With all that has occurred on the weekend we have received good warning that truly anything can happen in the FA Cup.
Ever since the Final in may which started to feel like a very long time ago, there’s a feeling that this competition has regained it’s magic. Bigger teams acknowledge the opportunity to win a well respected domestic trophy and we need to take this into consideration once again.
Strangely I have a good feeling about our prospects in Europe this year but no doubt The FA Cup has quickly become our best opportunity of silverware this season.
To take this seriously balance will again be key, I think we can afford some prospects the opportunity to shine but proven quality will also be needed in the side. This game does provide perfect opportunities for particular individuals to prove points or get vital match practice that they’ve missed this year. I think of Woijciech Sczesney, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Chuba Akpom in particular.
Ozil and Walcott starting in the same line-up really excites me as I’m sure it does you guys, I mean we’ve waited a fairly long time, about just under 13 months (recounting from the top of my head here) I believe. As I wrote a couple of weeks back Theo Walcott’s off the ball qualities are vital to this side and there’s nobody that will benefit more from this than Mesut Ozil.
If Akpom manages a start he will also be in good surroundings with Ozil playing off him, this may afford him some very good opportunities to break his duck for the first team. I believe there’s a promising future out there for him but first team men’s football is a different ball game. We’ve seen Yaya Sanogo find the step up difficult despite being a goal machine at every youth level.
Chuba Akpom is a very skilled individual though and has a bit of character about him that could see him go places that Benik Afobe and Yaya Sanogo couldn’t quite get to with us, having said that Niklas Bedntner had one hell of a character! I also do not attempt to write Yaya off here as his goal today could prove this loan to do wonders for him, let’s hope so.
Back on topic, the enigma that is Woijech Sczesney. He frustrates me a lot of the time but I’ve been surprised with some of the overreaction to his dip in form, some saying Ospina’s spell in goal will be the ‘end of his Arsenal career’ is something I can’t agree with. He’s a very talented keeper who is basically a teenager if we’re talking goalkeeping years at 25. Let’s not forget he was joint golden glove winner just last year and has had just as many special moments as he’s had bad ones in his Arsenal career thus far.
Sczesney has always seemed to benefit from some time off and with competition looking like it’s strongest ever since he bacame No. 1 he may just step it up a gear, I hope he performs well but also starts to develop a bit more, his distribution especially.
Other notable involvements to think about could be another game for Hector Bellerin to gain experience from and continue to improve as well as Calum Chambers if he’s required in the heart of the defence tomorrow. I’m unsure of what the boss will do here because Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have started to click again he may want to keep it that way for continuity purposes.
Nacho Monreal vs Kieran Gibbs is an interesting debate, probably the strongest competition at the back. Part of me would like to see Gibbs back in the side as a fan of his but what I’ve observed on Monreal in his time here is that he benefits from a solid run in the team. When he’s dropped and suddenly pulled back in the team he struggles a fair bit, he’s a confidence player and at the moment his form warrants a continued spell in the starting XI. It’d be nice for Ramsey to get more practice and possibly Rosicky picking up from where he left off in his last start.
Personally I’d rest Alexis Sanchez but every interview amongst employees at the club indicate that he despises the word and is always ready to play a full game at any given opportunity, not to mention he’s in a good moment (I won’t allow the City game to dictate my judgement on his form) and it’s only beneficial to keep playing him whilst he’s in form.
Please note that the team I’d like to see and what Arsene may go with could be a completely different thing, he is the master poker player when it comes to these things and it’s very difficult to tell.
I’d like to see this team start: