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PREVIEW: Arsenal v Hull: Team News, Starting XI & Prediction
Arsenal begin the defence of their FA Cup when we take on Hull City at the Emirates this afternoon.
The game is a repeat of last years final which saw us come from two goals down to draw 2-2 in normal time before Aaron Ramsey scored the winner with just three minutes left of extra time.
Hopefully this game will be a little less dramatic – although we did need an injury-time equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw with Steve Bruce’s men at the Emirates back in October, so we should expect a difficult game once again.
The FA Cup triumph back in May was meant to ease the pressure on Arsene Wenger’s shoulders but a frustrating first half to the season has done little to silence the boo-boys, so it’s important we bounce back from Thursday’s loss at Southampton and book our place in the fourth round.
The boss has mounting injury worries to deal with leaving him little room to rotate a tiring team.
One certainty is that David Ospina will start in goal with Wojciech Szczesny left out following his disappointing display at St Mary’s.
Aaron Ramsey is still short of fitness so joins Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta on the sidelines.
Lukas Podolski is in Italy after sealing a loan move to Inter Milan while Olivier Giroud serves the final of his three match ban.
There was no sign of Danny Welbeck at training on Saturday so it’s unlikely he will be involved, therefore we’re short of options in attack.
Theo Walcott is pushing for a start after coming off the bench last time out while Mathieu Flamini could return from a knock.
Alexis Sanchez will most probably start as the boss has little option, but I think the Chilean needs a rest or we risk him picking up an injury, so I’d give Chuba Akpom a start up front.
Mathieu Debuchy has started every game since returning from a long injury so I’d also rest him with Hector Bellerin coming in at right back, while Laurent Koscielny should also be given a breather to protect his troublesome Achilles.
This is the side I’d go with:
Just as we looked to be gaining some momentum we put in a terrible display at Southampton, so it’s difficult to know which Arsenal will turn up this afternoon. However, I’m hoping the boys will be right up for this game as we look to defend our trophy so I’m backing a 2-0 win.
Arsenal 2-0 Hull