So here it is Arsenal, I don’t think so many fans have been so excited for a game in such a long time. Today, Arsenal return to Wembley for the first time since the horror show against Birmingham in the Capital One Cup a few years back. A defensive error in the closing minutes saw Arsenal plummet into disappointment, a feeling that Arsenal fans have become accustomed to far too often in the past decade. However hopefully all that changes today, with a victory and something to smile about in the FA Cup semi-final.
Arsenal face Wigan at Wembley for the first fixture of the four semi-final participators, and Arsenal are the highest ranked club by far, with other competitors being Hull City, also of the Premier League, and then Sheffield United and obviously Arsenal’s opponents Wigan. Arguably having the harder tie of the round, Arsenal are still expected to win, with all the odds going in the Gunners favour, despite our recent slump of form. But I think we will have to be very careful against a Wigan side, who are more often than not, capable of defining the odds and turning over a top class side. They have done so to Manchester City for the past two seasons, and on their day they are capable of doing the same to any top class side.
So whilst we must play effectively, with passion and determination, a little bit of luck with them not being on their day would be a great help for the Gunners too. I think if we want to achieve the best out of this game, we may have to adopt a very balanced approach. We must play strong attacking football, that has free flowing passing and a strong midfield, but also be very wary of our defensive duties because not only are Wigan very capable of causing damage on the counter attack, but this is also a game in which we can afford no defensive errors. If Wigan scores first, they will park the bus and so Arsenal will find it increasingly difficult to break them down.
Going into the game we have had a few injury updates from the many many players that Arsene wenger’s side currently has out. Rosicky, Gibbs and Chamberlain are all 50/50 to play, whilst Mathieu Flamini is suspended and so definitely won’t play. Ozil and Koscielny continue to miss out. Therefore I think Wenger will go for something as follows:
Sagna Mertesacker Vermaelen Gibbs
Cazorla Ox/Rosicky Podolski
Ramsey and Fabianski have already been given the thumbs up to play in this game, whilst I think if one at the very least out of Rosicky or Ox can make it back for this game then they will take on an attacking CAM role. Monreal has been awful all season and so I’m hoping Gibbs can return for this game but Wenger will also be a little wary of the game on Tuesday against West Ham.
As already stated, Arsenal have all the odds in their favour, it seems as if nobody expects us to lose. However I think as excited as we all are to see our team play at Wembley again, there is still an air of doubt in us all that know that this game is not going to be so easy like others seem to think.