Sunday, 21 February 2016

Arsenal To Face Watford Next If They Can Overcome Hull

Despite failing to beat Hull on Saturday Arsenal are still in the FA Cup with their path to a Wembley semi final laid out before them. They will travel to Hull for the replay in a couple of weeks and will then play at home to Watford in the last eight if they overcome Hull. The draw has been very kind to them so far this season with four home games out of four and all of the other top dogs avoided.

Those draws have enabled Arsene Wenger to field reserve and fringe players so far in each game and it has worked to a degree. The wins over Sunderland and Burnley were a struggle at times, but Arsenal got the job done and deservedly so on each occasion. Saturday's draw with Hull was a different matter though and the result was exactky what both teams didn't want as they have had to add another game to an already busy schedule.

Arsenal made nine changes from their previous game on Saturday and Hull made 10. Arsenal dominated from start to finish, but they failed to find the net despite having 11 attempts on target. For their part Hull offered very little at the other end and never really looked like scoring except for their only real chance which came late in the game.

We can complain about the two penalties Arsenal should have had, but with Mike Dean in charge no more can be or should have been expected. At least he dished out a yellow card at the other end when a Hull player took a dive in the Arsenal box instead of the penalties he likes to give against us. To be fair to Hull they dug deep and defended very well and they probably deserved the draw for their defensive display.

The 11 shots on target would suggest Arsenal should have won though and rightly so, but a mixture of good goalkeeping and poor finishing conspired against them. It may have been almost a completely different team to the one which beat Leicester, but the same deficiencies in front of goal surfaced. Arsenal overcame those shortcomings last week, but on Saturday they failed to just like they have done far too often in recent weeks.

The replay in Hull will be put to the back of our minds for the moment though as there are more pressing matters to deal with. The first of them is the huge game at home to Barcelona on Tuesday night and it's followed by a trip to Old Trafford next Saturday. Only a week later there's the trip to Spurs with a home game against Swansea in between and wins are needed in all of those games.

For a team who are misfiring at the moment that's going to be no easy task, but it's certainly not beyond them. As good as Barcelona are they have their shortcomings too while United, Spurs and Swansea are all more than beatable at home or away. It's come to the stage of the season where it's almost make or break in every game and there's very little wriggle room left,

As important as winning the cup three years in a row might be the league has to be the number one priority and putting up a real fight against Barcelona is very important too. Despite having to travel to Hull for the replay Arsenal will still be favourites to go through no matter what team Hull play and move on to the game with Watford. The path to the semi final is very clear and it's one I think Arsenal will rise to even if they are taking the long way around.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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