Arsenal v Hull take 2. Let’s hope the sequel is a bit more action packed than the first attempt. The cycle that this tie has followed must take a turn somewhere, as we see the goals generally decrease tie after tie. Unfortunately Hull have had the better results compared to Arsenal since the match, and a lot has changed for Arsenal. The last time these sides met, things were looking up for the Gunners. After their last minute victory over leaders Leicester, they moved to league favourites once again in the bookies. Confidence was rising, as we prepared to battle a projected tough month. However, that handful of tough games have past now, as have a the title hopes for many. This game doesn’t do us any favours in our schedule, and if we leave the KC Stadium without a win, we will have hit rock bottom.
Hull have went on to win once out of their 3 games since visiting the Emirates, not great, but considering Arsenal haven’t won any in 4 since then, it is better. Despite just winning once, they have remained a strong outfit, narrowly losing out to Birmingham this week just past in a tough fought contest. They drew to 10 men Sheffield Wednesday at home prior to Birmingham, stretching their unbeaten run on home soil to 8. The last loss the Hull City faithful witnessed at the KC was to Derby on the 29th November 2015, which also happens to be the only home game the Tigers have lost all season. At home they have been impressive, conceding just 6 goals whilst scoring 30 at the other end in 16 games. To put that into perspective, Arsenal have scored just 19 and shipped 10 goals at home, only winning twice in their last seven attempts.
Arsenal will make to trip north without 3 pivotal players in the side. Francis Coquelin is suspended, while Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny are both recovering from injuries. Arsenal fans have been drowned with bad news and constant blows recently, and these injuries just add to the stream of unfortunate events. The injury to Coquelin means that Alex Iwobi is likely to start again, which is a positive to the fans that like to see the young raw talent appear on the Arsenal front. This means Wenger will be likely to deploy Aaron Ramsey back into a deeper role, despite his attacking effort versus Spurs.
Steve Bruce has already stated he will stick to his ‘rotation policy’ ahead of the replay, although he has a full squad available for selection. I’d be surprised if Eldin Jakupovic was not to start between the sticks, due to his heroic display he put on in the initial game. Nick Powell and Shaun Maloney are also expected to appear for the Tigers.
“If we were able to do it again, it would be absolutely fantastic,” he said. “There’s no country where the national cup is bigger.
“In Spain and France, nobody neglects it: not Barcelona, not Madrid. Everybody plays for it 100 per cent, with a top team always.
“I personally rate highly the FA Cup. I think it’s a fantastic, prestigious competition. I believe it is treated like that because when I listen to people, should we lose a game in the FA Cup, it would be a disaster. You cannot say on one side it’s undervalued, and on the other side if we lose, it’s a disaster.
“We won the FA Cup twice in the last two years. We will try to do our best again in this competition.”