By Bulldog Drummond
In an interesting snub against Arsenal, the Guardian refused today to publish a match preview of the FA Cup game tonight, on its web site. At least there was nothing there at 1630GMT. Following their lead the Independent has done the same. The Telegraph however is running
Is Arsene Wenger guilty of crimes against Arsenal?
I don’t think I have ever in my life seen such an outrageous headline in a national newspaper. Even though the article doesn’t make any reference to crimes, and when it looks at his alleged behaviour finds him “not guilty” (an interesting thought that a national newspaper could be prosecution, judge and jury) it is still appalling.
I mean it is all very well the two or three guys who write to us each day saying that we are deluded – that’s what you expect when running a blog (oh yes and they claim that no one else thinks like we do, which makes me wonder why they bother to abuse us so regularly), but for a national paper to publish such a headline…
Anyway changing to a historical theme, when we played Hull at Wembley our team included Mertesacker, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Ozil, and Giroud in the starting XI, all of whom are fit and available. Monreal and Flamini were on the bench, and could also play tonight.
Hull likewise have a fair number of players from that game still at the club, although relegation meant that they had a big clear out of players like Figueroa, Ince, Brady, Jelavic, N’Doye, Chester and Rosenior.
Hull play MK Dons at home on Saturday.
As with the first game, the issue of Chuba Akpom arises. The rules say that he could face Arsenal, but Arsenal have the right to refuse, which I think is what happened in the last game, and what will probably happen again for this match.
Their other star man is Abel Hernandez who has scored 16 league goals so far, but he may be rested for the league programme, which is obviously Hull’s priority. Jakupovic who played in goal last time to such effect will probably do so again. He made 11 saves in that game.
Steve Bruce said, “The priority is the league and where we want to get to. We want to be playing the Arsenals and the Chelseas every week. But there’s nothing quite like an FA Cup tie or FA Cup run. Once it gets to this stage there’s all to play for.
“There are a whole raft of teams playing in the Championship on Tuesday – there’s a full fixture list. If we manage to get through then we will have to move our game on Saturday too, so the fixtures just pile up and that is a bit of a concern.
“Thankfully we have got everybody fit. Some of the squad haven’t played since the first game against Arsenal so it will be good for them.”
As we saw in the last report, Steve Bruce and Arsene Wenger get on well, and there is a lot of mutual respect. Even when Sir FWord ordered the rest of the premier league managers to attack Wenger verbally day after day after day after day and have their players do so in post match interviewso, Steve Bruce declined to be part of that, and Mr Wenger has never forgotten that.
So onto our team. Kos and Cech are out injured along with all the regulars (Jack, Rosicky, Santi, and the Ox). Coquelin is suspended following the two card dismissal at the Tinies place on Saturday.
Mr Wenger said. “I will have to [make changes] but I’m not so much concerned about replacing one player with another one. It’s more that I have to rotate a little bit and keep the right balance in the team.”
Here are the odds and sods…
- We have won each of the last five trips to Hell in all competitions, scoring at least twice on each occasion.
- Alexis has scored five in six starts in the FA Cup. His first in the cup was against Hull in January 2015.
- Hull won the last FA Cup game with Arsenal in Hull… in 1908.
- We don’t play away from home very often in the Cup but we’ve won the last three and have never lost an away game to lower league teams in the FA Cup under Mr Wenger.
- Hull have not won any of their last 15 FA Cup games against top division teams when in the second or lower divisions.
- Arsenal have won 14 consecutive rounds of the FA Cup. The record is 16, which we created by getting to the semi-finals after the last time we won two finals in a row.
Let’s leave the last word to the boss.
“I worked for 35 years at the top level. What I find just boring is always sitting here after 19 years to face, ‘Do you think you are good enough?’ I don’t know. I am humble enough every day to question myself, to accept my mistakes and believe me I do that. After that, as well, there is no coincidence that the people who own the club tell me to be here for 19 years. Do you think they are more stupid than you or me?”
Chambers, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal
Campbell, Iwobi, Walcott,
Subs: Macey, Bellerin, Gibbs, Alexis, Giroud, Adelaide, Arteta
- To Hull and Back
- With video technology on the way accuracy levels in refereeing and Mike Riley’s odd numbers will come under scrutiny.
- It’s the hope that kills you
Betraying every fundamental principle of the Revolution of 1789 the French Assembly voted to continue with slavery in the colonies. 8 March 1970.
The insult of the day
- We hold our time too precious to be spent with such a brabbler. (King John)