Arsenal were drawn away to the winners of the Preston and United game and I watched with interest to see who they would get. The first half was a dire affair and I decided my time would be better spent doing almost anything else while occasionally checking on the score and wanting Preston to win of course. My hopes were raised when they went ahead early in the second half, but United came back and eventually won 3-1.
I didn't particularly want Preston to win because I thought they would be an easier opponent in the next round, but I just like to see United lose as often as possible. Having said that it's not an easy draw for Arsenal considering their record against United which has been a very poor one for more seasons than I can care to remember. They lost at home to United earlier this season in a game they should have won and have failed to rise to the occasion against United far too often.
Since that game against United things have got a lot better for Arsenal at home in particular and they have won their last nine home games in a row in all competitions. There have been some bad away performances in that time though with the defeats to Stoke, Southampton and Spurs all springing to mind. The cup game away to United will be one of Arsenal's biggest games of the season with a Wembley final only one game away for the winners.
For me the FA Cup remains Arsenal's best chance of silverware this season and it's United's only chance. The two clubs have both won the trophy 11 times and if either of them win it this season they will stand alone as the club who have won it the most. That's a nice little statistic for either club and one I would like to see Arsenal putting beside their name.
It's still a few weeks away but I would expect to see Arsene Wenger put out his strongest available side. I know how important a fourth placed league finish is, but the chance of winning the cup is one that cannot be given up lightly. There are enough league games to get the required points to finish in the top four, but only one chance (barring a replay) to advance in the cup and to get one over on United is just too good a chance not to be treated with the utmost seriousness. I think Arsenal can do it and I'm really looking forward to seeing them do so.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.