We all know that Middlesbrough are currently are on a great run of form right now under Aitor Karanka, and Arsenal fans are obviously a little bit wary going into today’s Fifth Round FA Cup tie, but when you look into Arsene Wenger’s record in this competition you should not be in the slightest bit worried.
To start with Wenger has won the FA Cup five times in his 18 years with the club and that record has only been equalled by Sir Alex Ferguson in the modern era.
In that 18 years of Wenger’s reign, Arsenal have only lost ONE game ever to a team in the lower Leagues, and that game was a 1-0 defeat at the Emirates to Blackburn in 2013, which is also the only home FA Cup game Arsenal have lost in their last FORTY matches, which is a seriously impressive statistic.
Another fact is that Arsenal have lost just ONE home game to Middlesbrough since 1939 (That is 76 years!) and that was a Premier League game in 2001.
As Karanka says, Arsenal will not be surprised by Middlesbrough, as Manchester City may have been, so the Gunners will have had ample time to prepare tactically for their threats. He said: “With the result at Manchester City in the last round, people are getting to know about us,”
“We’ve also gone top of the Championship as well, so I don’t think there will be any surprises for Arsenal on Sunday.
“Arsenal will of course pose a threat, but we can cause them problems when they don’t have the ball. The problem for us is how to keep the ball.
Wenger also agreed that we would be well-prepared. “We won’t be surprised by them. We don’t have the excuse to be surprised as they beat Manchester City in a convincing way,” Wenger said.
“That is a good warning for us. Boro are not afraid to take on the big boys. They are well organised, play good football and they are very creative.
“The squad will not be rotated especially because it’s the FA Cup. Some players will play who have not played recently, but we treat this game exactly the same as a Premier League game.”
So we will be ready for Boro when they come out on the pitch. Wenger has the players and the tactics to make sure Arsenal do the job, and history definitely points to an Arsenal victory! So if Middlesbrough DO pull off a shock today it really will be a MAJOR shock!