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FA CUP PREVIEW: Arsenal v Liverpool: Injury News, Preferred XI & Prediction
Arsenal take on Liverpool tomorrow at the Emirates with a place in the quarter finals of the FA Cup at stake.
Much of the pre-match talk has been about us avenging last weeks 5-1 thrashing and this is certainly a good opportunity to get that disaster out our system.
Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with Manchester United was uninspiring and we missed a great opportunity to move back to the top of the Premier League, but it was essential we kept a clean sheet so the back four could regain some confidence and unfortunately that meant we sacrificed some of our attacking play.
We’re still well positioned in the title race but I firmly believe the FA Cup is our best chance of lifting a trophy this season. If we can get past Liverpool we’ll be in with a great shout as United, Spurs and Chelsea will also be out leaving Arsenal, Man City and possibly Everton as the only ‘elite’ sides left in the last eight.
Santi Cazolra is expected to miss the game after being struck down with illness. Although some skeptics believe the Spaniard is simply being rested.
Aaron Ramsey is still out with a thigh injury and Thomas Vermaelen is also still nursing a knee injury, but Mathieu Flamini returns from his three-match ban.
We have no other fresh injuries so the only other absentees are long-term injury victims Theo Walcott, Kim Kallstrom and Abou Diaby.
Arsene is likely to rest some players ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich. I would actually prioritise this game as we’ve got a better chance of beating Liverpool at home than Bayern over two legs, and have a MUCH better chance of winning the FA Cup than Champs League, but I think we know the boss will put Europe before the Cup.
Fabianski is expected to come back in between the sticks and there’s talk that Nacho Monreal and Carl Jenkinson could also be recalled. However, I’d like to see us start with the same back-four that faced United. Key to this game is going to be stopping Liverpool’s dangerous attack and the only way to do it is to play our best defence.
Mikel Arteta is also expected to start as he’s suspended for the Bayern game but I think his lack of pace was badly exposed by the energy and pace of the Liverpool side last week and he looked knackered on Wednesday, so i’d leave him out tomorrow.
Lukas Podolski deserves a start if Cazorla does miss out and I’d also play Bendtner up top. Giroud has been very poor in recent games and is clearly in need of a breather. If Bendtner is motivated and up for the game, he can cause just as many problems as Giroud and I actually think he’s a better finisher than the Frenchman.
We need to inject some pace into our attack so i’d play the Ox on the wing. We were very one-dimentional against United so at leas this at least would give them something else to think about.
This is the team I’d go with:
Liverpool are expected to name their strongest eleven and possibly even the same eleven that battered us last week, so we know this is going to be a difficult game, and it will be made even harder if Wenger rings the chances. If we play our strongest back four we have a chance as Liverpool are dodgy at the back and we’re capable of exploiting them. I fear another loss if we play a weakened side but I’m going to back the boys to edge it.
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool COYG!!!!
What are your thoughts on the game?