Arsenal and Aston Villa face each other for the tenth time in FA Cup history at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. The Gunners are desperate to snap a three game losing streak, whereas Villa are looking to upset the odds with a win in this fourth round tie.
Arsene Wenger’s side won the competition in 2005, but have failed to register a trophy since that win over Manchester United in Cardiff and Gunners fans are becoming restless. Arsenal got the better of Leeds United thanks to a solitary goal from Thierry Henry on his second return to North London. Henry is expected to shrug off a calf problem to play against Villa and will be joined back in the squad by Mikel Arteta after they missed last weekend’s loss to Manchester United. Robin van Persie is expected to lead the attack once again and has called for Gunners fans to get back behind the side and help them into the fifth round of the competition. Bacary Sagna could be in the squad after successfully recovering from a broken leg suffered in October against Tottenham.
Villa have a good history in the competition, having won the FA Cup seven times, and will be looking to get to the final for the first time since 2000, where they lost to Chelsea. Alex McLeish’s side overcame Bristol Rovers in the last round with a 3-1 win at the Memorial Stadium and one of the scorers that day, Gabriel Agbonlahor, is back after sickness. The Vila striker had to be substituted at half-time in last weekend’s win over Wolves, but is fully fit and should start. Robbie Keane could be in line for selection also after two stunning goals at Molineux and his loan move has been superb for Villa so far. Emile Heskey and Stephen Ireland are back in contention, but Charles N’Zogbia is still ruled out with a heel problem.
The Gunners are expected to win at home and the players will take heart from their good performance against United last weekend. Villa are looking to win the FA Cup this term, but face difficulty against a rejuvenated Arsenal who will be desperate to stop their slide of three successive defeats. Arsenal should come through unscathed and progress to the fifth round.
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