Tonight Arsenal will face Coventry City in a strange sense of Friday night football for this 4th round FA Cup tie. The Gunners go into the game full of confidence having kept up their title challenge for this season, with a good run of wins, the latest coming against Premier League strugglers Fulham FC.
Coventry may not be Premier League or even Championship opposition for the Gunners to face this time around. However sometimes this can go against you and in the opposition’s favour as everyone expects the big guns to win. Wenger has made it very clear that the team will prepare for this game in complete seriousness and train as if it was against any other opponent that they would face on a weekly basis.
In Wenger’s pre-match press conference, he said: “We have to prepare seriously for this game, because we are on a good run and it will be really not welcome at all not to take this game seriously. We are still in a moment of our lifetime, this team, where we want to gain respect and through our attitude is the best way to gain respect.
“Football maybe is the only sport which can make it so unpredictable and that is why it is so interesting as well. If you have two or three divisions’ difference in basketball or rugby, volleyball or handball, you cannot do it, but in football you can. It (Blackburn last year) was the first time in 16 years that we lost against lower league opposition in the FA Cup, so that was a great warning. At the moment, this is just our next game and we want to win it.”
Personally I’m expecting a win, albeit not a big one. I don’t think Wenger will put out a very strong side and certainly not our best team because he will want to keep everyone fit and ready for the continuous Premier League title challenge. Therefore I think Le Prof will put out a team gelled with both youth and experience, in order to give the Young Guns a chance, with that inspiration of experienced talent and professionalism to get the job done.
My starting line-up would be:
Jenkinson Mertesacker Vermaelen Gibbs
Gnabry Cazorla Oxlade-Chamberlain
I’d quite like to put Emiliano Viviano in that line up to give the Italian a chance, however considering he hasn’t played since joining the club on loan for the season, I don’t think Wenger will be taking any chances at all and it seems as if he was just a backup option if needed to be called upon with the departure of fellow Italian Vito Mannone. Gibbs should return after being displaced in the side by Monreal, whilst I also fancy a punt of Gedion Zelalem, who was supposed to feature during the Spurs game in the last round. Gnabry is likely to keep his place, whilst the Ox could make his return for 90 minutes in this FA Cup clash. Bendtner could also return if deemed fit enough.
Without sounding too confident I’m expecting Arsenal to completely outplay our opponents, but not win by an overpowering score line because of the team we are likely to field. Hopefully it’s a fantastic performance and Arsenal make it one step closer to Wembley.