How important is the FA Cup to Arsenal this season?

How important is the FA Cup to Arsenal this season?

The oldest cup competition in the world may be the Gunners' best chance of silverware.

TJ Wedderburn

This evening Arsenal are visitors at Deepdale as they take on Championship side Preston.

This particular third round fixture has drawn together two clubs who both boast the achievement of having gone through an entire league campaign undefeated.  

But where should the FA Cup rank among Arsenal's priorities? 

Arsenal have recently revealed similar flaws which have cost them in previous league campaigns. One point from their last three away fixtures in the Premier League has left them eight points off the pace. Ironically, they have their bitter rivals Tottenham to thank for that eight point margin not being significantly wider.

It has been said that Arsenal are perennial bridesmaids whom never occupy the role of the bride. The Gunners always make the top four, but in terms of winning the actual prize they have come up short for the past 12 seasons. There has been little (if any) indication that particular scenario will change this season, with familiar shortcomings still very much apparent. 

The FA Cup undoubtedly represents Arsenal's best chance of silverware. Having won it twice in the past three years, not only have Arsenal shown they're capable of winning it again, The Gunners should do their utmost to ensure the FA Cup is back at The Emirates in May.

Wenger has a glorious association with the FA Cup

It's not a foregone conclusion that Arsene Wenger will be departing from Arsenal in the summer. However, he is entering the final months of his current deal and it's not inconceivable that the long-serving Frenchman could seek pastures new at the end of the season. 

Arsenal winning the FA Cup would see Arsene Wenger claim his seventh as manager, setting a record in the process. To leave Arsenal with such an impressive individual accolade could be a positive way to sign off on his time in north London.

It is important for a club of Arsenal's stature not to put all their eggs in one basket and go all out for one specific competition. But it is equally important to be realistic, having suffered several trophyless campaigns in seasons gone by, the Arsenal faithful will certainly be hoping their team approach the FA Cup with the required seriousness to win it.