Arsene Wenger says that the FA Cup remains a ‘fantastic competition’, as he saw his side progress 2-1 over Preston on Saturday evening.
The Arsenal manager has won the trophy more than any other modern manager, and he said the strength of his team selection showed how seriously he’s taking it.
“What more do you want?,” he said.
“I think it was a great tie and I came here with a team of quality. 80 per cent of the players who played today played at Bournemouth. The rest were out.”
And on the cup itself, which has been overshadowed by the money and prestige of the Premier League and Champions League, he continued, “The first round, the third, fourth round, people are a bit more indifferent but after when it gets to the final stages, everybody is absolutely focused on it
“I don’t know why people do not have a positive opinion about it. It’s more the press I think. Inside our game? I would have been devastated to go out so we are focused to compete really.
“Somebody reminded me recently I have never gone out in the third round in 20 years – that means because I care about the competition. There is a debate every year. For me there is no debate. It’s a fantastic competition.”
It’s also worth putting Saturday’s game into the context of the overall third round record – look at some of the opposition you’d expect Arsenal to beat quite comfortably, and you’ll see the cup makes for hard work at times.
Arsene Wenger’s FA Cup Third Round Record
1997: Arsenal 1-1 Sunderland – Replay: Sunderland 0-2 Arsenal
1998: Arsenal 0-0 Port Vale – Replay: Port Vale 1-1 Arsenal (Arsenal win 3-4 on penalties)
1999: Preston 2-4 Arsenal
2000: Arsenal 3-1 Blackpool (game took place on December 13th due to FA’s fear over fixture congestion due to replays).
2001: Carlisle 0-1 Arsenal
2002: Watford 2-4 Arsenal
2003: Arsenal 2-0 Oxford United
2004: Leeds 1-4 Arsenal
2005: Arsenal 2-1 Stoke
2006: Arsenal 2-1 Cardiff
2007: Liverpool 1-3 Arsenal
2008: Burnley 0-2 Arsenal
2009: Arsenal 3-1 Plymouth
2010: West Ham 1-2 Arsenal
2011: Arsenal 1-1 Leeds – Replay: Leeds 1-3 Arsenal
2012: Arsenal 1-0 Leeds
2013: Swansea 2-2 Arsenal – Replay: Arsenal 1-0 Swansea
2014: Arsenal 2-0 Sp*rs
2015: Arsenal 2-0 Hull
2016: Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland
2017: Preston 1-2 Arsenal
FA CUP WINNERS IN THIS YEAR