So today the Arsenal squad or those fit and selected to will fly to Hull for our 7pm FA Cup replay against Steve Bruce’s Tigers. An additional fixture the team could do without but one for which they only have themselves to blame. In a strange way however the match takes on greater significance strangely for our faltering Premier League campaign. I say this because victory tonight buys Wenger time to get Koscielny fit and the ability to at least consider resting some key players if we face Watford in the Cup this weekend rather than a confident WBA in the league. Yes playing in the Cup whilst Tottenham and Leicester play in the Premier may widen the point gap but better chase with a fuller squad.
That said it is still a balancing act as the manager himself stated yesterday and his team selection will be interesting. Of course Coquelin will be serving his one match ban for his reckless second yellow in the NLD but better against Hull than in the league. It is this fact that presents Wenger’s first dilemma as he will have decide whether to play Flamini alongside Elneny and leave Ramsey on the right of to play Ramsey with the Egyptian. I personally think the 3 central midfielders deployed in the NLD may well have shown him the wat forward in the league but I suspect he will revert to the conventional 4231 tonight. Elneny will certainly start and I think Ramsey may well get the nod with the hope that we can get ahead and he can rest the Welshman in the second half.
I expect the defence and keeper to remain the same as Saturday with one exception. Chambers will probably come in for Bellerin . The young Englishman has played well at fullback and centre back when called upon this season and needs pitch time should Koscielny be ruled out any longer. Gibbs did will enough against the old enemy and if Monreal has a slight muscle strain he should continue.
The bigger changes will be in the forward third and I consider it quite likely that all four position should be filled with different personal than those who played v Spurs. Iwobi will once more take on the CAM role will Ozil rested once more for the Cup and he needs to play and gain confidence after his manager let him down badly throwing him on wide right for the final period at old Trafford. I still have no clue why he came on there when Campbell was also on the bench. The decision looked stranger still when The Frenchman stated Joel on the right 3 days later at the Emirates. Tonight I hope they will both play in the preferred roles on at least the ones they have played the most this season and the Costa Rican will pick up where he left off before being so crazily hauled off against Swansea.
That leaves the final two attacking roles to be ne occupied by the two players desperately in need to a confidence boosting performance and a goal, or two, Walcott and Giroud. There is no sense in asking Danny to start again 3 days after the intensity of the NLD but make no mistake Welbeck and Sanchez is the Premier League axis I feel. Walcott will nominally start on the left but with Elneny and Gibbs to do the defensive work I hope he can get closer to Olly. I view the Iwobi/Campbell roles as highly interchangeable and I hope also Walcott and Campbell interchange flanks from time to time.
It would be lovely to get the job done early and give some of these players the boost a dominant display can give them. Walcott and Giroud may well not be first choice at present but we have seen what both of the, particularly the Frenchman, as recently as the start of this season, can do as impact substitutes.
Here is the team GT Predict
With s strong bench if needed – Let’s hope not: Ozil, Alexis, Flamini. Bellerin, Nacho, Macey, Jeff?