The diminishing of the FA Cup over the last few years has been apparent to anyone.
Premier League and Champions League money has left the once proud competition in the shade, and the FA’s attempts to reinvigorate the cup have done more damage than good.
However, it’s a special tournament for Arsenal, who have won the trophy more times than anyone else, and Arsene Wenger who has more FA Cup triumphs (6) than any other modern manager.
The Gunners face Lincoln City at the Emirates tomorrow, and club captain Per Mertesacker says that the inspired run the National League side have had is evidence that the cup still has something special.
“That’s what the cup’s about, that’s the beauty of it,” he told the official site.
“They were all buzzing to meet us at Sutton. They gave us a good reception, both their players and fans. This time we know our home ground better and we are excited to play in front of our home crowd on the way to Wembley.
“But the way they went to Burnley and won, in that fashion, that needs to be respected. We cannot underestimate any side in any league in this country, and that’s what I’ve learned. When I played in the German cup, it was the same.
“The only advantage here is that in Germany we would’ve travelled to Lincoln because they have home-court advantage.
“That would’ve been more interesting, but at the same time they won away from home in the previous round.”