15th February; 15 45 GMT
FA Cup holders Arsenal face a stiff competition from Middlesbrough as Arsene Wenger looks to retain their trophy this season. Middlesbrough put forward a convincing display against last seasona s English champions Manchester City to set up a date with Arsenal in the 5th round of the FA Cup.
Arsenal havena t been on their best lately. They lost to Tottenham Hotspur and then just managed to win against Leicester City and will be guarded against Middlesbrough who have a reputation of upsetting the big ones in the FA Cup.
Though Jack Wilshere has returned to training following his spell on the sidelines, Arsenal will miss the services of Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Debuchy and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. New signing Gabriel is expected to make his debut for Arsenal in the defence and is likely to partner Koscielny in the defence. Arsene Wenger has a tough call to make regarding his goal-keeper and is likely to opt for Szczesny over David Ospina.
All eyes will be on Mesut Ozil who has been on a brilliant run since returning from his injury. The German international looks like he is finally getting back to his best and will be expected to set up a good partnership with Giroud and Welbeck. Theo Walcott is also expected to start for Arsenal and his pace, combined with that of Welbeck on the opposite flank, will terrorize the Middlesbrough defence.
Expected Starting Eleven: Szczesny (GK); Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs, Bellerin; Cazorla, Coquelin, Welbeck, Walcott, Ozil; Giroud
Middlesbrough made their intentions clear in the FA Cup after knocking out Manuel Pellegrinia s side in the previous round. Karanka has done a good job since taking over as the manager at the club and will look to upset Arsenal as the two go head to head in the FA Cup. Karankaa s side has had a few good results on the run and will be looking to carry that form as they face Arsenal at the Emirates. With Daniel Ayala out for the Cup tie, Karanka is expected to go with Gibson and Woodgate in the defence coupled with Friend and Whitehead on the flanks. Grant Leadbitter and Adam Clayton are likely to start in the midfield with Adomah and Adam Reach on the wings. Lee Tomlin is likely to start right behind Patrick Bamford who has been Middlesbrougha s highest goal-scorer this season.
George Friend and Dean Whitehead will be tasked with the responsibility to keep the likes of Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck in check while Patrick Bamford and Lee Tomlin seek to stretch the Arsenal defence and test the keeper. Middlesbrough will expect to soak in the early pressure from Arsene Wengera s side and look to catch them on the break.
Expected Starting Eleven: Konstantopoulos (GK), Woodgate, Gibson, Whitehead, Friend; Clayton, Leadbitter, Tomlin, Adomah, Reach; Bamford
Arsenal 2-1 Middlesbrough
Player To Watch Out For
Back from his injury, Mesut Ozil is definitely the player to watch out for as Arsenal take on Middlesbrough in the FA Cup tie. The German international has had a troubled stay in the English capital but looks set to bury the ghosts of the past with a rejuvenated performance post his injury.
Blast From The Past