Hull City will host Arsenal in what will be a tough clash for both the teams. The Tigers have so far defied the odds and have earned praises with their fighting performances this season. Mike Phelan’s team currently lie just one place below the visitors in 8th place in the League table. Arsenal, on the other hand, are just beginning to gather momentum with two consecutive victories and would be looking to keep up their record. The tie would be very interesting and Arsenal would have to be careful to avoid any slip-ups against a team which has exceeded expectations so far. Let’s look at the key battles which will help determine the final result of the tie.
Olivier Giroud Vs Curtis Davies
Arsenal’s French striker Olivier Giroud is almost certain to have his first start of the season at the KC Stadium on Saturday. Giroud would be going up against Hull City’s captain and talisman Curtis Davis who statistically has been Europe’s best defender till now. Giroud will provide a real test to the Englishman and the outcome of this battle will be the key to Arsenal’s performance against the hosts.
Robert Snodgrass Vs Nacho Monreal
Robert Snodgrass has been in fine form for the Tigers this season scoring important goals against Leicester City and Burnley in the Premier League. Most of the attacking moves of the hosts would be initiated from their right side, where the Scotsman operates and Arsene Wenger would have to rely on his Mr. Dependable, Nacho Monreal to deal with the threat of Hull’s number 10.
Monreal has not been at his very best this season but he has done enough to contain his opponents on most occasions. Tackling the threat of Snodgrass would be a bit trickier as the player likes to cut infield which will give rise to some positional problems for the Spanish left-back. Nevertheless, Monreal needs to nullify any attack from his flank and containing Snodgrass would seriously affect the hosts attacking threat allowing Arsenal to impose their game-plan more and more.
Alexis Sanchez Vs Elmohamady
Alexis Sanchez has recently opened talks about a possible contract extension and would be keen to make a mark so that he can back up his demands of increase in wages with his latest display. Sanchez has been disappointing playing as a centre-forward in the Premier League but with the possibility of Giroud playing he will be back to his favoured left wing where he would be up against Elmohamady.
The Egyptian has been decent for his team but allowed Wayne Rooney to bypass him in the dying seconds to assist a goal for Manchester United to which his team lost after putting up a great resistance. The right-back will have to be careful not to repeat that sort of mistake again as he would look to contain Sanchez throughout the 90 minutes which would be a great achievement for him and for his team.