Proof of just how far Arsenal have fallen and Gary Neville for England manager?

The FA is doing its utmost to ensure this season’s Cup Final will be the stand-alone game on May 5.

That they need to haggle symbolises how the competition has been undermined. For Arsene Wenger, though, it has never been so important. As he prepares his team to face Aston Villa today, Wenger must know that the FA Cup offers him a desperately-needed ­release from the pressure at the Emirates.

Out of interest, I looked up the team that won with an attritional performance in Cardiff back in 2005, winning Arsenal’s last major trophy.

Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Senderos, Cole, Gilberto, Vieira, Fabregas, Pires, Bergkamp, Reyes.

If we give good old Jens the benefit of the doubt, I make it six world-class ­players in that team. And how many do Arsenal have at this very moment? One. Bluntly, that shows how far Arsenal have regressed.

***

Funny how your perception of people can change.

Not sure I wrote more than a handful of complimentary words about Gary Neville during his playing career. Now, my admiration for him as a TV analyst is tempered only by the regret that punditry might rob England of an outstanding manager.

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williamhill.com

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