Arsenal travel to Wembley this weekend aiming to reach the FA Cup final and hunt down their first trophy in almost nine years, and ex-England international David James is predicting a tight affair against the current holders Wigan Athletic.
Holders Wigan dumped James’ former side Manchester City out in the quarter finals having also beaten them in the final last year, and are somewhat building a romance with the competition.
And James believes that despite their poor fortunes in the league – which have seen nine points collected from a possible 24, the Gunners will be able to overcome a stern test.
Speaking to A
“They are not where they should be at the moment and there is an opportunity for Wigan to take advantage.
“But if the real Arsenal turn up then ultimately they should have too much quality for them, and I can see Arsene Wenger delivering his team talk of the season to make sure he sees his side through to the final.”
While the former City, West Ham, Aston Villa, Liverpool and Portsmouth ‘keeper has predicted an Arsenal win, he is not writing Wigan’s chances of an upset off.
Having started the season with Owen Coyle the Latics now have Uwe Rosler in charge, and James thinks that if any manager can steer them past another top flight side, it is Rosler.
He added: “The side wasn’t quite gelling under Coyle and the club were juggling the league alongside European football.
“Uwe steps in and I think in their new manager they have a thorough tactician – he understands the game and is clear on how he wants his sides to play football.
“Arsenal lost to Birmingham a few years ago at Wembley. If their players have this in the back of their minds then psychologically Wigan could be stronger than them.”
With Arsenal much fancied favourites to reach the final, many are predicting an all Premier League encounter with Hull City expected to beat League One outfit Sheffield United.
And while James believes that Arsenal could go on to lift the trophy and end their drought, he would also love to see a winner from outside the country’s top division.
“Without being boring I think Arsenal will win the cup even if they lack final experience in recent years. I think they will get their first trophy in a long time.
“But the thought of Sheffield United vs Wigan as a final, wow.
“That for me would sum up the total magic of the FA Cup.”
Fans can watch The FA Cup semi final between Hull City and Sheffield United exclusively live from 3pm on BT Sport 1 this Sunday. BT Sport is free with BT broadband, to find out more visit www.btsport.com