- Arsenal boss offers injury update on Cazorla & Giroud
- Ratings: Cech shines but Ozil fails to spark as Arsenal held
- Video: Arsenal 0-0 Boro: Lackluster Gunners drop valuable points
- Teams: Arsenal v Middlesbrough: Cazorla out, Elneny in
- Team news: Wenger’s update on Ramsey, Welbeck, Giroud & Cazorla
- Preview: Arsenal v Boro, team news, line-up & prediction
- [Photos] Arsenal duo step-up injury comebacks in training today
- [Photos] Arsenal boost as injury doubt trains ahead of Boro game
- Arsene Wenger sets comeback date for forgotten Arsenal man
- Arsenal boss confirms fresh injury doubt for Middlesbrough game
FA Cup Preview: Wenger Out? + Team News, Preferred XI & Prediction
Arsenal face holders Wigan in the Semi Final of the FA Cup at Wembley tomorrow evening in a game that has huge implications for both Arsenal Football Club and manager Arsene Wenger.
I’m lucky enough to be going to the game and will have the pleasure of sitting in a corporate box. Sadly it won’t have the same atmosphere as being in the crowd, but at least I get free beer!
I’m sure like many of you, I’m slightly more nervous about this game than perhaps we should be. We are facing a Championship side after-all so we should be huge favourites to win the game and reach the final. However, we have so much to lose, and Wigan will know that.
If we fail to win tomorrow I fear it will be a devastating blow to the squad’s mental state, and has the potential to be even more harmful than the League Cup loss to Birmingham. There is so much expectation that this will be the year that we finally end our trophy drought, that failure to do so will be hugely damaging and could see us further implode to miss out on the top four as well.
It will also have wider implications on the future of Arsene as I can see a huge majority of the so-called ‘Arsene Knows Brigade’ turning on him if he fails to deliver the FA Cup this season. Lose tomorrow, and Wenger will have no choice but to leave when his contract expires this summer. The fans will force him out. So it’s all to play for tomorrow and I just hope the team turns up.
So far this season, the players have frozen in pretty-much every big game. If they bottle it again tomorrow, Wigan have the quality to pull off another shock. They won the competition last season and beat Man City on their own patch to reach the last four this year, so they certainly can not be underestimated.
It was looking grim on Thursday when the boss said Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky and Kieran Gibbs were all major doubts, but the trio all took part in training today so it looks like they could be involved tomorrow.
I personally wouldn’t risk Gibbs from the start unless he’s 100% fit and the same goes with Rosicky, but I think we desperately need The Ox to start for his pace. Otherwise we’re going to be slow and predictable in attack.
The injury list is still extensive with Laurent Koscielny not expected back until Tuesday’s clash with West Ham while Mesut Ozil could feature against Hull City next Sunday.
But for tomorrow’s game, they join Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Abou Diaby, Serge Gnabry and Ryo Miyaichi on the sidelines, while Mathieu Flamini is suspended.
Lukasz Fabianski will start in goal and I think we’ll see the same back-four that started against Everton last week. Let’s hope they play a little better this time around!
There has been lots of talk of Kim Kallstrom possibly starting but I think it would be a huge risk for game of this intensity. Aaron Ramsey is certain to start after returning from a thigh injury last week while I’ve changed my mind on who should start up front.
In my post yesterday, I called for Olivier Giroud to start but now I feel we should give Yaya Sanogo another chance. He’s started in the last few FA Cup games and performed well, and let’s face it, Giroud has been fairly useless lately, so he can’t do much worse.
If we turn up and play our game, Wigan shouldn’t be able to live with us. However, if we start slowly and let them gain confidence, it could all go horribly wrong. But I’m going to back the boys to put in a performance tomorrow and book our place in the final.
Arsenal 3-0 Wigan COYG!!!
What team would you start? What do you think the score will be? Should Arsene go if we lose?