It is make-or-break time for Arsenal on Saturday as they take on holders Wigan Athletic in the first of the weekend’s FA Cup semi-finals.
With all of their rivals towards the top of the Premier League, Arsenal will have very few excuses if they fail to win the competition from here. All the pressure will be on the Gunners now after a horrendous run of form which has left their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League under some doubt.
It is now back to basics for under-pressure manager Arsene Wenger, who has not seen his side win since March 16. At Wembley against a Championship side, Arsenal will be expected to have plenty of the ball, but they will need to take full advantage of that, and create more chances for the likes of Olivier Giroud, who has cut a frustrated figure in recent times.
Wigan have shown that they are very capable of pulling off an upset here, having stunned Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the quarter-finals. Manager Uwe Rosler has studied predecessor Roberto Martinez considerably, and the German will be hoping to unsettle Arsenal just as much as the current Everton boss did on Sunday.
Winning a second consecutive FA Cup would be a sensational achievement for Wigan, but the Latics have shown some signs of fatigue in recent Championship outings, maybe signs of the Europa League campaign beginning to catch up with them physically. Rosler has still overseen a remarkable rise up the table, however, and a play-off place looks highly likely.
Arsenal are still without several key players, but Aaron Ramsey could make his first start since returning from injury, with Mathieu Flamini suspended for picking up 10 yellow cards. Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere are among those sidelined.
Rosler could make changes after Wigan lost to Millwall on Tuesday. Callum McManaman, Marc-Antoine Fortune and James McArthur are all pushing for a recall.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Wigan