This weekend kicks off the start of the FA Cup where the big guns come in and Sunday sees the “TFF derby” between Championship side Nottingham Forest, and Premier League giants, and cup holders, Arsenal.
The previous meeting between these two sides was in last season’s EFL Cup. Two goals from Lucas Perez, plus one from Granit Xhaka and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain saw Arsenal advance to the next round at City Ground. Could revenge be in store for the East Midlands outfit?
Following the sacking of Mark Warburton, Gary Brazil takes temporary charge at City Ground.
Striker Daryl Murphy is the only injury doubt in the squad, having been substituted during the home loss to Sunderland last weekend.
Brazil chose Ben Brenton as a central striker ahead of the match against Leeds United, but Tyler Walker can also be utilised in that position.
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he’ll rotate a little bit due to the fact that its a “very high loaded period”.
The likes of Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey are ruled out of this fixture due to hamstring injuries. Granit Xhaka is also ruled out with a groin injury suffered on Friday morning. Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal (both ankle) are also unavailable for this tie.
However, there is some good news as Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, and Danny Welbeck are all injury free – which means they could start.
Wenger is set to start a three-match touchline ban following some “choice” words with officials following the draw at West Brom. Whether that may play into the hands of Nottingham Forest or not, I don’t know.
I expect the home side to make it as difficult as possible as I like seeing a proper challenge. As ever, I wouldn’t predict the score, so I’d leave that to you.
Feature image credit: Andy Jamieson