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

Harrison Georgiou (left) celebrates with Jack Read (centre) and Karl Oliyide (right) after opening the scoring against Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday. Pic: Martin Addison

Captain Marc Weatherstone believes Wingate & Finchley have proved they must be taken seriously in the play-off fight – and he sees them as favourites to finish in the top five ahead of their rivals.

Yesterday, 16:03
Belsize Park's Sam Bennett, formerly a pupil at UCS, on the attack in Saturday's victory over the Old Boys. Pic: Paolo Minoli

There was no change at the top or bottom of the London North-West Division Three table, and the promotion and relegation battles are going down to the wire after Belsize Park triumphed 53-8 away against UCS Old Boys in Saturday’s derby.

Yesterday, 13:11
Highgate Harriers' Ben Pochee

Highgate Harriers’ men’s and women’s teams both finished ninth in the Southern road relays at Milton Keynes at the weekend, qualifying for the national event on April 11 with ease.

Mon, 13:51
Hampstead's Under-10 A team show off their trophy and medals after winning the shield at the Middlesex County Championships

March has been a very successful month for Hampstead’s juniors as 10 teams took part in the Middlesex County Championships over three weekends, securing four pieces of silverware.

Most read sport

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Munch on a tasy three course dinner at The Refinery!

“Where to go for a drink near Great Portland Street?” was previously met with blank expressions and shrugs for those local to the area, not anymore, thanks to the opening of The Refinery at Regent’s Place, the eighth bar and restaurant from hugely-successful group Drake & Morgan.

Funky adidias iPhone cases up for grabs!

We’ve teamed up with adidas Originals to give away four iPhone 5/5s cases.

Digital Edition

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


Our trusted business finder