Arsene Wenger has updated the Arsenal fans with some team news ahead of the Gunners 5th round tie against Middlesbrough on Sunday.
The game kicks-off at 4pm at the Emirates and we will be covering the game live on this website and on our Twitter feed, @Fresh_Arsenal. During the game we might see the Gabriel Paulista play in an Arsenal shirt for the first time. Wenger said in his press conference:
“[Gabriel is] a player who has the ability and likes to defend – it’s more and more difficult to find people like that,” Wenger said. “He’s a player who has good qualities – he has good pace, he’s good in the air and is good in one against ones.
Wenger has hinted he will not make too many changes ahead of the game, with the Frenchman keen to retain the FA Cup.
“This is a period where you need more from your players than usual, because it’s the last four months of the season. You need everybody to give a bit more than they’re used to.
“[The squad will] not [be rotated] especially because it’s the FA Cup. Some players will play who have not played recently, but we treat this game exactly the same as a Premier League game.”
After Alexis Sanchez picked up a knock on Tuesday, Arsenal fans were very worried he had picked up a long term injury. Wenger has eased concerns on that, suggesting that he is a ‘doubt’ for the Middlesbrough game but will almost certainly be back for next weeks trip to Crystal Palace. If passed fit, he’ll probably make the bench against Middlesbrough.
Wenger also confirmed that Woijech Szczesny would start against Middlesbrough, a game which will give him a chance to win back his first team spot. The Polish keeper has been displaced by Colombian teammate David Ospina since his poor showing against Southampton at the start of January. Wenger has talked up how well Szczesny has responded to being dropped, hinting that a good performance against Middlesbrough might see him keep his place.
I think we might see the likes of Calum Chambers, Mathieu Flamini, Kieran Gibbs, Danny Welbeck and of course Szczesny and Gabriel come in. That’s what I hope anyway, I’m not too keen to see Flamini back in the side, but we can’t risk Francis Coquelin picking up a long term injury from overuse.
Let me know how you think Arsenal should line-up by commenting below.