Let’s get in to it shall we:
Missing in Action:
Not surprisingly this image still doesn’t need changing.
Arsenal: Jack (ankle), Arteta (calf), Welsh Jesus (hamstring), Flamini (groin – doubt), Ozil (knee – doubt. I think he’ll be on the bench for this one. If things are going well he might get a little run out), Welbeck (thigh – doubt), Giroud (suspended – last match), Sanogo (hamstring/going on loan – doubt), Podolski (groin strain/going to Inter), Diaby (calf strain/figment of our imagination).
Perhaps we can purchase a soft tissue specialist this transfer window.
Hull City: Rosenior (hamstring), Robertson (ankle), Dawson (hamstring), Diame (knee), Snodgrass (knee)
Some pretty big question marks over who starts. We know Ospina will start (I can sense BJ doing cartwheels from here. He has it on good authority that Ospina’s feet don’t actually touch the ground and he saves shots with his mind).
Thanks to our rather extensive list of injuries it’s going to be hard to rotate the squad too much. We are down three strikers and Podolski; therefore, Sanchez may have to lead the line again. I wouldn’t mind seeing Akpom given a go. With all the media attention he’s been given this week it wouldn’t surprise me if he was given a run out. Campbell is probably the better option given his stage of development.
In defence Debuchy is likely to be rested. Chambers or Bellerin? Let’s give the Spaniard another go. Then again Chambers may have to start because he’d be in big trouble if we conceded a set piece…land of the midgets. Kozzer or Monreal? I think Kozzer still isn’t 100% and Monreal was doing a good job, so I’d like to see him line-up for this encounter.
In midfield we could go with Chambers and Le Coq again. In my opinion that didn’t work against Southampton. Flamini could come back in but I’d prefer to see Rosicky and Le Coq given the opportunity. The young Frenchman has performed admirably since coming back on loan, so I’d like to see him prove his worth once again. Ozil will make the bench. In a perfect world he could come on at around the 70th minute mark when we have the game in the bag…unfortunately we are Arsenal and that just doesn’t happen.
Walcott is the biggest question mark for me. Does he start? Is he ready? He hasn’t started a match since January 3rd 2014 and he only had 7 touches in 31 minutes against Southampton. I’d prefer a fully fit Campbell to start on the wing so that Walcott can come on for a little run out with Ozil.
Arsenal vs Hull 2-2
After going ahead early thanks to a good finish from Sanchez we left it til late to scrape through with a point.
One of the worst pull backs I’ve ever seen lead to their first goal…shocking non-call. Mertesacker should have showed more intent for their second. A great run from Sanchez setup Welbeck to grab the equaliser.
You can see the highlights below:
Form Guide: Arsenal: : WDWWL Hull: LLWLW
What form? We haven’t won three in a row all season and I honestly don’t know what Arsenal team is going to show up. In the league we are 13 points off top spot. 33 points from 20 games and 12 points behind where we were this time last season. Thankfully, this isn’t the league and we are currently the cup holders!
Hull haven’t had a good time of it this season. They’ve snapped a 10-game winless run by winning 2 of their last 3 games. They are safe from relegation for now.
This week I’ve dipped into the Arsenal Archive and pulled out this video clip. It’s not really an archive…more of a ‘we won a cup so let’s re-live it again’ type of clip (Their first goal was ridiculously lucky). What a goal by Santi!!!! Thank you Welsh Jesus. Enjoy! 🙂
One to watch:
Alexis Sanchez…because he’s a ripper and gets it done. What tough transition? He’s slotted into the premier league and our team seamlessly
Former Everton striker Jelavic. Hull’s leading scorer and can be a handful at times.
Arsenal midfield vs Hull City midfield
I have no doubt Bruce will pack the midfield for this encounter. Southampton did it really well against us and without Giroud we tend to lack shape in the oppositions half. We can’t let the ex-spuds Livermore and fat-boy Huddlestone get a stranglehold otherwise we might find the going tough. Flamini and Le Coq need to break up their attacks and the midfielders need to transition the play well from defence to attack. If Alexis is playing up front we can’t afford to have him providing the link-up…he needs to be on the end of it. For this reason I think we need Rosicky to partner Le Coq, just so we have more attacking potency.
Now I haven’t been around for a while so I’ve got a lot of fingers to hand out. This week’s finger goes to José Mourinho. Jesus Christ he’s a miserable sod. Just because he’s not getting his way at the moment he’s whinging about every little thing, making excuses for everything. His players don’t win penalties apparently…Hazard is being kicked out of the league (he’s diving over a lot of those tackles)…unfair treatment from the refs. Perhaps he’d have better luck if his players didn’t go down with relative ease. Drogba has done it his whole career; Hazard does it on a regular basis; Ivanovic (despite being built like a brick shithouse) flops whenever he gets around the box; even Cahill dives…Tell your players to stay on their feet and the refs might start rewarding you again. It annoys me that he has the wood of Arsene. Nothing would please me more than seeing him whinge and complain about us too.
Frick it, I’m handing out another! My right finger is going to Liverpool manager Rodgers. He accused Alexis of diving when the two teams met recently. First of all I find it very rich that he’s accusing one of our players after he defended Suarez on a regular basis. Secondly, Sanchez doesn’t dive. Thirdly, it was a long way outside the box so it’s not like the free-kick resulted in a penalty. Finally, look what that cheating twerp Sterling did moments later. He handled the ball to get past an on-rushing Szczesny. P*ss off Rodgers…you too Skrtel.
Pre-Match pat on the back:
This week’s pat on back goes to Santi Cazorla.
He’s really stepped up recently when we’ve needed him too. He’s had midfielders drop off all around him but little Santi has found his first season form. The only thing missing is his shooting foot but that’ll come. Teams have really started to choke us in midfield so players like Santi, Ox, Sanchez and Rosicky are worth their weight in gold. They get the ball and drive forward causing opposition players to gravitate towards them creating space for others. Good job Santi.
‘Ask the opposition’ returns again this week. It is designed to get some friendly banter from our opposition fans and get their insight for the match ahead. This week we’ve got a big group taking part (friendliest bunch I’ve spoken to thus far). The answers were kindly provided by Quill, Brady’s Love Triangle, Mr Hat, John Ex Aberdeen now E.R, Chazz Rheinhold (all from not606) and Ryan from the official Hull supporters club. Let’s see what they’ve written for us this week:
1) How can Hull turn their season around?
Quill: I believe we can, but only if we keep Bruce. Of course, injuries haven’t helped, with Snodgrass being out for the season, and Diame and Dawson also having spells out too. On paper, our team should be comfortable, but paper never won a football match. I think if we get a couple of results go our way, we’ll be fine. We only have to look at Sunderland and Poyet last season for a great example.
brady’s love triangle: Playing forwards when it’s needed, bruce played the perfect game against sunderland but then played the same team at home to leicester.. until the 60th minute when we had all our forwards on we dominated them.. it’s up to bruce really, and if we get diame and dawson back fit and ready, diame has been a huge miss
Mr Hat: Sack Cushionface
John Ex Aberdeen now E.R: We just need to get our bigger players back and a consistent team. With Huddlestone, Dawson, Diame and Snodgrass out, we as a club don’t have the depth of squad to lose these players.
Chazz Rheinhold: Get the players back fit and from suspension. Buy a strong championship centre forward. Deeney would be my choice, if we go down, he’ll be the top scorer next season if we do.
Ryan: As Steve Bruce keeps saying, getting our injured and suspended players back is one big thing but I think he also needs to be a bit more adventurous in attack and make better use of the strikers we have. In our recent home defeat to Leicester we started without a striker and intitially struggled to create chances, but once we brought some strikers on in the second half, we suddenly looked like scoring. That game summed up the rut we’re in really.
2) Which player/s would you like in this transfer window?
Quill: Someone to bridge the gap between midfield and attack. We don’t really have a proper playmaker at the club – Ramirez is alright, but lacks pace, and Ben Arfa was just an idiot. Ironically, we do have that type of player already in Snodgrass, but he is out for the season as mentioned above.
brady’s love triangle: difficult, we spent a lot in the summer, how much will our owners want to dish out? i’d like cattermole from sunderland and danny ings from burnley, neither are likely to happen though
Mr Hat: Messi, Ronaldo or Bale
John Ex Aberdeen now E.R: I don’t think we need much, maybe Lennon to replay Ben Arfa, and Cattermole to stiffen up the Midfield
Chazz Rheinhold: Troy Deeney. Not sure we need anyone else.
Ryan: We’ve spent a lot of money for a club our size recently and I don’t think we really need to keep splashing the cash. The squad is a lot better than the one that stayed up and got to the cup final last year, so the problem lies elsewhere. That said, the one position I think we lack is a bit of pace up front to get in behind teams. We let Shane Long go for a really good offer, but we didn’t have much time to replace him. We got Abel Hernandez, but he hasn’t been anything like as good as long so far and doesn’t seem to have the pace we need.
3) What player/position is your weakest?
Quill: Quite a similar question to above. I wouldn’t say any player in particular is our weakest, but if I had to pick an area, it would be the attack. Bar Jelavic and Hernandez, we don’t have strikers who look truly threatening. The Leicester game highlighted our need for more attackers or at least a more creative threat.
brady’s love triangle: centre midfield and forwards, hernandez has yet to spark into life despite being our most expensive signing in our history, livermore and huddlestone don’t have that ‘kick’
Mr Hat: Every position as Cushionface pulls names out of a hat.
John Ex Aberdeen now E.R: One in midfield and one up front.
Chazz Rheinhold: Centre midfield. We’ve got ex Spurs in there!! Bit lightweight (no Hudd jokes) and too nice. Shouldnt have bought Livermore, gets through lots of work but not enough bite or drive going forward. Always wants to pass to Hudd.
Ryan: We have reasonably good cover all over. I’d say up front is the weakest. Jelavic is great, but we haven’t got anyone else up to his standard to play alongside him.
4) What tactics are you likely to employ against Arsenal?
Quill: Very likely our 3-5-2 formation. It’s our best formation from a defensive standpoint, and is our best chance of keeping your lot at bay. We’ll likely play very similar to how we did in the 2-2 draw earlier on in the season.
brady’s love triangle: probably a 3-5-2, hoping to dominate arsenal in midfield and get you on the counter.. but bruce who knows?
Mr Hat: Concede at all costs
John Ex Aberdeen now E.R: 352 as we did in the league game solid defence and counter attack.
Chazz Rheinhold: I hope Brucey doesnt sit back. He’ll go 3 at the back i reckon. We’ll be out on our feet by Sunday it could be a drubbing for us, we’re running out of players.
Ryan: It’s impossible to say with us. Being an FA Cup game Bruce will probably mix it up a bit meaning fringe players get a game. We play a few different formations at different times.
5) Which Arsenal player would you like and why?
Quill: 100% Alexis Sanchez. The man is awesome. He has been, for me so far this season, the best player in the Prem. Both his ability to score and create, alongside his pace and trickery is exactly what we need at the moment.
brady’s love triangle: sanchez, world class, being a huge fan of his for quite a while , he could play at any team in the world, he bossed the world cup and ozil, I’ve followed him from his young days, he has the quality, he doesn’t have the forwards to work with though
Mr Hat: Diaby because Bruce manages to have so many players out injured all the time that Diaby will prove the exception to the rule in a fitting twist of ironic comedy
John Ex Aberdeen now E.R: The Ox, he has pace, skill and power, though a toss-up with Ramsey.
Chazz Rheinhold: Obviously Sanchez but if not Welbeck.
Ryan: Easy, Danny Welbeck. We were tenuously linked with him in the summer before he signed for you, it seemed very unlikely at the time and so it proved, but I did think he was exactly what we were missing and would have been an ideal foil for Jelavic.
6) Which player/position do you feel is our weakest?
Quill: Defence. I’m including the goalkeeper in that too. Your defence doesn’t look strong enough, both from a physical standpoint and also a mental one. Even Wenger himself admitted that your defence doesn’t talk enough, which is a massive problem.
brady’s love triangle: well, depends on what level, to compete for the premier league/europe, i’d say, a forward and defender
Mr Hat: London, because you pick up a fan base of Piers Morgan’s
John Ex Aberdeen now E.R: Centre back and defensive midfielder.
Chazz Rheinhold: The back four, it seems. Corners free kicks are our best chance of scoring.
Ryan: I don’t know a massive amount about Arsenal but from the outside it always seems like you spend big on attacking players but only get cheap, French youngsters to play in defence. It seems to me that a bit of physicality from teams like Stoke or West Ham is still a weakness for you. I’d say the defence in general is your weakest area.
7) Who should Arsenal sign in the transfer window to improve the squad?
Quill: Again, similar to above, you need a new central defender, someone like Mats Hummels, who has a great technical ability as well as a tactical nous.
brady’s love triangle: martinez of porto
Mr Hat: Messi, Ronaldo or Bale
John Ex Aberdeen now E.R: Not sure which person, but the above 2 positions, then you would be a threat in both League and Europe.
Chazz Rheinhold: Sissoko (sp) from Newcastle. He looked fantastic last time i saw him on TV and was a beast against us last season.
Ryan: Based on my previous answer I’d say a powerful, dominant centre half who already knows the PL. He’d need to play the Arsenal way, so maybe Ashley Williams from Swansea. In fact better yet, our very own James Chester is a very under-rated player in the Rio Ferdinand mould. He’s young, rarely makes a mistake, good on the ball and a brilliant tackler but hardly ever has to slide. I’d hate to see him go, but I reckon he could play for a big club one day.
8) What is your prediction for the match?
Quill: My heart says a 3-2 win after coming from 2-0 down just for revenge, but I’m going to be realistic and say 3-1 Arsenal.
brady’s love triangle: 2-1 to arsenal L
Mr Hat: 9-1 Hull city win.
John Ex Aberdeen now E.R: Depend what team Arsene puts out, if 2nd string we may get a draw, if you put out a first team squad, I fear we will lose 2-0
Chazz Rheinhold: Could be 5-0. It’d be good to fluke a draw and get you back up here for a night match.
Ryan: I can’t see anything other than a City loss. I imagine both sides will play a weakened team, but your reserves will be stronger than ours. If it was a league game I might be hopeful we could knick a result again, but I’m not confident for this one. I was disappointed with the draw really, after last year’s cup run whet the appetite!
I really don’t know to be honest. With the form we are in and against a team that knows how to expose our weaknesses. I think our saving grace is their small squad. Their players would be tired after the packed fixtures. God I hope we win because we need to go on a winning run and it’d be fantastic if we kept the Cup this year. 2-1 to the good guys.
What is your prediction?
What team line-up would you go with?
Who will be our best player on the day?
Who do we need in the transfer window?
Podolski…a flop or not?
Enjoy the game Arsenal fans.
By Oz Gunner