Mathieu Flamini was a member of the Arsenal squad that won the club’s most recent trophy and he believes that the current Gunners collective have the means to challenge for silverware once more.
The FA Cup of 2005 was the last pot smooched by Gooner lips and with Arsene Wenger’s men 8/1 to land this year’s renewal we assess the relative merits of Flamini’s teammates, then and now.
Jens Lehmann and Wojciech Szczesny are two of the game’s more whacky stoppers, but the German has the edge on his goalkeeping grandson in terms of presence and ability to command the back-line.
With Pascal Cygan starting 15 league games at centre-half 2004/5’s imposing back-line of Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, Ashley Cole and Lauren arguably had less strength in depth than the current side in the middle.
The defence was most Arsenal fans’ bugbear of choice last term, but the 2012/13 backline actually conceded just one goal more than the great names of the aforementioned FA Cup-winning campaigners.
They may have conceded fewer still had Laurent Koscielny been fit all season and Szczesny been less erratic behind them.
Four-man midfields may be about as in vogue as Von Dutch caps these days, but there’s no disguising the superiority of the vintage Gunners here.
Whilst Mikel Arteta is unspectacular and Jack Wilshere has shown his best only fleetingly, 2004/05 Arsenal had a Patrick Vieira still at his Roy Keane-battling best playing alongside Cesc Fabregas, who was already showing his class in his maiden season as a first-teamer.
Edu and Gilberto Silva offered top class cover in the middle.
On the wings the searing pace of Theo Walcott was lacking, but Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires possessed ball-skills and consistency lacking in the Englishman and Lukas Podolski respectively.
Olivier Giroud ranks as Wenger’s first-choice out-and-out striker, a role Thierry Henry was playing when the Gunners last came home from Wembley smiling.
He was ably supported in that role by Dennis Bergkamp, Robin van Persie and Jose Antonio Reyes, whereas Giroud’s rivals Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo are laughably inferior understudies.