FA Cup: To Hull & Back Plus From The Vaults: 1926

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It seems the broadcasters got it right in the end. No upsets yesterday even if, just for a while, the romance of the FA Cup seemed alive and kicking. Normal business was resumed with the expected results turning up in all but one of the ties. Congratulations to Rochdale on surviving their tie with Nottingham Forest and I am sure making the players of Yeovil Town, Dover and AFC Wimbledon think they want what would arguably be a more glorious success.

Spreading it over four days is diabolical. There are solutions to its diminished status but the Football Association are disinterested in finding them, preferring to allow others to pontificate as they give football’s soul a hefty shove on its way down the river.

For Arsenal, it’s been a long time in the making. As holders, they get no special preference for their defence of the FA Cup won so dramatically in May and the fates decreed Hull City would get an early chance of revenge. Had they taken a three-goal advantage, the final would have been all but over; they missed and Santi didn’t soon afterwards with the complexion of the match changed irreversibly.

Let’s hope that this is the first step in a longer run than last time we were FA Cup holders and Bolton Wanderers ended the defence before the end of January 2006.

For me, today has a sense of anticipation, a vibrancy almost and I think it’s because Arsenal have a chance to win the FA Cup, to genuinely compete in it. Certainly it’s a more realistic ambition than winning the Premier League or Champions League.

I know that for some just targeting the FA Cup is not enough and I agree entirely. However, it is the most realistic target at moment. Whether that happens is another matter.

The same problems which blight the league campaign are undermining today’s match. Arsène made no attempt to hide the extent of the injury problems besieging the squad,

After [Ospina and Martinez] we will see. I cannot rotate too much either because we need stability. We have the 18 players – nobody else will play.  At the moment, we have a decimated squad, so that means everybody will have to contribute very well and a lot. The fact that you play at home can be an advantage.

That is a fairly definitive statement and offers little surprise. It isn’t the busiest time of their fixtures-wise but with games coming thick and fast, it offers injured players little chance for recovery.

For today’s game, I would make a number of changes. Some respite may come during the next week with no matches but that’s no reason to risk the likes of Koscielny or start Walcott as some as demanding. He’s played less than an hour since November so I fail to see how starting today is managing his return properly. It makes more sense to give Walcott a series of thirty minute appearances over the next few weeks so he is ready for a sustained return.

With Oxlade-Chamberlain nursing an injury, it will mean a rare outing for Joel Campbell; a chance to show the clamour for his inclusion has basis in fact rather than desperation.

In the back four, change is necessary. The nervousness which beset them on Thursday was, I think, as much to do with Koscielny as any fault on Szczesny’s part. Instead of restoring confidence, the French international seemed to cause a loss of focus and concentration. Injury may well be the cause – although the past suggests it isn’t the sole reason – and if so, what benefit is there in his inclusion today?

Nacho Monreal’s return as a makeshift centre back is the most likely solution in partnership with Mertesacker. With Ospina in goal, no further changes in the back four seem sensible.

The other decision is whether Arsène goes with an out-and-out striker. I assume Alexis will play given the rest of the side are being taunted by a gang of unforgiving banjo wielding cows. However, none his appearances leading the line can be deemed successful and Hull’s back four will be anything but uncompromising.

And more than anything else, it gives Akpom experience in the first team. With suspensions and injuries, Wenger needs to find a better answer to that than fifteen minutes to score three goals in a match which had escaped Arsenal’s grasp. Today is the type of match that Arsène would not have hesitated to throw the youngster into a few years back.

It leaves the line-up

A good cup run lifts some of the pall which has fallen over the Premier League side. Arsenal occupy the hinterland of relative success; top four consistency but never threatening to become genuine title challengers. That is under threat this season through their own performances and you feel that as much as the FA Cup was a boost for us, the supporters, last season, this time around the players may benefit from a decent run.

So enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. Oh and a robust performance on the pitch at teatime, gentlemen, if you please.

From The Vaults

1925/26 was the first season that the top flight clubs entered the FA Cup in the Third Round, prior to that they had entered in the First Round proper. Arsenal, top of the First Division, travelled to Molineux to face Wolverhampton Wanderers, then 12th in the Second Division. Below are the match reports from the original meeting and subsequent replay.

09011926 Wolves (a) 1 - 1
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13011926 Wolves (h) 1 - 0
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As seems common with Norris-era Arsenal, the matches were played against a backdrop of controversy. Jock Rutherford had retired at the end of the previous season, only to re-sign for the club during July 1925. The FA refused to register him as an Arsenal player on the basis that they were investigating whether Rutherford had any ties with a betting company, a contravention of their rules.

Being the Football Association, the affair dragged on, most likely because Rutherford had taken legal action against Turf Publishers for using his name without permission in promoting their football coupons. Rutherford won and was financially supported by Arsenal in paying his legal fees, which the FA would then reprimand the club for a year later.

However, any hopes that Rutherford had of being registered as an Arsenal player were dashed as the FA continued its investigation. The below is their summation and findings, issued on 11th January 1926, eighteen months after the ‘offence’ was reported to Arsenal and the player.

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Rutherford would go on to become – and remains – the oldest player to turn out for Arsenal in a competitive match. On 20th March 1926, he played in the 1 – 0 win over Manchester City at Highbury, aged 41 years and 159 days.

’til Tomorrow.

195 thoughts on “FA Cup: To Hull & Back Plus From The Vaults: 1926

  1. @Moe

    Im glad i wasnt th e only one to notice. I know people may disagree but I cant wait to see Ozil and Theo because Ozil tends to make those passes.

  2. C

    Not convinced about Ozil’s through balls. We will see when he comes back. He also hangs on to the ball, maybe it’s a tactical thing because Ozil used to do it at Madrid.

  3. A match, YW?

    Goodness. I thought that it was a debate between C and Bill about improved performances. Quite enjoying that.

  4. C

    Not the handbrake. Hull started the game a bit disorganized but now they are covering the dangerous space and keeping us in front of them.

  5. @Moe

    I have seen Ozil do it to many times to now think he cant. The problem last season is we didnt have any movement infront if him. Yea he was brilliant but if you watched him earlier this year, he would gladly slot it through to Sanchez or Welbeck. Last season when he and Theo played together in Norwich and Shitty, he regularly played him through. I think Ozil coming back is a really really god thing.

  6. @Bill

    We are still creating when we push forward, we seem to be almost walking through the rest of the match.

  7. Thats a lovely ball from Le Coq. Le Coq i woukd keep as a squad player no doubt and get rid of Flamini and should we buy one Arteta as well.

  8. This ref has made some really curious fuckin decisions today. Thankfully none of them have really hurt us thus far.

  9. Good match by Theo, clearly a bit rusty but a good shift and given 3 or so matches it will be fun to watch him, Sanchez and Welbeck.

  10. I would still take off sanchez and bring on Akpom to avoid a reckless challenge should Hull start really pushing for a goal.

  11. Having someone who is world class finisher is the way to unlock any defense. All the tactical stuff and little triangles and through balls gets no where without someone who can finish.

  12. Chamberlain is actually injured, there’s no need to keep him on. He is limping.

    Should take him off.

    I’m sure we have one more sub.

  13. Why take off Campbelk when Ox is CLEARLY struggling. This is the shit when you say”WTF ARE YOU DOING ARSENE?”

  14. Chamberlain is legitimately injured, he is limping.

    Should have taken him off before

    Baffling, absolutely baffling.

  15. If Ox gets injured long term now Arsene is to blame.

    The player could not even run and he uses the last sub to take off Campbell.

    What is wrong with these people?!!!!

  16. Comfortable win,Alexis and Cazorla tremendous whilst Campbell showed why he will be lucky to play for us again,awful.

  17. Moments of poverty in our play, but the Hull attack was poor. On the plus Theo looked lively, the hardest part is banging it in, but that is in the head and he got into position. His interplay with Sanchez will bag a few for sure in the future.
    Coq has a lot to learn, but I think the lunging Billy goat has promise.

  18. I have been banging on about giving Campbell some chances but I think he has started 3 games this season and certainly has not had any positive influence. I doubt we will see much more of him with Giroud, Welbeck and Ozil coming back soon.

  19. I think its a bit unfair to say Campbell was terrible. People killed Podolski for not trackibg back yet Campbell routinely did that and won the ball back. Yea he might have faded but what you expect from a player who doesnt receive match time? I thought there was good and bad but certainly not terrible. I wonder how many would think differently if he had buried that chance early on. Long parts of the 2nd half we just didnt seem interested in getting forward.

  20. C:

    Terrible may be an overstatement but he certainly was not influential. Fair or not if the 23rd or 24th man on the squad wants to play more minutes he has to take his chances when he gets them. He cant use rusty as an excuse because there is no chance at all that we can give him a run of games so he can play himself back into form with with Walcott, Sanchez, Welbeck and Giroud all back. With Cazorla playing well either he or Ozil are going to be playing wide left at some point.

  21. @Bill

    Its not about giving him a run of matches to play himself back into match fitness but using him as a sub isnt a bad thung to give him mins. The lad has quality no doubt about it but to not use him at all then expect him to absolutely shine is a bit of a stretch as well.

  22. Also with Theo coming back, i would venture to say that Sanchez and Theo are outwide left snd right with Welbeck or Giroud as CF and Santi or Ozil as #10. Our wingers would be Sanchez, Theo, Ox and Campbell unless somebody else is brought whihc(which i doubt).

  23. Campbell has potential but he stays on the ball too much and he gets dispossessed too easily as well.

    I like his work rate though coming back to defend but i think he needs to do the following to be considered a starter:

    1: Improve his finishing
    2: Use his right foot more
    3:Release the ball quicker
    4:Take on his man more often
    5: Don’t slow down the play
    6: Improve his passing

  24. C:

    You don’t get match fit by playing a few minutes as a sub and you can’t expect Arsene to take out a player who is more effective then Campbell in a close game just so Joel can get a couple of minutes and try to work himself back into shape. He should be doing that on the training pitch.

    Right now Giroud is the best option at CF. He has actually been a goal threat since he has come back from injury. I suspect Walcott and Sanchez will be the wingers with Ozil taking some of the minutes on the left and Welbeck filling in if needed. Based on what we have seen in the last couple of seasons, I suspect it wont be that long before Giroud’s run of form in front of goal fades out and then Welbeck will have to take whatever chances he is given if he wants to work his way back into the mix.

  25. My Arsenal win streak in three competitions continues! Galatasaray, Dortmund, Southampton, Newcastle and now Hull.

    Great defense of our FA Cup and outstanding from TR, Santi, Ospina and a good run out for Theo. Joel Campbell and Francis Coquelin were good, Bellerin a fine performance as well. Hope we have another home fixture. Tickets were reasonable and not too tough to get, including the two extra for tonight: bless you @ArsenalTickets! (#Goonersphere!)

  26. I was surprised at how poor Hull were today. They allowed us to play within ourselves. A straight forward job done with a minimum of fuss.
    Campbell did a reasonable job without being much of a threat going forward and it was a shame that he didn’t just bury the early chance. His work tracking back was impressive though and I would like to see him getting more time on the pitch in later ties.
    The foul on Ox by Davis was poor and he could easily have seen red for it.

  27. Hard to judge Joel Campbell on that as it was a match in which we never needed to get out of 2nd, plus he was playing in a weird team. Need to see more of him in English football before I can make up my mind. Good application though, and a few eye-catching moments of skill.

    The side was along the lines of the one I’d have picked; it’s just that injuries are forcing us into unusual permutations.

    I mean at the start of the season I’d never have expected to see Rosicky, Cazorla and Coquelin line up in a midfield. They’re good players, but we desperately need some stability and for these injuries to end.

    Oh, and that challenge from Coquelin at the end. I think that’s the behaviour of a player who knows his future is uncertain. It’s like he wanted to do something, anything to create an impression. He was generally good, as he has been since he came in, but I don’t know if we can guarantee him the matches he needs.

    Nice week off before Stoke. We’re usually comfortable against them at home too.

  28. That would just about make our season perfect. no kos due to achilles and no chesny due to bad behaviour. If Per breaks down now and Gibbs gets an injury we have no defenders left from last year..lol

  29. Oh, Ospina. What’s there to say? He didn’t have to do much, but it looks like he has good upper-body strength to make up for his modest height when he’s claiming the ball.

    I doubt the story about Szczesny, but he has not been good this season. If I were AW I’d tell Ospina that he’s number 1 until he really messes up, and work on that basis with both ‘keepers until the end of the season.

  30. We are caught in such a loop that even AW is stuck trying to zip up his long puffy coat season upon season!

  31. Much better balance today.

    Thought Alexis needed someone in tandem as a partner in crime against Soton. On his own as CF, he was not as effective. With Walcott’s pace, far more so. As is, the gaffer elected to have a 3 prong with Campbell whom I though put on a more than decent show considering games played.

    The pace and trickery terrified Hull and they could not live with us. It negated their own threat going forward. Sometimes, attack is the best defense.

    However we also balanced out the midfield better with Rosicky closer to Coquelin. Rosicky I feel plays the link role better from deeper.

    Coq I thought put on a very encouraging performance. Given paucity of DMs at the moment, he is certainly stating his intent and resurrecting his career with us. Hope he continues to do so and we continue to give him every opportunity possible.

    At the back, minimum fuss. Save handling from Ospina (You can’t fault Wenger for not fixing the keeper depth situation)

    Thought Metersecker on left and Chambers may struggle but our out put further up field helped them some what and they dealt with most things calmly.

    Bellerin again impressive. he is learning quickly with the defensive side of things. His attacking instincts are there and his pace extremely useful. Those balls he whips in are with intent unlike Jenkinson who use to put them in blind. Therein lies the difference plus of course the technical level and did I mention pace?

    Again can’t help but wonder if we would have profited more had we adopted this sort of team balance against Soton but damage done. Move on and continue to chip away in the league. At least we are marching onwards in the two important cups as well (CL and FA)

  32. Seems a bit disingenuous to Jenks. It could be argued that his crosses are finding his mark more at West Ham as he actually has someone to aim at in the box. Jenks had the problem of being behind the ever present Sagna in the pecking order. I always felt he needed regular game time to find his feet and he seems to be doing that at West Ham. Would still provide perfectly good cover for Debuchy. If Wenger is going to elevate Bellerin to RB cover fair enough, but if Chambers is main cover at RB then we are using a less effective player in that role which makes no sense. Thought Chambers was fairly effective at CB again yesterday, albeit against a fairly weak attack from Hull.

  33. Hull were pretty weak going forward but still managed several very decent chances.

    I agree with Wavey about Jenks. Coquelin has been decent but not outstanding-/ he’s done a job, basically. I don’t see a long term role but he’s vital to have in the squad with the injuries we’ve had and can be ok against weak teams.

  34. Did you get the extra ticket you were looking for? Must have been a buyer’s market given the empty seats around the ground. Such poor support given that we are cup holders.

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