The mother of them all
Arsenal away in the third round. On the one hand, if you want to dance with depression, you'll sigh with extended sadness and wish the draw was kinder. Perhaps a less stressful home tie to a League Two side.
A cup run and the pursuit for tangible glory (silverware rather than a position between 2nd and 4th) should always be the priority. This game feels like it's going to be a cup final several rounds before the actual one. Defeat will probably amount to the same feeling you get leaving Wembley when your side has lost.
I'm absolutely buzzing about it. We're underdogs, right? The old enemy from down the road (via Plumstead > Woolwich > Fulham (they almost merged with them) > Highbury) are in form, playing with confidence and redemption. This is of course a much maligned side that was heavily criticised by their own up until they signed Mesut Özil. Before then, and for large patches of last season, the likes of Ramsey and Giroud were slated. Most of the disgruntlement was aimed at the non-reactive board and Arsene Wenger. I'd poke fun at their fickleness but our fanbase hasn't exactly bestowed itself with glory this season with a fair few calling for Villas- Boas to be sacked.
Ironic that their downward spiral has ascended to first place in the league with Christmas in sight. What happens in the new year with injuries, tiredness is something that might well impact most teams. The real question is: Will everyone else wake up?
Chelsea are plodding along. City are outstanding at home and inconsistent away. Liverpool haven't been in this position for a while but still retain an erratic nature. Manchester United are working through the impact of an impossible to ignore transition having had the same man at the helm for 25 years.
Feels like everyone is in a state of flux and it's still not quite possible to work out if the current form being displayed is going to be the form for the long haul.
What happens when Arsenal hit a bad patch?
Will Chelsea start to bully and close games off like the old Jose days?
If City sort out their away form, surely that's them for the title?
Liverpool fans think they're title challenges but everyone else is dismissive.
Man Utd have lost the Fergie factor and have the pressures of defending their title.
As for us? On the one hand in crisis, on the other three points off the CL spots.
No matter the answers, there's far too many questions. My head hurts.
The FA Cup is far more simplistic. Thunderous passion, a marching invasion into enemy territory; A war.
Form goes out the window. There's no waiting months, just the duration it takes to settle the tie. A single winner. A single owner of bragging rights. Everything else is bread and butter. This game is lobster and its claws have dug in deep.
Football is rivalry and this is the mother of them all.