As Arsenal prepares to defend the FA Cup this afternoon against Aston Villa Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has almost an entire squad to pick from.
Missing however will be striker Danny Welbeck who is still out with an injured knee, but Wenger does have a suitable replacement in Theo Walcott who proved just how deadly he can be scoring a hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion last weekend.
Also coming into form is Jack Wilshere who made a very impressive cameo appearance from the bench while scoring one of the best goals we have seen all season.
Whether either of the two did enough to warrant a start against Villa remains to be seen, but Wenger did say on Wednesday that he had not yet made up his mind as to who would be in the starting XI.
Move over Ospina as its make or break time for Wojciech Szczesny who despite losing his N0.1 spot to the Colombian Ospina, has played in the Gunners FA Cup matches, and just like last season when Szczesny had to watch from the bench when Wenger started back-up keeper Lukas Fabianski we feel the Frenchman will do the honourable thing and start the Pole in nets.
This of course is a no-brainer with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the centre of the back-four charged with taking care of Christian Benteke, while Hector Bellerin will be in his usual role at right-back with either Monreal or Gibbs getting the nod over on the left-flank our vote goes for the Spaniard as we think his experience will provide the team with added confidence.
In midfield this season’s sensation Francis Coquelin will be playing in front of the back-four with both Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla free to roam ahead of him in the middle of the park. Aaron Ramsey will get the start over Jack Wilshere despite his fine performance last week while all eyes will be looking for Chilean international Alexis Sanchez to find the back of the net when he cuts inside from the left.
Yes, yes we know Walcott scored a hat-trick last weekend and that Olivier Giroud has not scored in his last eight appearances for the team, but to be fair to the Frenchman he does not get the number of crosses he needs to up his goal count, and one good game a week earlier, in our opinion does not warrant an automatic start for the English international, which means we expect Giroud to start just as he has done all season with Wenger using Walcott in the second half as a fresh pair of legs should Arsenal find themselves needing a goal.
In the end on paper at least Arsenal should be the easy winners, but as we saw against Hull City in last year’s final the FA Cup final is a one off, and you can be sure Villas manager Tim Sherwood has his team ready for a fight.