now is perform at our best for two 90-minute matches. Simple, right?

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