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Arsenal vs. Swansea City: FA Cup 3rd Round Replay Match Preview

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After the 2-2 woolly affair ten days ago in Wales, Swansea City AFC bus over to the Emirates to line them up again against Arsenal for the right to advance to the 4th round in Brighton.

Stu Forster


Arsenal vs. Swansea City
FA Cup 3rd Round Replay
Kickoff: Wednesday, January 16, 2:30 PM EST, London
TV Coverage: foxsoccer.tv (subscribers only)

The FA Cup, steeped in tradition as it is, has seen fit to retain the replay feature of single-elimination tournament play. Whatever one's personal stance on this feature, there it is, and here we are. As Arsenal and Swansea battered each other and punched each other at the exact same time just like (SPOILER ALERT) Superman and Doomsday two Sundays ago, they have been forced to play the match over again on Warworld on the Moon at the heart of the sun at your mom's at the Emirates to determine the final winner of the grand prize: a trip to Brighton!

Swansea, who have just completed a loan deal for Belgian winger Roland Lamah, are becoming something of a familiar sight for Arsenal fans. By now, we know what they do: Nathan Dyer runs around real fast, Leon Britton controls the midfield, and Michu eats rocks and smashes everything.

Arsenal, we also know. What we didn't know, but would have been nice to know a bit ago, was that Tomas Rosicky has not been available recently because of a calf strain. He will still be out for tomorrow. What this means, basically, is that Santi Cazorla, who has played something on the order of 6.5^14 minutes in toto this year so far, will most likely feature again. I just hope his french press and his Wheaties are all in working order tomorrow. Laurent Koscielny is also out via suspension for his perfect tackle on running back Edin Dzeko on Sunday. Lukasz Fabianski, wherever he is, is still hurt, too. Gervinho's in Africa.

Mikel Arteta is the biggest name on the injury sheet; although his calf problem isn't perhaps as bad as first feared, he will not play tomorrow. There needs to be some rotation, probably, so we should probably expect Aaron Ramsey to start in some capacity along with possibly Francis Coquelin. Jack Wilshere is probably a lead-pipe lock to start, as is Per Mertesacker (Per: do not let Michu roll you again this time). I personally would like Olivier Giroud up top with Theo Walcott on the right and Lukas Podolski on the left, but I wonder if Wenger won't stash Walcott on the bench as a sub option, keeping him fresher for Chelsea on Sunday (whom he seems to enjoy playing against) and using Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right in his place, who should be fresh after making way for Per on Sunday against City after 10 minutes.

So, something like this, then:

Szczesny
Jenkinson--Mertesacker--Vermaelen--Gibbo
Wilshere--Ramsey
Ox--Cazorla--Podolski
Giroud

What do you all reckon?

Match prediction: Darkseid shows up, and Swansea know the full power of the Omega Force. Jack Wilshere pulls off his mask to reveal that he is, in fact, the New God Lightray, and he keeps all the kids alive with purity and love. Arsenal win 3-1 after a Granny Goodness own goal cancels out a Michu strike before two late tallies from Podolski.


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