There was once a time when Coventry were regarded as an established Premier League side, although there’s no doubt that they will be approaching this FA Cup encounter as firm underdogs on Friday evening. The Sky Blues have dropped like a stone over recent campaigns and the fact that they currently reside in League One means that top flight leaders Arsenal will be especially confident.
For a lot of seasons, the FA Cup has been a competition held in the highest regard by Arsenal and their fans. While they have not won the event in many a year, the fact that they have rarely been labelled as serious title contenders meant that a lot of emphasis was always placed on domestic cups. This time around, it remains to be seen how they will approach it. They lead the top flight by just one point and one would have to suggest that the Cup has taken a backseat this term. Nevertheless, in a bid to put an end to their trophyless era, Arsene Wenger will still most likely take the game seriously and hope to add to their six game winning run.
Their opponents meanwhile don’t really have any concerns in the league. Steven Pressley’s side now sit in 11th place, ten points away from the playoffs in League One, although the fact that they incurred a ten point deduction at the start of the season highlights that their position is somewhat false. Nevertheless, this game prompts the perfect opportunity to inject some much-needed money into the coffers and Pressley’s men will be looking to make another scalp after taking out Championship side Barnsley in the last round. That victory has contributed to a six game unbeaten run and having also not lost in their last three on the road, it would be fair to say that confidence amongst the Midlands outfit must be reasonable ahead of this daunting trip to the Emirates Stadium.
In terms of team news, Arsenal are expected to name Nicholas Bendtner in their squad after the Dane recovered from a sprained ankle. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another man who could return from injury, although that’s all there is for good news with Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky all set to miss out through fitness problems. Coventry on the other hand have been dealt a blow this week after top scorer Leon Clarke handed in a transfer request. However, despite his efforts to move, he is tipped to start for the visitors. In other news, Callum Wilson will not feature due to a shoulder problem.
As for a prediction, we don’t foresee any sort of cup upset in this clash. Coventry won’t make life easy for the Premier League leaders but with Arsenal holding the home advantage, our tip is going to be a comfortable 3-0 win for Arsene Wenger’s side.