What a draw for the fifth round of the FA Cup. Sutton United must be totally jubilant, and Craig Eastmond will be absolutely delighted to get a crack at one or two of his old team mates. Roarie Deacon and Jeffrey Monakana are also former young guns in the squad.
If everybody but Santi Cazorla is still fit then a not too dissimilar line up to the one that got us past Southampton should get a chance to take us into the quarter-finals. Whoever plays on the 3G pitch will I’m sure be thoroughly prepared for what to expect.
More on that in the coming weeks. Tuesday night sees the visit of Watford who ended our FA Cup run last season. We have avenged that defeat though by winning the corresponding league fixture 4-0 towards the tail end of last season, before beating the Hornets 3-1 at Vicarage Road in August.
Those who missed out at Southampton are set to return, and the boss hinted strongly that Danny Welbeck might be held back while he completes his return to full fitness. Expect Petr Cech to start behind the back four of Hector Bellerin, Skhodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, and Nacho Monreal.
It is the pairing in front of them who will give Arsene the first of his selection headaches. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was outstanding in the 4-3-3 deployed at St Mary’s, and may have something to offer with his passing from deep if preferred to Aaron Ramsey. Can he do the defensive side of the job? It’s the doubt that could see the Welshman return with Francis Coquelin.
Our front men are in good form and someone other than Welbeck is set for disappointment. Theo Walcott and Alexis could flank Mesut Ozil, with Olivier Giroud returning up top. This set up gives us options but playing Alex Iwobi on the left and Alexis in the centre gives us pace, mobility, and trickery. Lucas will almost certainly find himself on the bench again as the other unlucky guy.
New signings M’Baye Niang and Mauro Zarate have the unenviable task of raising the spirits at Watford. Seven games without a league win, and they were dumped out of the FA Cup at Millwall on Sunday. They have an eight points cushion to the relegation zone but that is the direction in which they are heading right now.
The ‘holic pound
After the weekend we have had an extra day to recover and the spirits must be sky high in the squad right now. Watford’s defeat could have them less buoyant with one or two maybe playing while feeling rather leggy. Everything points to a comfortable win. The bookies favour 2-0 and 3-0. I want better odds than that and have taken the 25/1 against a 5-0 win. Now watch us go and draw!
I am off to the match and haven’t got a holiday on Wednesday so my take on the match isn’t likely to appear before Wednesday evening, by which time you will probably have covered it comprehensively in the drinks. Wherever you are watching or listening to it, have a great one ‘holics.