Today Hull City visit the Emirates for the second time this season, and a much improved performance from Arsenal will be needed this time around if they are to book a date at Wembley against Chelsea in the FA Cup semifinals. A showing more like we saw at the KC Stadium back in January should see Arsenal through.
Wenger has spoken of his squads hunger to end this frustrating season on a high note. ‘Of course there is a burning desire to win a trophy and if we focus on our performances then we can create something special.
‘If we are consistent we will be ahead of Villa at the end of the season. We have the experience to cope with pressure and that helps.
‘I expected us to win against Blackburn but I didn’t expect Villa to lose to Tottenham. That was the bonus of the weekend.’
Without the captain and linchpin of the team, Cesc Fabregas, the Boss said the team has had to change its style. ‘We have had to [adapt]’ Wenger told ATVO.
‘I believe we will all be happy when Cesc comes back but we had to cope without him and of course, I believe it will be a big lift for everybody when he`s back. But we had to do without him.
‘When he`s there, everything goes through him but when he`s not it can take a while to adapt because the game goes through different ways – it`s plural.
‘When it`s Fabregas it is more one-way traffic at the start of the build-up.’
Arsenal Team News:
After having eight stitches in the side of his foot at halftime of the Blackburn game, Andrey Arshavin is a doubt, but he is rushing to get himself back for this game. Wenger said Andrey was ‘desperate’ to play. Eduardo is out for one more game, while Ramsey and Almunia are also out. Manuel has a sprained ankle from that disgusting challenge by Diouf. Fabianski will be between the posts for his usual spot in cup games. Gael Clichy will be rested for this game, and the ever reliable Gibbs will step in in his place.
Possible Starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Toure, Gibbs, Eboue, Song, Denilson, Arshavin, Nasri, van Persie
Player to watch: Kieran Gibbs
Kieran might not be the match winner, but I will be watching him because of how impressive he has been this season. It seems we have another real talented left back on our hands that is molded to our attacking style of play, like his predecessors Cole and Clichy. Look for him to lock down Hull’s right midfielder, something Clichy had trouble doing at the KC Stadium.
Hull Team News:
Hull will be without long term absentees and influential midfielders Jimmy Bullard and George Boateng. And since Kevin Kilbane is cup-tied Andy Dawson will step in at left mid. Dean Marney will sit out the last match of his three match ban for a red card against Blackburn at the beginning of the month.
Player to watch: Manucho
On-loan Manchester United striker will most likely be preferred to Cousin for this match. In January Manucho came on as a sub and caused the Arsenal defense problems until Djourou put a hole in his head during a play which should of resulted in a Hull penalty. The Angolan has looked good as of late so Gallas and whoever partners him will have their hands full.
Match Facts & Stats
Arsenal haven’t lost a domestic match since late November.
This is Arsenal’s best cup run since 2005 when we last lifted the trophy.
The last time these two sides met in the FA Cup was a 1930 semifinal and Arsenal advanced.
With the new found spirit and desire in our squad, I see Arsenal progressing past a resilient Hull. I will go with 3-1 to the Arsenal with van Persie getting on the score sheet while Eboue and Arshavin continuing their goal scoring ways.
21/3 (Sat) – Newcastle (A) – Premier League
4/4 (Sat) – Manchester City (H) – Premier League
7/4 (Tue)- **Quarter-Final TBD** – Champions League