Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. vs. Arsenal
FA Cup Fourth Round
Kickoff: Saturday, January 26, 2013, 10 AM EST
Falmer Stadium, Brighton*
Form: Brighton WWWDD | Arsenal DLWLW
TV Coverage: Fox Soccer Channel
Arsenal will kick off against in-form Brighton & Hove Albion FC in the fourth round of the FA Cup tomorrow. The Seagulls are on a run of solid form as of late, beating Newcastle in the third round of the cup and sitting just outside of the playoff spots in the Championship. Led by Craig Mackail-Smith, who has 11 goals, and former Chelsea/current Manchester City/on-loan left back Wayne Bridge, as well as former Manchester United keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, Brighton are not to be taken lightly (at least if my experiences against the former in FM12 count for anything) (/danago'd).
Arsenal will have to make do without captain Thomas Vermaelen, who has an ankle knock after Aaron Ramsey cleared him off the line against West Ham United on Wednesday (Ramsey also got the ball, so that's good). However, the other Tommy, Tomas Rosicky, is back and available. Note to Wenger, wherever you are: please rest Santi Cazorla tomorrow and play Rosicky. Please. The little Spanish Wizard needs some beddy-by. He's runnin' on fumes.
Mikel Arteta and Francis Coquelin are also both out still, so the midfield options read thusly: Jack Wilshere, Emmanuel Frimpong, Aaron Ramsey, Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (who'll probably start on the wing), Abou Diaby. Any preferences there, anyone? I'd kind of like to see Diaby and Frimpong together, to see what that looks like, with Rosicky in front of them, just to start. Jack can come off the bench towards the end if needs be, but he could probably use a little rest too.
In defense, this might be a game where Carl Jenkinson gets a roll out, and maybe Andre Santos as well. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny will probably start in the middle; Ignasi Miquel will probably be on the bench. Whatever lineup shows up out there, they should have, on paper, no real issues taking care of Brighton tomorrow, but given previous cup ties this year and Brighton's form, things might get a little sticky.
* As far as I know, Brighton's stadium is not full of blind, cave-dwelling ancestors of the races of elves in Tamriel.