Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hinted Danny Welbeck could make his first start for the club in 10 months in Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Hull City, while goalkeeper Petr Cech "potentially won't be involved."
Wenger's team selection for Saturday's home clash is likely to see several key changes, with the manager suggesting Welbeck is in line to make his return to the starting XI, per the Mirror's Joe Mewis: “I haven’t completely decided yet.”
According to the official Arsenal Twitter account, Wenger will also rest No. 1 Petr Cech after insisting "Ospina plays in the FA Cup," a change which some fans may not agree with.
Welbeck came on late to score the winner in last Sunday's 2-1 home win over Leicester City, and Wenger voiced his support of the Englishman after a long battle with fitness:
Arsenal FC @Arsenal
Boss on Welbeck: "I think he became a stronger man after what happened. He is back to his best." WATCH LIVE: https://t.co/fh4Fyeou4V2/19/2016, 9:17:24 AM
Welbeck's last Arsenal start also came in the FA Cup, when he featured in last season's 2-1 extra-time semi-final win over Reading, and his coach looks ready to once again place his faith in the England striker.
Wenger was also quizzed on his thoughts when it came to the Football Association potentially ending replays in the competition and voiced support to see the format remain as it is, per James Olley of the London Evening Standard:
James Olley @JamesOlley
Wenger on cup replays: "I'm vaccinated by FA rules after a long time here so I've become conservatively English. I'm nervous about changes."2/19/2016, 9:12:27 AM
Arsenal came up against Saturday opponents Hull in the third round of last season's tournament, beating the Tigers 2-0 before eventually claiming their second successive FA Cup crown.
The Gunners may be tempted to pin their focus on next Tuesday's Champions League round-of-16 first-leg fixture against Barcelona, but Wenger insisted Hull remains the priority: “The best way to prepare for Barcelona is to beat Hull tomorrow.”
It also recently emerged that Manchester United made a bid to loan right-back Mathieu Debuchy before the France international moved to Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux on a six-month deal in January.
According to Olley, Wenger described it as a "logical" move to block the Red Devils from signing the defender and shunning the chance to potentially strengthen a direct rival.
The Gunners come into Saturday's cup clash having lost just once in their previous 10 matches, a 1-0 defeat at home to Chelsea in January.
Wenger's side remain in with a shot of winning a European and domestic treble this season, and their chances of clinching a third consecutive FA Cup will rest with a raft of less familiar faces on Saturday.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!