Arsenal Visits Brighton in the FA Cup: 4th Round Match Preview
The visit to Amex Stadium will be difficult, no doubt about it. And with another trophy at stake, expect manager Arsene Wenger to select a strong starting XI.
The Gunners will be going into the match with a little bit of momentum and positivity—things that haven't been present in large quantities this season—which will give fans of the cannon some hope. Because of that, it will be a thrilling game.
With that in mind, here are five reasons why you should watch Arsenal take on Brighton.
How Will Arsenal Come out Against a Lower-Tier Side?
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The last time Arsenal traveled to a lower-tier side led to disastrous results.
Bradford City hosted the Gunners December 11 in what would end up as an embarrassing loss for Arsenal in the quarterfinal of the Capital One Cup. Bradford has since then upset Aston Villa in the semifinal and is now in the final against Swansea City at Wembley Stadium.
That was the low of the season for the Gunners.
Brighton is from the Championship, and considering that we know Arsenal has had trouble with lower-division sides this season, we should expect a tense match. If there's one thing for sure, Brighton will not be underestimated.
Will the memory of December 11 be in the back of the players' minds? Only time will tell.
How Will Lukas Podolski Follow Up His Performance Against West Ham?
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Lukas Podolski has arguably his best game in an Arsenal shirt against West Ham with a goal and three assists. He simply looked dangerous from the start to the time he was substituted off the pitch.
What will he do for his encore performance? For Arsenal to be at its best, Podolski needs to be in top form.
What we certainly don't want to see is a vanishing act from the German. He's had the tendency to do that this season, so let's hope for a performance full of confidence and energy like last week.
Will the First Half Continue to Be a Problem?
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Arsenal has this annoying habit of starting the opening half slowly. The club has been putting itself in danger of losing the game in the opening half recently, and it has to stop.
The Gunners were victim to yet another sluggish start on Wednesday when they allowed Jack Collison too much time before he scored the first goal of the match. Granted, Podolski and company answered straight away, but it was still unacceptable.
Considering this is an opportunity to advance closer to a trophy, Arsenal needs to start quickly and extinguish any hope Brighton might have of winning the game.
Abou Diaby Is Getting His Groove Back
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After missing three months earlier this season due to injury, Abou Diaby is starting to get back into the thick of things. And for Arsenal, that's great news.
Wenger rested Diaby for the West Ham game, probably because he had thoughts of playing him against Brighton. With more fitness and comfort with the rest of his teammates, Diaby is a huge asset. His attacking runs and work are the midfield is absolute class. That is, of course, when he's healthy.
But when he's not in form, Diaby has been known to make some real boneheaded decisions.
The biggest question here is: Will Brighton be able to contain Diaby?
Who's the Captain?
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Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen was forced to exit the West Ham game after sustaining an apparent ankle injury. When he went to the sideline, he gave the captain's armband to Jack Wilshere.
Wenger revealed he did not tell Vermaelen to give it up (via Arsenal.com). The Belgian gave it up voluntarily.
So will this create a controversy? If Vermaelen does play tomorrow, will he be captain? Or will Wishere sport the armband?
But if Vermaelen doesn't play and Wilshere is given the armband again, how will the team play? I have a feeling there will be some truly inspired football if he does get the nod. But that's just me.