FA Cup Preview: Will Arsenal avenge Liverpool loss? City v. Chelsea, Wigan continue defense, more

IMAGE, LIVERPOOL TWITTER

BY MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

Liverpool have been soaring of late and that was on full display when they hosted Arsenal at Anfield last weekend in a 5-1 thrashing. Although the Gunners will be the home side in this FA Cup clash, Liverpool will look to repeat their result and advance to the next round.

For Arsenal, the FA Cup was the last major trophy the club won and possibly poses the best chance to end that drought. Arsene Wenger likes to add youth to his cup squads and won’t be any different — despite their most recent result.

A player who will be worth a look if he gets the start is Serge Gnabry. The young German has shown in other performances for the Gunners his precocious talent. He also adds an element Arsenal will need that was lacking last weekend — pace.

A win for Arsenal could go a long way psychologically after suffering a big defeat at Anfield, adding a big boost in confidence for the squad amidst a tough fixture list.

The Reds need to forget the fact they are playing visitor here. Brendan Rodgers has his tactics spot on and may opt to trot out a similar squad in order to advance to the next round.

As the result last weekend showed, shocking outcomes can always occur. However, this week should be a bit closer than their previous scoresheet.

What To Look For:

1. Manchester City, Chelsea In Another Clash Of Top Teams – It will be interesting to see how both managers set their teams up in this clash of Premier League big boys. Will two very strong sides turn out, or will it be a game that features reserves? While both clubs will certainly want a trophy to add to their cabinets, how much focus will be put on this one with the Prem and Champions League glory still to be had?

The onus in this one may fall on City who went to the final last year, falling 1-0 to Wigan Athletic. Although it isn’t Roberto Mancini this time, Manuel Pellegrini may view a FA Cup trophy as a priority to endear himself to the City faithful after last year’s failure

Either way, it should be a great game against two of the best sides in England.

2. Wigan Looks To Take Another Step Towards Cup Defense– Wigan Athletic made an improbable run last year en route to winning the FA Cup, becoming the first club to win the tournament and be relegated in the same season.

They face Cardiff, who are in relegation troubles of their own.

For Cardiff, they will not want to go the way of Wigan and be relegated at the end of this season. They may not put out a fully strengthened squad with eyes on Premier League survival. However, it would be interesting if Wigan, so to speak, ‘passed the torch’ and Cardiff followed in the Championship club’s footsteps. Of course, that scenario isn’t likely.

3. Everton, Swansea Should Present Similar PhilosophiesRoberto Martinez was at one time Swansea’s manager and Garry Monk, the club’s current manager, played for him. What that means is that both clubs may bring similar philosophies when they square off at Goodison Park.

For fans of the game, it is a positive. Both sides should look to play a possession style and look to hit on quick counters when they don’t have the ball. There shouldn’t be too much long-ball type soccer played in this one — and that always is a welcoming sign.

4. Americans Out Injured– For those hoping to catch Americans Abroad this weekend in the FA Cup, you may be disappointed. Eric Lichaj and Oguchi Oneywu will both miss out of their respective clubs fixtures through injuries. Lichaj’s Nottingham Forest will travel to Sheffield United while Oneywu’s Sheffield Wednesday plays host to Charlton Athletic. One American that could be featured is Jozy Altidore. His search for goals will continue in a tournament ripe for production. The Black Cats face off against Southampton.