Arsenal vs Coventry
The FA Cup
Kick off: January 24, 2014 7:45 PM GMT
It would be fair to say that the FA Cup remains Arsenal’s most likely chance of silverware this season with Wenger stating he would love to win it a fifth time. In the coming fourth round Arsenal host Coventry City, a team we comprehensively beat last season 6-1. Despite that result, Arsenal can’t be complacent and will need to put in a good shift if they want to avoid an upset.
Although Wenger said he would love to win the FA Cup again, we all know it is very likely he will use this opportunity to rotate the squad, particularly with upcoming fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester United. While any kind of rotation is likely to weaken the starting eleven, Arsenal do have reasonabledepth in the squad so a win will most definitely be expected from the players that are named.
From the team news, disappointingly it was revealed that Arteta and Ramsey are still short and also versatile Czech Tomas Rosicky is unavailable for selection. Arsene still has some options in midfield however with Oxlade-Chamberlain having a run through the middle for the under-21’s in midweek and Cazorla also being able to play as the typical number 10. He also has young Zedion Gelalem at his disposable, but I expect that he will have to make do with a possible cameo off the bench. That leaves Ozil and Wilshere, who could both be afforded rests for the tougher fixtures coming up.
In the gloves Fabianski should be given a rare outing. At the back, expect to see Vermaelen get a run alongside Mertesacker in the centre of defence, particularly knowing that the Belgian hasn’t really synergised well with Koscielny in the past. Also, expect Podolski to finally get a good chunk of game-time after being largely overlooked in recent weeks. The German has looked pretty hungry for some football so hopefully we will get to see a few thunderbolts rocket off his left foot. The only other selection of note is Bendtner who may be given a chance up front after return from injury earlier this week.
Looking at Coventry, like Arsenal they to are in a rich vein of form. The Sky Blues have only lost one match in the previous eleven and are averaging over two goals a game in the League One. They will no doubt take heart from the upsets that already occurred this season, most recently being Sunderland’s shock progression in the Capital One Cup at the expense of Manchester United.
As usual with these kinds of matches Arsenal go into the clash heavy favourites on paper, but as we all know anything could happen. Against opponents such as Coventry, it is important that the Gunners impose themselves right from the get-go and sink an early goal or two. Plucky opponents, such as the Sky Blues, are much more dangerous when they begin to believe, so Arsenal need to break their spirits early. COYG!
Arteta (calf), Ramsey (thigh), Walcott (knee), Sanogo (back), Rosicky (nose)
|ARSENAL – WWWWW||FULHAM – WLDWL|
|Arsenal 2 – Fulham 0||EPL||Preston 1 – Coventry 1||EFL1|
|Aston Villa 1 – Arsenal FC 2||EPL||Coventry 2 – Crawley Town 2||EFL1|
|Arsenal FC 2 – Tottenham 0||FA||Rotherham United 1 – Coventry 3||EFL1|
|Arsenal FC 2 – Cardiff 0||EPL||Coventry 1 – Oldham Athletic 1||EFL1|
|Newcastle United 0 – Arsenal FC 1||EPL||Coventry 4 – Peterborough United 2||EFL1|
Jenkinson Mertesacker Vermalen (c) Monreal
Arsenal 3 Coventry 0