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Turns out, nobody likes Arsenal winning the FA Cup every year

OPINION: After defeat against Nottingham Forest, there was internet delirium as it dawned on people that... it’s NOT Arsenal’s year

11 January, 2018 — By Richard Osley

WE can’t win the FA Cup every year, said Arsene Wenger after Arsenal lost so miserably to Nottingham Forest on Sunday, perhaps forgetting that winning the Cup virtually every year is what has licensed his ongoing stay as the club’s manager.

No you can’t, folks, and nobody realistically expects them to – and beyond Ashburton Grove nobody wants them to.

In fact, the unusual regularity with which Arsenal have won the FA Cup in this comic/tragic era for the club has clearly dulled the hazelnuts off fans of other teams, journalists, broadcasters, and everybody else, probably even the guy who puts the cones out in Upper Street for the bus parade.

Each year we hear about the magic and uncertainty of the grand old FA Cup, with the “anything can happen” drama sketched out in pounding BBC trailers.

And then, every May, it is boring old Arsenal collecting the trophy. More often than not.

I had not appreciated the effect such repeat success had on everyone else, including friends and loved ones who might follow other teams, teams which have spent decades trying to win a cup which, at its base, is a simple knockout tournament.

Its random draw and the laws of probability are supposed to give everyone hope it could be their year.

The reaction to Arsenal’s third-round departure said it all: there were scenes of internet delirium as it dawned on people that… it’s NOT Arsenal’s year.

Like a subjugated people saved by a rescue mission launched by Old Ye Nottingham Forest, doing it not simply to revive a forgotten team from the East Midlands but the wider football world in general, the people came out into the streets* (*wrote things on Twitter and called radio phone-ins) to celebrate a new way of life.

This emancipation was revealed in squeals of delight. People made memes. Only Toby Young could out-trend the Gunners on social media.

Wenger is nonetheless right, you can’t win the Cup every year, but you can at least try.

And the sad sum of this quote is that, right in front of us, he was audibly resting on his laurels, referencing past victories, rather than looking ahead to what could and should be.

That made him look like yesterday’s man more than ever before.

His team selection, his tactics, his lack of awareness that Alex Iwobi was apparently stepping out through the early hours, and his sudden interest in the Carabao Cup, shared by nobody regardless of the Chelsea result, did little to tell us otherwise.


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