After being one of the few clubs to see Premier League opposition in the third round, Arsenal have arguably a far kinder draw in the fourth. Not only have we been pitted against Championship side Burnley, but we’ve been handed a home draw once again, as reported by the BBC.
You could argue that Burnley aren’t actually any easier than Sunderland – whom we dispatched 3-1 in the last round – as they are currently battling to get promotion back into the Premier League. Conversely, the Black Cats are real candidates for relegation this season, and could potentially swap places with Burnley in May.
The important factor really is that we’re at home though, as lower league opposition away from home can be incredibly difficult. The smaller and often poor quality pitches make it hard for a team like Arsenal to get the ball down and play it, while it plays right into the hands of teams who like to go route one and hoof the ball into the box and see what happens.
Unfortunately it doesn’t look like we’ll be done any favours elsewhere, with very few all Premier League matchups in the fourth round. Crystal Palace v Stoke City is the only confirmed top flight fixture, although you’d expect Liverpool to get the better of Exeter to set up a match against West Ham – and we could always get a miracle and see Aston Villa beat Wycombe for a chance to go up against Manchester City.
We’ve got a few weeks to wait before the tie, with the fourth round fixtures not taking place until the end of January. Arsenal fans will be more than confident that we can get the win and breeze through into the next round, keeping our dream of a third consecutive FA Cup trophy.
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There’s still a long way to go, but we look capable of beating anyone at the moment, so we’re definitely among the favourites.