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Arsenal expert: Gunners "need to come out firing" in FA Cup final against Villa

We talked to the experts over at The Short Fuse about this weekend's match.

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We sat down with PDB from The Short Fuse to answer a few questions ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup final. Here's what a Gunner has to say for himself.

7500 to Holte: You lot won this thing last year. You ended the great trophy drought (which, by the way, literally no one else had sympathy for) and exorcised some demons. Now you want it again. Seems awfully rude. So tell me why you should win. What would a second consecutive FA Cup mean to Arsenal and its fans?

PDB: That "great trophy drought" you mention? A great many Arsenal fans (myself included) didn't care about it. Most of us saw that phrase for what it was - a lazy, shorthand way that people who had no substantive critiques of the second-most successful manager in modern English history (and by far the most successful Arsenal manager since Herbert Chapman) employed to beat up Arsene Wenger because...I don't know why actually. A lot of people overvalue trophies, mostly - I mean, we're here talking about the FA Cup final, the winning of which comes with a trophy, and I want Arsenal to win it very much; but if they don't, it's not a referendum on Arsene Wenger's tenure as many would want you to believe.

Oh...I'm sorry, what was the question? Why should Arsenal win? Well, Arsenal should win because they're kinda the better team. But, Magic Of The Cup and all that. What would a second FA Cup in a row mean to Arsenal? Well, for one, it would make Arsenal the team that has won the most FA Cups of any English team, which would be neat. And for two, it would be another thing that Arsene could use to block out the noise of the Piers Morgans of the world. Unfortunately, a lot of that noise this year has been "YOU BROKE THE TROPHY DROUGHT BUT IT'S ONLY THE FA CUP" which...whatever. Arsenal are in a sort of can't-win position when it comes to success, thanks to a vocal and ridiculous portion of the Arsenal fan base who believe Arsenal are entitled to win things because they're Arsenal. I am not those people.

Is there anything about playing Aston Villa that genuinely worries you?

Christian Benteke is always a threat, and Arsenal aren't great at defending crosses, so if Villa can put a few balls in the box that could be trouble.

And honestly, and I don't mean this as a swipe at Villa at all, the only other thing that worries me is that Arsenal have a recent history of, shall we say, not rising to big occasions - including last year's FA Cup final, if you'll recall, when Arsenal went down 2-0 after 10 minutes but won 3-2 after taking the match to extra time. So honestly, if Arsenal's heads aren't right, Villa could win, but if Arsenal play like Arsenal have played from January to about three weeks ago, I think Arsenal should win.

I've seen plenty of doom and gloom Arsenal fans talking about this match. "Well, Villa are rubbish and we're great, so this is definitely one that we'll lose." Is that honest talk or are you all just trying to reduce expectations?

See above answer, and also see Monaco 3-1 Arsenal (at the Emirates!) and any number of big games this and last season where Arsenal have underperformed. I wish I knew why; all I know is that it happens, and on Cup final day Arsenal will need to come out firing on all cylinders.

There has been lots of talk of Mesut Özil not living up to potential at Arsenal. Personally, he's one of my favorite players. What are your thoughts on him?

I (and the TSF staff, and most of the community as well) love Mesut Özil unreservedly. A lot of the talk of him underperforming is from people who believe that he should be scoring 15-20 goals per season, which is a fundamental misunderstanding of both the skills he possesses and of the role he plays. Özil is the guy who creates - he creates plays by some amazing passing (seriously, he's close to Bergkamp-esque as far as distribution goes), and he also creates space when defenders freak out about how well he can pass the ball and collapse on him, leaving him to thread the ball through to Sanchez or Giroud who suddenly have yards with which to work. He scores a few too, but that's not his main job, and if all you're looking for from a creative midfielder is scoring, you won't find a lot to like about Özil - but you should go back to soccer school because you don't know what you're talking about.

Finally, the big serious question: Do Arsenal win simply because other teams are mesmerized by how pretty they are? Does that make it difficult to blog about the club?

It's tough to know for sure, but it definitely gives Arsenal the edge when they turn up at the stadium looking like they do. I mean, look at it this way - on a good day, I look like current-day Keith Richards after a five-day bender, so I'm intimidated by them just by turning on the TV at home to watch. Having to stand in the tunnel next to the likes of Olivier Giroud? That'd put me a goal down before the match even started.


Many thanks to PDB for taking the time to talk with us! Always nice to hear from the opposition!


Throughout the FA Cup final week, we're raising money for the Villa Rockets Powerchair Football club. With your help we can reach £5,000 and get them a new powerchair! Read about the club and our effort here, or simply click here to donate and help us reach our goal! And remember, if you donate any amount, you can enter to win a free Fabian Delph t-shirt from The Art of Football!