It is not like Arsene Wenger to give much away, whether it is about his Arsenal transfer plans (assuming he actually has any of course) or whether it is about which Arsenal players are going to start any particular match. I do not blame the boss either, because you never know when a tactical or personnel surprise switch is going to unsettle the opposing team.
So I was a little surprised to see the Frenchman show his hand so early to his opposite number at Watford, making it very easy for Quique Sanchez Flores to prepare the Hornets for the quarter final at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow. For one thing he spoke about how seriously he takes this competition and insisted that he would not be thinking about the midweek Champions League game in Barcelona until after the Watford game, as an Arsenal.com report explains.
He said, “Is it fair or not [to say we are favourites for the FA Cup]? I don’t know. I look at the teams who are still in the competition and you could say the same to three or four as well. We have a chance like everyone else and we want to play as hard as we can to give ourselves a good chance to be successful.
“I haven’t given up on the Premier League at all and I’ve said that many times, nor the Champions League. We have to take care of the next minute and the next minute is an FA Cup game.
“Is it the best chance to win a trophy? It’s still far away. We must win the next game and prove that we can show consistency again. I don’t believe anyone in my side thinks about Barcelona at the moment, or Everton, they are completely focused on Watford.”
So he has already told Flores that he would not be making the usual raft of changes but playing something close to his strongest XI. He has also spoken about Giroud going on a goal run now that he has broke his drought and talked up our Egyptian international Mohamed Elneny.
So after revealing that he also had a full strength defence available bar Laurent Koscielny, the only positions that the Watford boss does not know the players are the wide forward ones and the number 10 playmaker spot. Is this giving too much away or is Wenger confident enough that a strong Arsenal side can beat Watford anyway?