Wouldn’t it have been better if we had beaten Leeds at the Emirates and had an off day today? As it stands, we have to face Leeds at their home now to qualify for the fourth round of the FA Cup where Huddersfield Town awaits us.
I hope the lesson will be learnt from the last fixture that no team is going to be beaten unless you score goals and don’t concede at the back. Any team put out today will have to be both clinical and disciplined.
As far as the starting team is concerned, with games every three days, rotation is a must. So we will again see plenty of changes today.
With only Szczesny available of the three keepers, he is a sure starter. However, I am still thinking who will be on bench. And as Sagna is available after his suspension, so he will start at his favored place. On the left Gibbs will return to replace Clichy. As for the centre backs, it is a bit difficult to decide. Would Wenger risk Djourou? I doubt it. So I would go with Song and Koscielny.
In the middle, Rosicky is available so he will start after his rest and Denilson will partner him. In support, Wilshere is the best option.
Up front, Van Persie cannot be risked and Chamakh deserves a start along with Vela, who as yet hasn’t been loaned out. Bendtner doesn’t fit in well with Chamakh so I would go with Arshavin on the right side.
Probable starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Song, Gibbs, Wilshere, Rosicky, Denilson, Arshavin, Chamakh, Vela.
If this team fails to score goals we can always bring on Van Persie, Walcott and Fabregas, who should all start on the bench.
I won’t go into how the game should be played. It’s a championship side and FA Cup will be a priority for them. They will be determined to get the result and they will have the confidence from the last fixture. We cannot at any time in the game switch off. If we stick to the way we played against West Ham we will be fine. The main thing however will be to score goals.
To conclude, I would say that this is one of the trophies that we can get this season and we cannot blow it. Today’s game shouldn’t be a problem but Arsenal can surprise you at times. I hope it’s not one of those days.
Keep your fingers crossed and enjoy the match.