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Effective Magic is Transcendent Nature


They were surprise shocks felt around the world, or so much of the media would have you believe.  Vultures scrupulously circled a cavernous Anfield as the Scouse nation struggled to surmount the sickly hangover of a late Liverpool crumble.  Ferguson’s men shattered Arsenal’s fragile psyche, leaving them fighting to keep the fabric of the fantastic season from unfurling after their demonstrative drubbing.  The Earth’s axis shifted slightly.

The FA Cup may have regained a bit of its magic, but like the Afghan government, it proves powerless and impotent outside of its meager radius.  Punters can revel in the romance of a Havant and Waterlooville taking an Anfield lead, but the mighty stones comprising the football fortress remain motionless.  Only the Big Four win and, for them, the trophy is merely blusterous window-dressing, bailing out the manager after an aborted title campaign.

One never wants to lose 4-0 or to a Championship side, but neither Liverpool nor Arsenal should be devastated by their defeats.

Liverpool have a pragmatic path put in front of them.  They need to finish fourth in the league to retain their Champions’ League place.  Another extended European adventure, would add some flourish to a forgettable year, but it pales compared to the primary goal.  The FA Cup for the Reds was at best an amicable nuisance.  Even if they had won the competition, their summer solution would still likely be a roster overhauled at the prodding of a new puppet-master.  A win or loss against Barnsley fails to affect Liverpool’s bumbling malaise.  The song remains the same for Rafa regardless.  If anything, the lightened load of fixtures will allow him to rest weary legs.

There is the not so subtle embarassment of losing to the lumbering lower leaguers at home.  However, how many times will Liverpool have the advantage in corners (15-3), shots (33-11) and shots on target (20-7) without winning?   The loss looks ludicrous, but in the long-term it will matter little.

Similarly for Arsenal, the apparent FA Cup tragedy proves quite trivial.  The Gunners still sit five points atop the table.  Should they focus forward rather than down, rivalry will not ring relevant.  Even another Old Trafford tumble would prove a mere hiccup on their track toward victory, provided they perpetuate their pace.  A League Title would be tremendous.  An extended European run would make fans ecstatic.  An FA Cup would be a crappy consolation prize.

Realistically, their emaciated squad can only handle one competition effectively, or perhaps skate on the edge to manage two.  The FA Cup would have drained rest and resources from the far more important challenges in the Premier League and in Europe.  A 4-0 defeat to a rival never leaves a settled stomach, but it could quite conceivably win them the title.  The effect on morale will probably resemble that after the Tottenham debacle, minimal.

The FA Cup provides compelling copy for media outlets, but when the “magic” and the “romance” reduce to real world concerns the results are hardly tangible.  They swaddle Saturday as important, but really who could care less?

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  1. BillE Shears

    February 19, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    It is still a consolation trophy. As an Arsenal supporter, I would not equate the FA Cup to winning the Premier League or the Champions League.

    For second-tier clubs winning the FA Cup would still be meaningful, but for the top four it’s just not as important.

    A Chelsea supporter is not going to say that last season was a success because they won the FA Cup. They were disappointed.

    Man U is not going to be satisfied winning the FA Cup if they lose out in the League and in Europe.

    It perks the supporters’ spirits up a bit, but to equate it to a major title would be foolish.

  2. Dave M

    February 19, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Pure apologist B.S. The FA Cup is a major trophy – one Arsenal would love to have in their empty trophy case the last few seasons. Wenger put out a side as strong as he had available to him and they went belly up. United rested several starters and could have put eight on them. Any comparison to the Carling Cup loss to Spurs is both blind and stupid.

  3. there

    February 18, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Best spin-take I’ve heard so far on the liverpool loss. I’d have agreed with you except for the fact that before the season and during the first 6 games into the season all liverpool fans were talking about was how they were going to win the PL and CL. Granted the FA wasn’t in their sights but you cannot ignore their poor run of form mate. Do you honestly think that the Liverpool we’ve seen recently can lift either the CL or PL throphies….s**t their battling for a UEFA place man. Stats are overratted, in the end its how many u put btw the posts and my friend ‘pool have sucked in that department.

  4. kat kid

    February 18, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    fair, but at some point trophies mean something do they not? There are only three trophies worth having in the EPL and 1 of them is the FA Cup. It is the least important of the three (Premiership Title, Champion’s League) but it is not for nothing. I think it has little effect on the product on the field, but much more in the boardrooms and terraces. Only 1 team wins the Premiership. Only 1 wins the FA Cup. It is not a “crappy consolation” IF the team is making strides in the other two areas. For Rafa, the FA Cup loss is more a symptom than the problem.

  5. dragonki2012

    February 18, 2008 at 10:43 am

    never will it happen again.
    so don’t get used to it.

    We’ll be back, and when we come back we’ll only be looking for a victory because of this.

    I agree the squad we(Arsenal) have now is not prepared to take on a few competitions at a time.

    We still are young though and we have some time on our side.

  6. Ahmed Bilal

    February 18, 2008 at 8:10 am

    spot on…

    but boy was it good to thrash them so convincingly 🙂

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