Football

Arsenal's thrashing at Chelsea doesn't bode well for FA Cup

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It was painful viewing for Wenger.
It was painful viewing for Wenger..

Jose Mourinho's biggest ever Premier League victory did not come against a struggling, relegation-threatened side, it came against one of their supposed title rivals in Arsenal on Saturday afternoon.

Chelsea hammered the Gunners 6-0 at Stamford Bridge in the early kick-off in what was Arsene Wenger's 1000th game in charge - not the celebration he would have expected. While any thrashing is embarrassing and damaging, this one highlighted a worrying trait in the Gunners that will make many fans nervous ahead of their trip to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final against Wigan Athleti in a few weeks.

Arsenal have now been thrashed 6-0 away at Chelsea, 5-1 away at Liverpool and 6-3 away at Manchester City. That is 50 per cent of the goals they have conceded this season and all against the other teams they were challenging for the title with.

There can be no denying that Wenger's men have a psychological problem that needs addressing sooner rather than later. All those defeats were suffered after conceding goals early in the game and the players being unable to handle a high-tempo pressing game from their rivals - nothing too complicated.

It also seems as though Arsenal are unable to cope when facing better teams in the Premier League away from home comforts of the Emirates Stadium, never mind being able to react when under pressure or suffering a set-back. Wigan manager Uwe Rosler will be looking at this performance very closely, as well as those defeats at Anfield and the Etihad Stadium, as he prepares to pull off another shock in the FA Cup for the holders.

Wenger's men are runaway favourites to lift the trophy, what with Sheffield United and Hull City being the other semi-finalists, which will bring lots of unwanted pressure. April 12 is the date for their trip to Wembley and Gooners will be expecting their side to pick up a straightforward win to take them a step closer to ending their nine-year trophy drought.

However, there will be concerns that the pressure being off Wigan will allow the in-form Championship to play with a freedom that allowed them to prevail 2-1 at Manchester City in the quarter-final. Arsenal, meanwhile, will have the eight of those nine years hanging over them and fear of failure can be extremely damaging in these situations.

They have done well in defeating Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton in their run to the semi-final, but all those victories were achieved at the Emirates, where there record is outstanding apart from the opening day defeat to Aston Villa.

With the pressure on and the game taking place away from their home in north London, will Arsenal fall foul of a splash of 'Cup Magic'? Don't rule it out.

Topics:
Arsenal
FA Cup
Football
Premier League
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