Search

Arsenal must beat Everton to save their season, says former Gunners star

12:30 06 March 2014

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger lifts the FA Cup after defeating Manchester United in 2005.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger lifts the FA Cup after defeating Manchester United in 2005.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Arsenal’s FA Cup quarter-final with Everton on Saturday lunchtime is now their biggest game of the season.

That is the do-or-die claim from former Gunner Stewart Robson following Arsenal’s recent defeats to Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Stoke.

With Arsene Wenger’s side stuttering, Robson says the FA Cup can still save the Gunners’ season – but insists the Frenchman must play his strongest side against the Toffees.

“We cannot win the Premier League and we cannot win the Champions League,” Robson declared.

“But the FA Cup can be our salvation. It is all there for us. We can win the trophy without even having to leave London.

“We have had home ties every round and if we get through the semi-final is at Wembley – as is, of course, the final.

“Arsene Wenger simply must choose the strongest side at his disposal, no rotation, no resting key players, just put his strongest XI on the field.

“The fans have stood by this team and they deserve a trophy for their remarkable support. Arsenal supporters, I’m afraid, are getting really fed up.”

Robson, a star midfielder at Highbury between 1981 and 1986, has become a vocal critic of Wenger’s lack of success in recent seasons – polarising fans with his strong views.

And he says the Frenchman must treat the FA Cup with respect.

“For some managers the FA Cup is not so important, but then they tend to be managers who have won a trophy in recent years!

“But Arsenal haven’t. It has been eight and a half years since their last trophy and I am surprised so many people still feel the need to defend that record, because it is not good enough.

“Six years ago I wrote an article in which I said the team is ill-prepared in defence and doesn’t earn the right to play. In that time, nothing has changed.”

Robson claims Arsenal’s recent poor form is down to the fact they are too one-dimensional and struggle to change their style of play.

“They play some wonderful football, believe me,” adds Robson, who was Arsenal’s Player of the Year in 1986.

“They play great high tempo football and can defend well on the front foot. But once that high tempo play drops, as we have seen due to injuries and loss of form, they have no new game plan to counter that.

“I believe Wenger plays off-the-cuff football but his sides have to be more flexible.

“They believe they have earned the right to play the way they want before a ball is kicked – and it doesn’t work like that.

“You have to fight the opposition, battle and work hard. But they believe they can dictate things from the off – we saw this at Southampton, Liverpool and Stoke and we got one point from those games, and were lucky to get that.”

But Robson remains adamant this season can end in glory.

“As I said, we have an opportunity in the FA Cup. For me – and most fans – it remains a wonderful competition, particularly at these latter stages with Wembley looming.

“We are at home and can beat Everton this weekend. I just hope we take this chance and finish the season positively.”

Latest Sport Stories

Petr Cech of Arsenal looks on (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Arsene Wenger believes goalkeeper Petr Cech could still play at the top level for six years with Arsenal.

05:45
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he is keen to preserve the stability and consistency within his squad this summer.

Thu, 12:03
Dawid Malan inT20 action for Middlesex against Essex Eagles. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Middlesex batsman Dawid Malan feels the county’s Twenty20 fortunes would improve if the tournament were streamlined over a shorter period of time.

Thu, 07:00
Hornsey's Chetan Patel (pictured) shared a 50-run partnership with Paul Weekes. Pic: Max Flego

Hornsey batsman Chetan Patel believes his side are back in the promotion race after crushing Brentham by 114 runs for their second successive win in Division Two of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Most read sport

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder