Arsenal turn their attention to the FA Cup tonight.
Arsene Wenger has come under heavy criticism following the Gunners’ hammering in Munich last week, and a win is a must. A loss to Sutton United tonight is simply unthinkable, as well as unacceptable. But stranger things have happened in the FA Cup.
If Arsenal overcome Sutton United tonight, then they face another National League side in Lincoln City at the Emirates in the quarter-final stage. Simply put, the Gunners HAVE to at least make the semi-finals.
Following tonight’s game, Arsenal’s next match on their fixture list come against Liverpool at Anfield on March 4th, giving the players 12 days to rest.
There are no new injury concerns, although Danny Welbeck will reportedly not feature tonight due to Sutton United’s plastic pitch. The striker has recently recovered from a long-term knee injury and will not be risked.
Taking all this into account, what should be Arsenal’s starting line-up tonight?
Wenger usually gives some key players a rest during the cup games, but there is no reason to do this tonight, not in my opinion anyway.
With that said, here is the starting XI I would like to see Wenger go with:
Bellerin Mustafi Koscielny Gibbs
Perez Oxlade-Chamberlain Sanchez
David Ospina is Arsenal’s cup competition goalkeeper, and I must say, the Colombian has impressed when he has started for the Gunners this season.
I would like to see the back four remain the same from the Munich game. It’s more than likely one or two will be rested, but out next game is on March 4th – plenty of time to recover.
In midfield, Francis Coquelin alongside Mohamed Elneny, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as the no.10. The England international has been impressive in the middle of the park when deployed in that position, so why not get Mesut Ozil out of the firing line and give The Ox a game in the German’s role?
Lucas Perez hasn’t started many games since his arrival this summer, but this will surely be one of them. The Spaniard on the right wing with Alexis Sanchez on the other flank. The Chilean will probably be rested and Theo Walcott or Alex Iwobi will start. But with the FA Cup Arsenal’s only hope of winning silverware this season, play your best players.
Olivier Giroud upfront. He is good at holding up play and aerially efficient, something which could prove useful against a tough Sutton United defence.