As the FA Cup returns this weekend, all eyes are on the Premier League managers and their desire to win the oldest domestic cup competition. With the league being highly competitive, some managers are eyeing bigger prizes, while others see the FA Cup as a chance to save their jobs. In this article, we will analyze eight top bosses and the conundrum they face in this weekend’s FA Cup ties.
1. Pep Guardiola, Manchester City:
Guardiola’s main focus this season is defending Manchester City’s Premier League and UEFA Champions League titles. While an early exit from the FA Cup might not affect his priorities, any signs of complacency could be detrimental to the team’s hunger for success.
2. Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool:
Having previously experienced the impact of competing on multiple fronts, Klopp must carefully manage his squad’s fatigue. With Liverpool currently leading the Premier League, the FA Cup might be viewed as a stepping stone or an obstacle on their quest for league or European glory.
3. Unai Emery, Aston Villa:
Aston Villa’s unexpected rise to second place in the Premier League presents Emery with a dilemma. Should he rotate the squad to maintain a push for Europa League qualification or prioritize winning the FA Cup, a trophy Villa hasn’t won since 1957? The upcoming tie against Middlesbrough offers an opportunity for Emery to showcase his cup magic.
4. Eddie Howe, Newcastle United:
Newcastle United’s recent struggles and injury-depleted squad have put Howe under scrutiny. A loss against local rivals Sunderland in the FA Cup would further increase the pressure. Howe must decide whether to rest key players for upcoming league matches or go all out for a chance to bring silverware to a club that has been trophyless for decades.
5. Mikel Arteta, Arsenal:
Arteta’s success in the 2020 FA Cup final helped him build momentum at Arsenal. However, with the team now aiming for bigger prizes, Arteta must strike a balance between squad rotation and pursuing FA Cup success. The upcoming tie against Liverpool provides a test for Arsenal’s depth and aspirations.
Which manager is under the most pressure to win the FA Cup?
- Unai Emery at Aston Villa, given the club’s high league position and lack of recent trophy success.
Does Pep Guardiola prioritize the FA Cup over other competitions?
- Guardiola’s main focus is on defending the Premier League and Champions League titles, but an early exit would highlight potential complacency.
Can Eddie Howe afford to rest key players in the FA Cup tie against Sunderland?
- It would be a risk, considering Newcastle United’s recent struggles and the importance of winning trophies for the club.
Is the FA Cup a crucial stepping stone for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal project?
- Winning the FA Cup could bridge the gap between Arsenal’s current level and their aspirations for league and European success.
How important is the FA Cup for Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United future?
- While United’s systemic problems can’t be fixed by the FA Cup, a triumph could provide respite and strengthen ten Hag’s position as manager.