Having won for the first time in the League in a month on Tuesday, we’ll be looking to seize the initiative on Easter Day as we take on Hull City.
I really can’t predict this game at all. The hosts delivered a pasting to Liverpool at home earlier in the season and even troubled Man City. However will our last two wins be a spring board to added successes this season? Hull City is the type of side which we ourselves have struggled to beat this season, and we’ve had to grind out results against mid-table sides. Come Cup final day they’ll be a whole different proposition. Long and Jelavic are cup-tied but are available for league action this weekend. Saying that, we’ll be a whole different team as well with the likes of Wilshere and Gibbs back fit.
Last time out we beat Hull 2-0 at the Emirates. Misfit Nicklas Bendtner opened the scoring before Mesut Ozil sealed the points in the second half. Ozil is a man that will hopefully pass a late physical test in order to play at the KC on Sunday afternoon. The last game he played was against Everton in the FA Cup and he proved how vital he was to the team, scoring one and grabbing an assist. His input has been missed a lot in recent weeks and it’ll be a huge relief to see him back. With his return, hopefully Olivier Giroud will get a lot more opportunities to score. The German’s inclusion will give us a different dimension in attack and we should become an altogether more creative outlet.
Santi Cazorla seemed to regain some of his flair against West Ham and if we’re to finish strongly this season we’ll need the crafty Spaniard to be on song once again. Compared to last season he hasn’t nearly flourished as much but he’s still produced moments of brilliance on occasions and has popped up with vital goals. Particularly against Fulham and Liverpool at home. Having Koscielny back in the side was also a welcome relief in midweek as we looked to gain some solidness amongst the back four once again.
As I said, Hull will be a difficult game judging by our recent record in the league. I’m hoping that our last two results will give the team a new found confidence and belief though. A lot of players look pretty tired but we’ll need them to keep going for another month or so.
After Wenger’s decision to mix the line-up, up a bit in recent weeks it’ll be interesting to see who plays. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s burst of pace has been crucial but with Ozil returning will he be dropped? Santi, however inconsistent he’s been this season can carve a defence open out of nothing. Meanwhile it would be a bit harsh to drop Podolski after his two goals in the week. Nacho Monreal is set to return but whether we opt for a more attacking threat by picking him instead of Vermaelen at left back remains to be seen. Giroud should start over Sanogo despite the recent criticisms. As for the midfield, expect Arteta and Ramsey to play alongside each other. Flamini is back from suspension whilst Rosicky is also fit so there will be a much stronger bench compared to our previous few games.
We’ve been heavily plagued by injuries this season but it’s great to see that players are starting to return just in time for the run in. After Hull, we have to play Newcastle, West Brom & Norwich before of course, the FA Cup final. Bring it on!