Arsenal welcome Hull to the Emirates on Sunday for their FA Cup third round tie.
In what is a replay of the FA Cup final from May, Arsenal will surely be hoping for a more straight-forward win than they experienced at Wembley, but with so many players sidelined and Hull no doubt with a point to prove, it’s unlikely to be quite that simple.
Then again, when do Arsenal ever make anything ‘straightforward’.
Arsenal go in to the game with a number of injuries and Arsene Wenger unlikely to welcome many players back. Mathieu Flamini could be the only one to return from the players who missed out at Southampton.
There have been some rumours floating around that Mesut Ozil, who recently returned to training after his knee injury, could be included, but Wenger said
Who comes back? We have the 18 players [that played against Southampton] – nobody else will play.
That’s not quite 100% true as David Ospina will replace Wojciech Szczesny in goal and with Emi Martinez set to keep his place on the bench, the Pole will get the afternoon off to think about what he’s done.
The two keepers, Ospina and Martinez, will come in. After that, we will see. I cannot rotate too much either because we need stability.
At least we play at home after the Christmas period. That’s not bad, because you play on December 26, 28 and on New Year’s Day.
At the moment, we have a decimated squad, so that means everybody will have to contribute very well and a lot. The fact that you play at home can be an advantage.
Danny Welbeck is expected to miss out again with his thigh injury while Olivier Giroud serves the final game of his three-match ban for being an idiot. With Lukas Podolski already in Italy, could Joel Campbell get the nod to start?
Hull themselves have a number of injury problems ahead of the game with manager Steve Bruce not a big fan of the hectic festive fixture list.
Bruce told reporters
The disappointing thing was we’ve lost three or four players through the ridiculous programme over Christmas.
The travelling and everything involved with it is total nonsense. We’ve lost three more arguably to fatigue. (Liam) Rosenior has a hamstring, (Andy) Robertson needs an ankle X-ray and Gaston Ramirez hurt his groin.
As well as that, Abel Hernandez is physically exhausted.