26 January 2014

FA Cup fifth-round draw: Liverpool? Really?

It's not as if there are many non-Prem sides left in the FA Cup to this point, but the draws we've gotten thus far are starting to feel, well, a bit conspiratorial, if you ask me. The Champions League's Group of Death. Chelsea in the league cup. Tottenham in the FA Cup's fourth round. Bayern in the Champions League round of 16. And now Liverpool. I'll say this, though. At least the domestic draws have kept us at home. It might have been nice to have drawn Sheffield Wednesday or Charlton, for example, but one does not have the FA Cup simply handed to them.

Here's a look at the entire draw:
  • Manchester City v Chelsea 
  • Sheffield United or Fulham v Nottingham Forest or Preston 
  • Arsenal v Liverpool 
  • Brighton v Hull 
  • Cardiff v Wigan 
  • Sheffield Wednesday v Charlton 
  • Sunderland v Southampton 
  • Everton v Swansea
Geographic considerations might have given us a more-favorable draw with Fulham or Charlton Athletic; then again, the same consideration might have given us Chelsea. So it goes. An already-brutal stretch of matches in February just got a touch more difficult. Over the course of twelve days, we'll visit Anfield, host Man U, then Liverpool, and then Bayern. Again, by and large, we'll have the advantage of playing three of these at the Emirates (although it's our away-record that should sinpire fear in our opponents).

I don't buy into the talk of conspiracy, although I will say, if there is one against Arsenal, it doesn't seem to matter all that much. Aside from the league cup, after all, we've shown that we can and will rise no matter what dark forces seem to agitate against us. We advanced from the Champions League group stage, and Bayern have to feel as if they've gotten the toughest draw they could have gotten. We're first in the Prem and doing quite well in the FA Cup so far. We came through the December crucible just fine, thankyouverymuch, and I believe we can emerge the other side of February in much the same way, if a bit worse for wear. And March. Heck and April and May. We've picked up each guantlet that's been thrown down and used it to smack across the cheek those who threw it down in the first place. The FA Cup draw has simply given us another chance to do so.