There were wholesale changes from both Arsenal and Hull City for this 5th round match in the FA cup, with the visitors beating Wenger´s nine changes by one, so it was clear that neither side saw this competition as a priority. Both still wanted to win the match though and the players that did start knew it was a good chance to showcase their abilities.
Arsene Wenger gave a positive and encouraging update on the injury situation at Arsenal yesterday, reported by Arsenal.com, and as well as the very good news on the fitness of our centre backs Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel after both picked up knocks last week, the manage spoke about his only signing of the January transfer window Mohamed Elneny.
With two massive cup games coming up for Arsenal in the space of three days, starting with Hull City in the FA cup on Saturday, the last thing Arsene Wenger needed was more problems to deal with, so the loss of two potential centre backs in Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel to injury last weekend was a serious concern for Arsenal fans and a big headache for the boss.
I get the reason for Arsene Wenger bringing up the last time Arsenal faced our Champions League opponents Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium, as we did beat them 2-1 despite being under the cosh for a lot of the match. I’m sure the boss would take that again when Luis Enrique and his treble winning side turn up in north London next Tuesday.
It was not really too difficult tp pick a Man of the Match from the Arsenal win over Burnley in the fourth round of the FA cup, despite some impressive performances from the likes of Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers, Alex Iwobi and the Ox because the star man Alexis Sanchez scored the winner and set up the opener as well as being the best player on the pitch.
When Alexis Sanchez limped off the pitch as Arsenal were held to a draw away to Norwich City at the end of November, a lot of Arsenal fans were left fearing for what might happen to our season without the Chile international. But as the Gunners managed a very good run of results in December without the star man, we might have become a bit blasè about what he brings to the team.
Arsenal were at times very close to our brilliant best against a hard working, determined and in form Burnley side. Despite Arsene Wenger making a whole host of changes to the Gunners starting line up, he was not taking this FA cup fourth round tie lightly and with a bit of luck we would have won it by a big margin.
When Arsenal beat Liverpool in the 1971 FA cup final thanks to a dramatic late winner from Charlie George it was our fourth victory in the world’s oldest football competition but it was also the first time the Gunners had managed a league and cup double.