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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gunners given best passage to reach FA Cup final

Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Burnley on Sunday lunchtime means that Arsene Wenger’s side are just one step away from reaching Wembley and a semi-final with London rivals Chelsea. Of course they will have to beat Hull City first which, given the sides previous meeting at the Emirates, is not guaranteed. However the Gunners should be confident that they can overcome the Tigers next Tuesday after a comfortable victory at the KC Stadium back in January.

Arsenal were once again impressive in the world’s oldest cup competition on Sunday, with Eduardo looking an even better player than he did before his horrific injury. Whilst Burnley were poor though there were some encouraging signs that things are on the up in front of goal and in Kieran Gibbs Wenger has yet another quality left-back. Carlos Vela was impressive as well, although I bet we all wish he could transfer some of those excellent cup goals into league ones.

After the win on Sunday we also discovered who we could face after the quarter-finals and I believe Chelsea are the perfect opponents for Arsenal. Obviously with Manchester United seemingly unstoppable at the minute it was key to avoid them to keep Arsenal’s FA Cup dreams alive.

Whilst on paper Everton were the weakest of the Gunners potential semi-final opponents Arsenal have had trouble with David Moyes men in recent times and are the kind of side that can unsettle Wenger’s men on their day. The most recent example being our 1-1 draw at Goodison Park in January where Arsenal were fortunate to get a point.

As such I fancy Arsenal’s odds against Chelsea more than if they had to face United or Everton. The win at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season was the most comfortable I can remember and I haven’t seen any marked improvement in the Blues since then, despite the arrival of Guus Hiddink.

The Blues are no longer the unstoppable force they once were and with their attack often looking fairly toothless you’d fancy Arsenal’s current all conquering defence to keep the likes of Nicolas Anelka and Saloman Kalou at bay. Obviously the ace in the hole for Chelsea is Didier Drogba who on his day can unpick any defence and has done so against the Gunners on a couple of occasions.

The FA Cup is always unpredictable and on any given day Arsenal could easily be capable of lifting the trophy and having already beaten Hull, Chelsea, Everton and United this season Arsenal have as good a chance as any side of taking that walk up those steps to claim their prize.

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