Nottingham Forest v Arsenal
Sunday, Jan 07 – 16:00pm
Nottingham Forest have struggled to find top form in the Championship this season, leading to the sacking of manager Mark Warburton on New Year’s Eve. Forest drew 0-0 with Leeds United in their last league game, and have not won a match since the start of December. Caretaker manager Gary Brazil has some big decisions to make ahead of today’s FA Cup clash, and has been closely monitoring the fitness of striker Daryl Murphy – who missed the Leeds game after picking up a knock against Sunderland.
Arsene Wenger will begin his three-game touchline ban today, having been disciplined by the FA following his comments regarding referee Mike Dean. Arsenal drew 2-2 with Chelsea on Wednesday, and remain sixth in the Premier League table, causing fans to once again question Wenger’s leadership. Arsenal will be without midfielder Granit Xhaka today, who is out with a groin problem. Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, and Sead Kolasinac will also remain sidelined.
What the stats tell us:
- Nottingham Forest have only managed to win one of their last 14 meetings with Arsenal in all competitions (D4 L9) – losing 4-0 to the Gunners in the EFL Cup last season.
- Arsenal eliminated Forest from the FA Cup in both 1978/79 and 1992/93 – the Gunners won the tournament in each of those seasons.
- Nottingham Forest have managed to keep a clean sheet in eight of their last 12 home matches in the FA Cup.
- Arsene Wenger has never failed to progress beyond the third round of the FA Cup – the last time the Gunners were eliminated in Round 3 was back in 1995/96, losing to Sheffield United.
Nottingham Forest have a terrible record against Arsenal, but their players will have a huge point to prove following the recent sacking of Mark Warburton. Arsene Wenger will be tempted to heavily rotate his squad today, and we’re unlikely to see the likes of Lacazette, Sanchez, and Ozil grace the pitch. The Gunners have some notable injuries, but there’s no denying the talent they have in the ranks. This won’t be a straightforward win for Arsene Wenger’s side, but Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck have the skill and experience to handle this sort of cup clash. Arsenal to edge it.