Our defence of the FA Cup continues this weekend when we take on Championship outfit Brighton, who we have a history with in recently years .
We’ll not take it for granted that it’ll be a win for us but we still expect a win, wouldn’t we?
Of course we all expect The Arsenal to win the game by a landslide but again, it’s football. *cough* Chelsea.
Anything can happen. I’m not even gonna cite the fact that Manchester United couldn’t win Cambridge, the lowest rated side in the whole of English football whose entire squad cost nothing, as an example .
A repeat of the 2013 FA Cup, Arsenal again travel to Brighton for the 4th round. On that day back in 2013, the Gunners were given a demanding examination from the Championship club, where we finally won the game 3-2 and we will expect no different this Sunday.
Brighton who have won 4 of their last 5 games under their new manager, Chris Houghton would be looking to extend that run against an Arsenal team who are still reveling in their 2-0 win over Manchester City at the Etihad.
The issue for Arsenal now would be if the manager should stick with the team that has been performing or give other players a chance to show their worth. On one hand, he may be tempted to rest some players and play the likes of Szczesny, Gibbs, Walcott, Flamini and Mesut Ozil, he certainly has some viable options chomping at the bid to return.
On the other hand, the Gunners have some momentum going for them along with some players in top form. Do we risk depleting the affability in the play of Cazorla, Coquelin and Ospina for the sake of rotation? Or do we look to the future and see that we’re still going to have to call on the players currently kicking their heels on the bench at some point in time?
Arsene Wenger thinks keeping Brighton’s strikers quiet is the key to progression for the holders, ”We have to keep their strikers quiet,” the manager said. “In the cup, you have to be ready from the start on and people like that can always surprise you if you`re not ready.
“It`s always difficult in the Championship away from home. I remember it was a very difficult game two years ago against a team who were on the way up with Gus Poyet. We needed to dig deep to get out with a positive result.
“Chris Hughton will give them his experience and his competence, of course. He knows how to prepare a team for a challenge like this. For us the challenge is to turn up with the same spirit and show that we can be consistent with our attitude game by game.
In the FA Cup, god knows that is needed. We know that it will be another big challenge for us to go there and come home with a positive result.
Brighton manager Chris Hughton wants his side to do him proud when the Gunners visit on Sunday, “There’s real excitement ahead of the game, in a week when we’ve had three home games.
“There were 27,000 fans there on Saturday, 23,000 on Wednesday and we`re expecting a record crowd on Sunday, so we know what the game means to the fans and the football club.
“It`s a nice game for everybody concerned and especially our supporters who have been brilliant this week.
“There`s not one player who doesn`t want to play and it`s great for the club to be involved at this stage in the competition playing a team of Arsenal`s magnitude.
“I just hope that we can make it a really good day for everybody and if it`s a game we`re not able to win, then I hope the fans can go away and say we gave them everything and that they enjoyed what they saw.”
Wenger also let us know that we could expect to see some rotation in the side but assured us that he was surely going to field a strong side against Brighton on Sunday.
That could see Mesut Ozil coming into the side and trust me, seeing all Cazorla has been playing in the last weeks, we could expect a master class performance from Ozil against Brighton, or not.
We all know the F.A Cup is one of the more realistic chances we have if we are to pick another slilverware this season and progress at the stage should be the main focus, preferably at the first time of asking.
[alert style=”3″]<<<<<<<Arsenal Team News>>>>>>[/alert]
Arsenal will give fitness tests to Alex Oxlade Chamberlain (knee) and Hector Bellerin (ankle). Danny Welbeck (thigh) is one week away from fitness and Serge Gnabry is in full training again.
Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder), Mikel Arteta (ankle), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Abou Diaby (knee) are all out.
Arsenal would pick a team from: Szczesny, Ospina, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Rosicky, Ozil, Giroud, Walcott, Chamberlain, Ramsey, Alexis, Monreal, S.Cazorla, Flamini, Chambers, Martinez, Campbell, Coquelin, Akpom, Bellerin.
[alert style=”1″]<<<<<Match Facts and Stats>>>>[/alert]
The sides met in this round in 2013, with the Gunners winning 3-2.
That was Brighton’s only home cup defeat in the last 12 contests.
Brighton’s only wins against Arsenal both came in the 1981-82 season. Arsenal have won six of the nine encounters, with one draw.
Brighton have 8 goals in their last 5 games, Arsenal have 9.
Arsenal have won 40%, drawn 20% and lost 40% of their last 20 away games.
Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in 7 of their last 20 away games, going on to win 7 and draw 0 of these matches.
Arsenal have failed to score in 5 of their last 20 away games, going on to draw 0 and lose 5 of these matches.
And amazingly, Brighton’s Adrian Colunga and Santi Cazorla were teammates in CD Covadonga U-10s.