Hull Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups
Arsenal’s FA Cup clash against Hull today would bring some sweet memories. Memories of the vast amounts of beer that was consumed in Bheerhugs Cafe, Ikeja. Memories of my friends that were going through Hell when Hull was two goals and the indescribable elation from the same set of fans after Aaron Ramsey’s match winner. Arsenal begin this game as defending champions and would want to go all the way to retain their title. When was the last time the Gunners were defending champions in any competition? Hell, we haven’t even been able to win the Emirates Cup recently, not to even talk of defending it.
The FA Cup began in full flow yesterday with some results with some Premier League teams decimating their lower league counterparts in ruthless fashion. Swansea put six goals past Tranmere Rovers and the game would be remembered for the comic error from Gernhard Tremmel. Lukasz Fabianski had committed a similar blunder against Liverpool and his No. 2 deemed it fit to commit a replica of the error. Elsewhere, Saido Berahino was on supernova as he smashed in four goals in West Brom’s 7-0 thrashing of Gateshead FC.
Hull had a good start to the new year defeating Everton at home but prior to that, Steve Bruce’s side has struggled for form with three defeats in their last four games. Arsenal on the other hand, seemed to be in a good patch of form with two wins on the bounce against London-based opponents but their last game against Southampton wouldn’t bring any fond memories.
Arsenal would want to get back to winning ways after the debacle against Southampton and you’d expect Arsene Wenger to make a couple of changes in the team. David Ospina is back to full fitness so he’s odd on to get the nod ahead of Wojciech Szczesny but one wonders what Wenger would have in store for the defense with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal recently returning into action. I see Calum Chambers getting a run out in central defense alongside Per Mertesacker. With Kieran Gibbs getting some game time just three days ago, Wenger may be tempted to give Monreal a run-out. In midfield, Wenger doesn’t really have the luxury of giving some players some rest so I’d expect to see the likes of Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Olivier Giroud will serve the last ban tomorrow and will be available for next Sunday’s game against Stoke.
To injuries, Arsenal will still be without Jack Wilshere (ankle), Mikel Arteta (calf), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Mathiru Flamini (groin – doubt), Mesut Ozil (knee – doubt), Danny Welbeck (thigh – doubt), Olivier Giroud (suspended) and Yaya Sanogo (hamstring – doubt). Hull will be without Liam Rosenior (hamstring), Andrew Robertson (ankle), Michael Dawson (hamstring), Mohamed Diame (knee) and Robert Snodgrass (knee).
Arsenal have won three of their previous six FA Cup clashes with Hull City (D2 L1) and history is also against the away side as the Gunners have lost just one of their last 38 FA Cup home matches (W28 D9 L1).
Predicted Lineup for Arsenal (4-1-4-1): Ospina; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs; Coquelin; Cazorla, Ox, Alexis; Welbeck.
Predicted Lineup for Hull (3-5-2): McGregor; Bruce, Chester, Davies; Brady, El Mohammady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Ramirez; Hernandez, Jelavic.
Hull is a very unpredictable foe and their performance in the FA Cup final would be a reminder that they could punish the Gunners defense if given half a chance.
Here’s to a great game of football.
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