FA Cup Fourth Round, Monday, 8pm, BT Sport 1
“After you win, you don’t want to stop winning. You become addicts to that and that’s what we have to try to implement at this football club.” – Mikel Arteta
Arsenal fielded a very strong side in their fifth-round tie against Leeds, with Reiss Nelson and Rob Holding the only two in the XI who hadn’t been starting regularly. A
It shows that new manager Mikel Arteta wants to win trophies to build unity in the team and foster a culture of winning. And in the league, they are six places and 10 points off the top four- and any price to win it at this point – so we should expect the Spaniard to prioritise the cups and play a strong team on Monday night. the starting XI won’t look out of place in the Premier League.
The Gunners will find themselves without David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang due to red card suspensions. We can expect Hector Bellerin to be given a rest as he is eased back into the squad after injury, and that means Ainsley Maitland-Niles will come back into the squad with Bukayo Saka playing left-back.
These two paired with Martinelli and Pepe on the wings will give plenty of width so Alex Lacazette will be well-serviced with crosses from the wings. But there’ll be lots of shots from the wingers cutting inside too. Mesut Ozil has looked rejuvenated under Arteta as well, and with him sat in at 10 behind these three, I could see him getting on the end of a rebound and slotting one home at 7/2.
The Cherries’ last five FA Cup results were a home win over Luton, home loss to Brighton, away loss to Wigan, home draw with Wigan, and away loss to Millwall.
It’s not unfair to think they don’t give a toss about it.
They rested players in their last FA cup fixture, which was fair because they had a tonne of injuries already and they were 13/10 to be relegated at the time. Three weeks later and they still have a bucket load of injuries and they’ve have shortened to 10/11 to be relegated.
Eddie Howe knows this, the player’s know this, and it goes without saying that the priority on Monday will be to avoid injuries. So the best players will be rested and the first-teamers who do play will only give 80-90%, rightly or wrongly saving themselves for the relegation battle that lies ahead.
The Cherries are still missing Josh King, Jack Stacey, David Brooks and Chris Mepham. I expect Andrew Surman to come in for Jefferson Lerma in midfield, and Nathan Ake and Simon Francis to be rested for Jack Simpson and Steve Cook at centre back, with Sam Surridge coming in for Solanke, and Lloyd Kelly replacing Smith at right-back.
Arsenal (5/6) are the team to back because they’re the only ones who want to win this match. However, they’ve just one clean sheet in their last 11 away from the Emirates, and have drawn eight of their last 10 games on their travels, so I’d look to get a bit more value by taking them in the Result & Both Teams to Score market at
You can put Ozil, Both Teams to Score and Arsenal to win together in a Same Game Multi for 17/2 punt as well if you fancy all three.
*All odds correct at time of publication