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FA Cup Preview: Hull v Arsenal, Team News, Line-Up & Prediction
Arsenal head to the KC Stadium this evening to take on Hull City in our FA Cup fifth round replay after being held to a disappointing 0-0 draw by Steve Bruce’s side at the Emirates last month.
We were certainly well below par that afternoon but I think it’s fair to say the Barcelona game – which was played three days later – may have been on the players’ minds.
Three weeks ago, the FA Cup was unquestionably our third priority this season as Arsene Wenger was focussing on Premier League and Champions League glory.
However, a lot has changed since the original tie against Hull as we’re now eight points adrift of leaders Leicester in the league and almost certainly crashing out of Europe to Barcelona, so suddenly the FA Cup has renewed importance.
Defeat tonight would not only leave us highly likely to end the season without any silverware, but it would also be a huge blow to an already fragile squad and heap further pressure on the shoulders of the boss.
With Watford awaiting the victors in the quarter finals, we’ve got an excellent chance to book our place at Wembley in the last four if we can get past Hull tonight, so hopefully the boys are up for it.
Cech is out until the beginning of April so Ospina will continue in goal after impressing against Tottenham at the weekend.
Koscielny has also been ruled out for the next two games so Gabriel and Mertesacker are set to continue their partnership together at the back.
Arsene has confirmed he’ll make some changes to keep his squad fresh so we should expect to see the likes of Chambers, Campbell, Walcott and Giroud get recalls.
Youngster Alex Iwobi is in the squad in place of the suspended Coquelin and I think we’ll see him get another chance to impress.
Monreal should also return from a slight calf problem while the likes of Bellerin, Ozil, Sanchez and Welbeck should get a rest.
While the FA Cup is probably our best chance of a trophy again this season, I’ve still not given up on the title just yet, so I hope we see our key men rested.
With Coquelin suspended, Flamini is expected to come in but I’d prefer to try Elneny in the holding role with Ramsey alongside of him. It’s an intriguing partnership so I’d like to see how they get on together.
Giroud and Walcott have plenty to prove as their form has dropped significantly in recent weeks while Campbell certainly deserves a start in attack.
This would be my line-up:
Hull boss Steve Bruce has also confirmed he’ll make plenty of changes for the game as his priority is promotion from the Championship so I fancy us to win this tonight. The players will be desperate to get back on track after a disappointing couple of weeks and we’ll be keen to lift the FA Cup for a record third straight season.
Hull 0-2 Arsenal