Arsenal vs Coventry: A Chance For Fringe Players to Shine?
Although Arsenal’s main priority this season will be the Premier League title, a good run in the FA Cup, where they’re listed as one of the favourites at Complete Betting, looks highly possible and would also serve as an added bonus for Arsene Wenger’s men.
After dispatching North London rivals Tottenham 2-0 in the third round, the Gunners now host League One side Coventry at the Emirates Stadium on Friday night.
With fixtures set to come thick and fast, Wenger may well look to shake up his pack and give some young stars and fringe players a chance to play, with the hosts expected to be too good for their Football League opponents.
The likes of Serge Gnabry, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will more than likely be involved, with mainstays such as Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and Per Mertesacker potentially given the chance to rest.
The Gunners have a midweek Premier League clash with Southampton to play, travelling to St Mary’s in what is sure to be a tough test. As such, the French manager may well wrap some of his stars in cotton-wool ahead of the trip to the south coast.
The North London side have a perfect record so far in 2014, and have won their last six games on the trot in all competitions, only conceding two goals in the process.
Arsenal’s last piece of silverware was the FA Cup back in 2005, and with the club so desperate to end the drought, will look to progress here and keep the opportunity to win the trophy for the 11th time alive.
Arsenal will look to take Coventry seriously, but the visitors will need to play out of their skins to cause a major FA Cup shock. Steven Pressley’s men sit in 11th position on the League One table, and are unbeaten in their last six games. One of these fixtures included a 2-1 away win over Championship side Barnsley in the last round of the cup.
Strikers Leon Clarke and Callum Wilson have been relatively free-scoring this season for the City of Coventry Stadium outfit, but it will be at the other end of the pitch that the visitors must apply stellar efforts.
Arsenal will certainly go into the game as favourites and have the firepower to keep their recent excellent run going here. The Gunners will want to be ruthless and avoid the extra fixture of a replay, and anything other than a home win here would be a major surprise.
Programming alert: For viewers in the United States, Arsenal vs Coventry in the FA Cup will be shown on Friday at 2:45pm ET on FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes and FOX Soccer 2Go
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