Arsene Wenger had this to say when asked about tonight’s game during his pre-match conference yesterday:
“It’s a special occasion, a special trophy and in every single country, everybody dies to win the cup. I believe it’s still the same in England. Maybe in the past it was even more important because the European Cup wasn’t as important, but it’s a special occasion for me”
Arsenal take on Preston North End at the Deepdale Stadium today night. This is expected to be a walk in the park for the Gunners, as Preston sit 11th with 36 points currently on the championship table which makes for an easy opponent right?
Preston North End FC is a very physical side with players like Ben Pearson, Jordan Hugill, and Greg Cunningham to list a few who are very key to the side.
B. Pearson has notoriety for accumulating yellow cards (8), Jordan Hugill, on the other hand, is a fiery striker with as many yellow cards as goals this season (5). G.Cunningham is rather popular in the side for his ability to provide a final ball with (6) assists to his name so far.
As history has clearly shown, The Gunners have a challenge expressing themselves freely against sides setup with physical mentalities as Preston NE irrespective of the competition.
Games against teams like Bolton under Sam Allardyce and Stoke City under Tony Pulis quickly come rushing into the mind. Hard tackles and long balls will be deployed mostly by Simon Grayson’s side.
With strikers like Paul Gallagher, Jemaine Beckford, and Jordan Hugill, the center back pairing for the North London club today have to be quite formidable in aerial battles.
Given it is a cup fixture, I reckon Arsene Wenger will be keen on providing game time to players who aren’t regulars in the starting line-up. As prudent as that is, it will be unproductive to field a side unequipped to handle an opponent like Preston NE.
Players such as G. Paulista, Holding, Niles and even Lucas Perez should get the nod. Considering we have Swansea as our next opponents in the Premier League, players like Sanchez, Koscielny, Cech and Ramsey should be given a rest.
I will expect Mustafi to be paired with Holding to mitigate against aerial attacks which should be expected every time they attack. Having seen Arsenal’s new boy (Bramall) train with the first team instead of the under-23 squad, I will not be surprised to see him on the bench or even feature in place of N.Monreal who needs rest too.
My predicted line-up for today’s game is as follows:
GOALKEEPER: David Ospina
DEFENDERS: Bellerin(RB), Holding(RCB), Mustafi(LCB), Bramall(LB)
MIDFIELDERS: Xhaka(DM), Niles(CM), J.F Adelaide(CAM),Oxlade-Chamberlain(RM), Lucas Perez(LW)
Emirates FA Cup Third Round: 0-3 Preston North End vs Arsenal
Feel free to share your stating lineup on the comments section.
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