It’s been too long since an Arsenal captain lifted the FA Cup. Two and a half years. We only made it to the fifth round last season, and the fourth round the season before that. We need to make a proper go of it again. This is our fucking competition. Five finals, four wins and two semi finals during Wenger’s reign. We have a squad probably better adapted for it this time. If we don’t want to play the main strikers in the cup, we have Eduardo and Bendtner rather than Baptista and Aliadiere these days. We have 45 central midfielders, to cover all eventualities. The third round this year sees us travelling north to Burnley, for a game we’ll certainly be favourites for. If we win this game, we’ll be involved in four cup games this month, so our squad players will certainly be involved frequently in January.Burnley currently find themselves twelfth in the Championship. They’ve only managed two wins out of thirteen home games all season. Their recent form is fairly dismal, drawing two and losing four of their last six games. Not that it really matters with a cup tie, but we’re not exactly facing the Championship’s in form side. We’ve played lower league opposition in the FA Cup seventeen times under Wenger, and triumphed every time. I expect Arsene will play a team strong enough to win the match, rather than have to worry about fitting a replay in somewhere.
Van Persie is out till possibly the Birmingham league game. Gilberto may return to the squad after illness, Walcott may have aggravated his shoulder injury too badly to be involved. We won’t know until the squad is announced really. Eboue, Toure and Song may still be involved before leaving for the ANC on Monday. Bendtner will most likely start in this game after serving his one match ban. Flamini won’t be involved after picking up his fifth yellow of the season against Everton. Fabregas and Clichy are rested, Adebayor and Hleb have picked up knocks and won’t travel.
Players like Denilson, Traore, Diarra etc will be involved in the squad. Don’t really know what sort of team Wenger will put out. Eduardo and Bendtner upfront is a near certainty, although if Walcott is passed fit he may push for a place. Eboue and Toure will probably give a last hurrah before sodding off for a month, Eboue should start on the right, and Toure will play alongside Gallas, Senderos or Djourou. Rosicky or Diaby on the left, Traore or Hoyte at left back, probably Denilson and Diarra in midfield. Lehmann will play in goal.