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FA Cup Preview: Stoke(a)

Stoke City

Britannia Stadium



After two highly contested physical battles against Bolton Wanderers, Arsenal limp into the fourth round of the FA Cup. Some people will be disappointed if Wenger resorts to a Carling Cup squad, but I'll be disappointed if any of our starters show up on the initial team sheet. Wenger will surely be called a hypocrite, but no one has the upcoming schedule that we do.

Vital Quotes:

Here is Wenger's pre-match squad news: "We have called up Kyle Bartley, Jay Emmanuel Thomas, Francis Coquelin, Gilles Sunu, and Craig Eastmond.'

"Sol will be OK to play [after regaining fitness] but, right now, I don`t know if I play him. However it is a big opportunity for him if he does. I have to make a decision at right back too. Eastmond is possible. We moved him from there to central midfield in the past, so we`ll see. But Coquelin can play right back as well. I want to pick a team which is strong enough to win the game, without ignoring we are under immense physical demands in every single game right now and the fact some players need to have a breather."

Stoke City Team News:

Unlike Arsenal, Stoke have a full-strength squad available as Abdoulaye Faye and Rory Delap have recovered in time for this weekend's match. Thomas Sorenson will continue in goal for Pulis.

Player to watch: Rory Delap

He killed us with his long throws last season. It will be interesting to see how Fabianski deals with the problem.

Arsenal Team News:

See above as Wenger pretty much gives away the team. Silvestre and Campbell will start at the back, while Vela, Walcott, and Wilshere will get to have a go as well.

Predicted Starting Lineup: Fabianski, Coquelin, Campbell, Silvestre, Traore, Eastmond, Jay Emmanuel Thomas, Wilshere, Walcott, Vela, Sunu

Player to watch: Jay Emmanuel Thomas

I've been looking forward to seeing JET in the first team for a while now. He's a big strong lad, and we'll need him to match Stoke's physicality in the midfield.

Ref Watch:

Martin Atkinson is the head official.

Match Prediction:

Once the lineups are announced, Stoke will be the obvious favourites. I think Stoke will end up capitalizing on our weakened lineup, but if they take the kids lightly, the home side could be in for a rude awakening. Stoke 2-1 Arsenal

Next Fixtures:

27/1 (Wed) - Aston Villa (a) - Premier League

31/1 (Sun) - Manchester United (h) - Premier League

7/2 (Sun) - Chelsea (a) - Premier League

10/2 (Wed) - Liverpool (h) - Premier League

Writer:Brice Coffer
Date:Sunday January 24 2010
Time: 2:48AM


With the fixtures coming up and our posistion in the premier league. I'm happy to risk going out in the 4th round.
24/01/2010 06:39:00
Quite right to play the youngsters. They aren't the force away from home that can be at the Emirates and I suspect that will be the telling factor today. It's a knockout competition and success in it is dependant on the luck of the draw. Right now our squad just isn't in the shape to commit sparse resources to winning this one. They'll give it a go though.
24/01/2010 08:56:00
I'd actually be very excited about this line-up. Would love to see those younglings play (Silvestre and Sol aside :P). Nothing to lose and just enjoy an arsenal... how long has that been? :-) If the kids pull this off, we're really in an awesome position to see them again as the next FA game is right between Liverpool and Porto. So they should be motivated that they can obviously create further success for themselves in the long run but also in the short run.
24/01/2010 12:19:00
Well Fabregas and Denilson instead of Wilshire and Sunu it seems... 9/11, thats a fairly good prediction :P
24/01/2010 13:09:00
Not sure about Fabregas starting. He must have told Wenger he was 100%.
24/01/2010 13:24:00
haha,oh wow
24/01/2010 13:33:00
I will think Stoke will be in for a rude awakening, youthful side or not. This is the Arsenal v Stoke City, for crying out loud; they should be worried about us. My only concern is the CB pairing of Sol and Silvestre; too slow. Still, the game is good for Sol's fitness.
24/01/2010 13:58:00
What happened?! Just got home and we're chasing the game.
24/01/2010 13:59:00
24/01/2010 14:13:00
Hehehe not sure about the handball in the first place. But such a well-worked goal from Cesc and Den!!! :D
24/01/2010 14:19:00
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