Arsenal host Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Sunday and it promises to be a tough tie. The Championship outfit are closing in on promotion to the top tier of English football once again and will be buoyed by their emphatic 2-0 win over Manchester City in the fourth round.
Here are five reasons why we will not be making the same mistake as the Citizens.
1. Arsenal’s FA Cup home record is sound
Last season Arsenal beat the Spuds, Coventry, Liverpool and Everton at home to progress to Wembley for the FA Cup Semi and Final. Our win over Hull City in the third round last month extended our record to losing just once in our last 40 FA Cup home matches (W30 D9 L1).
2. ‘Brough’s Cup record
High flying Middlesbrough are a team on song at present and represent a serious despite their Championship league status. They also beat Manchester City, however prior to that incredible result they had won just one of their last 11 FA Cup matches against top flight opponents (W1 D3 L7).
3. Arsenal’s attack not short of Cup goals
Even without Alexis Sanchez, Arsene Wenger has plenty of goal scorers in the mix. Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Tomas Rosicky finished off Brighton in the last round while Olivier Giroud has scored five and assisted four goals in his 10 FA Cup appearances including the exquisite back heel for Aaron Ramsey’s 2014 winner.
4. Gunners defenders have a point to prove
Some Arsenal fringe players who have been used to playing regularly this season have a point to prove. The likes of Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers and Gabriel Paulista could all be afforded starts and each have been regular starters at some point this season.
The Gunners sloppily conceded two against Brighton, while they have looked fragile against Spurs and Leicester City so the aforementioned defenders will want to put their best foot forward to push their way into Wenger’s starting XI.
5. Head to head in Arsenal’s favour
The Gunners and ‘borough meet for the eighth time in the FA Cup, with Arsenal winning five of the previous eight encounters (W5 D1 L2).
Middlesbrough’s last four FA Cup matches have all ended with a 2-0 scoreline in favour of the away team, two of which they lost. Can we repeat the feat?
Did you know if Arsene Wenger wins Arsenal’s 12th FA Cup he will have won the competition as many times as George Ramsay with Aston Villa, the most successful manager in the competition with six FA Cup titles.