It’s been a funny old season for Arsenal. Finishing outside of the top four for the first time in Arsene Wenger’s reign will no doubt be the major talking point of their campaign…unless the Frenchman delivers glory this weekend.
Their route to the Emirates FA Cup final has been quite a strange one in truth, but it certainly hasn’t been lacking in drama.
We’re taking a look at how they made it from a cold Saturday evening in Preston to what’s forecast to be a glorious day at Wembley on Saturday…
Third Round – Preston North End 1-2 Arsenal
Seven minutes into their first Emirates FA Cup clash of the season, and Gooners were worried. Their side had gone a goal down and shortly after were lucky to have not been two behind.
But after the break the Gunners flew out of the traps and Aaron Ramsey levelled the scores before Olivier Giroud made sure there’d be no need for a Replay with a winner in the 89th minute.
Fourth Round – Southampton 0-5 Arsenal
Both sides fielded relatively weakened sides for this fixture, but it was Wenger’s men who dominated for the offset.
A brace from Danny Welbeck on his return to the first-team was followed up by a hat-trick from Theo Walcott against his former club.
Fifth Round – Sutton United 0-2 Arsenal
Arsenal’s third Emirates FA Cup game of the season saw them travel to National League outfit, Sutton United, who’d already seen off teams from three of the top four tiers in English football.
It couldn’t have come at a worse time for the visitors either, who had just been on the receiving end of a 5-1 thumping from Bayern Munich in Germany. Not often a side plays at the Allianz Arena and Gander Green Lane in the same week…
Still, the Gunners did all that was asked of them on Sutton’s 4G pitch – they got the job done.
Sixth Round – Arsenal 5-0 Lincoln City
Remarkably, Wenger’s men were drawn against yet another National League outfit in the shape of Lincoln City. Danny Cowley’s men had proved in the previous round that they were no pushovers, defeating Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor.
However, the North London outfit were simply too strong on the day, and as soon as they broke the Lincoln defence down in the 45th minute, the floodgates opened.
Semi-Final – Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City (A.E.T)
Undoubtedly Arsenal’s greatest victory of this cup run, this could arguably be considered their best win of the season in all competitions.
The Gunners headed into this clash in dreadful form, having lost 3-0 to Crystal Palace and 3-1 to West Brom in the weeks building up to the Wembley clash.
Heads momentarily dropped in the 62nd minute when Sergio Aguero netted the opener for the Citizens, but a goal from an unlikely source in Nacho Monreal meant this game would go to extra-time.
It has to be said that at this point, Pep Guardiola’s men looked exhausted, while Wenger’s side somehow managed to find another gear.
As has so often been the case this year, Alexis Sanchez was on hand to score the winner and take Arsenal to their third Emirates FA Cup final in four years.
The question is: can he have the same impact on Saturday?
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