Championship side Hull once again take on Premier League Arsenal with a place in the last 8 up for grabs in their FA Cup replay at the KC Stadium (KO 19:00).
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Title chasing Arsenal are again likely to make changes when they travel to the Kingston Communication Stadium to face Hull in their fifth round FA cup replay.
Despite failing to win any of their last five games in all competitions, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is set to give some fringe players a chance to shine.
The Frenchman has added Alex Iwobi to the squad while the likes of Calum Chambers, Mathieu Flamini, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud are expected to start.
Francis Coquelin is suspended following his red card against Spurs in the weekend’s 2-2 all draw. The defensive midfielder is likely to be replaced by Flamini while Jack Wilshere (leg), Tomas Rosicky (thigh), Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (both knee), Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny (both calf), are all still missing.
When the Gunners entered the first tie they were in a good run of form, however since then they have lost 2-0 to Barcelona at home in the Champions League, to all but end their European hopes while defeats to Manchester United and Swansea, in addition to the draw with Spurs, means the London side are 8 points off leaders Leicester City in the Premier League.
The change in circumstances means that the FA cup has re-acquired a level of significance for Wenger and his men. The back to back winners are aiming to emulate The Wanderers (1876-1878) and Blackburn Rovers (1884-1886) and win the cup three times in a row, something the veteran manager would love to achieve.
“If we were able to do it again, it would be absolutely fantastic,” said Wenger. “There’s no country where the national cup is bigger. In Spain and France it’s a fantastic prestigious competition as well. Nobody neglects it: not Barcelona, not Madrid. Everybody plays for it 100 per cent, with a top team always.”
Hull meanwhile have a fully-fit squad to choose from and are set to give midfielders Shaun Maloney and Nick Powell rare starts.
Predictably, the Gunners are heavy favourites to progress in the competition, although their price of 4/6 does not exactly leap off the coupon.
Steve Bruce’s side have proved a difficult side to beat at home this season, and although they do face Premier League opposition they appear to be underestimated, having lost only once at the KC Stadium this season.
5/1 on the home win does look value considering the changes that Arsene Wenger is likely to make – if we keep in mind Hull kept a clean sheet at the Emirates it may prove fruitful to back Steve Bruce’s side with a goal head start at 5/4.
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