Tottenham Hotspur are playing excellent football under manager Tim Sherwood. Both teams are on good form in the league especially Tottenham, after defeating defending champions Manchester United 2-1 in the league. The Gunners meanwhile are lacking firepower up front with Giroud, Bendtner and Sanogo all out due to injuries.
Olivier Giroud remains a major doubt to face Tottenham with an ankle injury. Wenger will have to employ either Podolski or Walcott up front. Aaron Ramsey (thigh) and Kieran Gibbs are also set to miss out, while Mesut Ozil (shoulder) is unlikely to recover.
Emmanuel Adebayor is struggling with a knock that forced his early exit at Old Trafford. Jermain Defoe is already out. Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul still remain on the sidelines. Paulinho will also be absent, while Lewis Holtby and Gylfi Sigurdsson all are doubted for this tie.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelan, Monreal, Arteta, Flamini, Walcott, Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski (4-2-3-1)
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Walker, Chiriches, Dawson, Rose, Lennon, Capoue, Dembele, Eriksen, Soldado, Adebayor(4-4-2)
1. Cazorla vs Walker
Kyle Walker will have a busy day on Saturday as he needs to keep Santi Cazorla in check. Cazorla is very vital for Arsenal’s attack and his dribbling, his passes and his crosses into the box may trouble Tottenham Hotspurs a lot. Walker has to not give Cazorla any room if Tottenham wants to subdue Arsenal’s free flowing football.
2. Mertesacker vs Adebayor
Former Gunner Adebayor has found his feet back into the Tottenham Hotspur line up by netting in goals. In 5 appearances he has created 8 chances and net 3 goals. Mertesacker has to keep the former Gunner in his pocket if Arsenal wants to go through this tough tie.
3. Arteta vs Eriksen
The midfield battle will see Arteta and Eriksen fighting for bragging rights. The man who dictates the midfield will control the tempo of the match and create the chances for his team, which will be essential for victory.
Arsenal: Theo Walcott
Theo has been in excellent form for Arsenal. He has scored 5 goals in 5 matches, creating 12 chances and assisting 1. His passing accuracy is of 83%. He is in red hot form and Tottenham need to be vary of this English winger.
Tottenham: Christian Eriksen
In the last four games, Eriksen has scored two times and assisted 1. However his shot accuracy is much higher than that of Theo Walcott’s with 86% while Walcott only has a shooting accuracy of 56%. This midfielder will be instrumental in Tottenham’s attacks and his set pieces and long shots are something which Szczesny would not like to face.
Prediction: 1-1Published 04 Jan 2014, 16:31 IST