Arsenal will be aiming to move a step closer to retaining the FA Cup when they take on Middlesbrough in a potentially tricky fifth round tie.
Victory at Brighton & Hove Albion in the previous round was much more comfortable and convincing for Arsenal than the 3-2 scoreline suggested, but the game showed that their game management must improve. It could be argued that they were fortunate to hold on to victory over Leicester City on Tuesday.
That success ensured they moved to within a point of the top four, and that is certainly one of the main priorities for the Gunners this season as well as going further in the Champions League, but this competition again represents their best chance of winning a trophy, so manager Arsene Wenger will continue to field a strong side.
A draw for Bournemouth on Saturday meant that Middlesbrough were knocked off the top of the Championship, but Aitor Karanka’s men are in imperious form and looking extremely well-equipped to make the Premier League. The Spaniard has assembled a very strong squad and will fancy their chances.
That is especially after their remarkable victory over Manchester City in round four, weathering a first half storm before having the better of the Premier League champions in the second half, with in-form strikers Patrick Bamford and Kike doing the damage. Despite their goals, Boro are a side built on an impressive defensive record.
Wojciech Szczesny is likely to be in goal for Arsenal, who are expected to give a debut to defender Gabriel Paulista. Middlesbrough should have George Friend and Ryan Fredericks available, but are without Daniel Ayala and Adam Forshaw.
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