TGIF tonight as we play the first catch-up in the FA Cup. Cardiff’s visit to The Emirates is two days late, purely to suit the needs of Setanta. Little wonder that they lost some of their broadcasting rights recently; even Sky realised the folly of Monday night football on a regular basis. Still, it is somewhat surprising that the TV companies have not insisted that Burnley play the winners on Wednesday.
The draw for the next two rounds is favourable for Arsenal, provided that they win this evening. Arsene made a point of saying that he would not be playing the Carling Cup side in the FA Cup. Looking at it, you would have to wonder whether or not he is changing his mind.
There will be a few changes. Fabianksi is a sure starter whilst Djourou will no doubt return for either of Gallas or Toure. I have a suspicion that it will be the former who drops out tonight, being saved for the league match against Sunderland at the weekend. Clichy is apparently fit for selection although I guess he could be benched with Gibbs starting if Arsene is so minded.
In midfield, the lack of fit bodies makes selection possibly more difficult. Eboue, Ramsey, Walcott and Arshavin are unavailable (or believed to be so) for selection so switching Nasri to the right seems the logical thing to do with Wenger having options on the left. He could bring Wilshere in but I suspect that is unlikely from the start, more likely to be from an hour or so onwards, provided the match is going to plan.
On the left, he could bring in Gibbs or Eduardo but the latter seems unlikely from the start so Vela may well drop in there with Bendtner and van Persie the forward line. There have been suggestions that the Dutchman may be rested but I think that unlikely given there are five days between this and the Sunderland match.
I would expect the line-up to be something like:
Fabianksi; Sagna, Toure, Djourou, Clichy; Nasri, Denilson, Song, Vela; van Persie, Bendtner
It has been a while since there was a good FA Cup run and the draw is favourable so it is not unrealistic to think that there is one in the offing. The crucial thing for this squad is to win something. Once the first trophy nestles on their mantelpieces, I have a feeling that a weight will lift off some shoulders and it would be used as a starting block for global domination.
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.