Just two days after defeating Newcastle in extra time of the third round of the FA Cup, Arsenal learned their potential match-up for the 4th round, as the Gunners will face the winner of Southampton vs Shrewsbury Town.
The draw for the fourth round of the #EmiratesFACup has been made...— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 11, 2021
Arsenal’s path to hoisting their record-extending 15th FA Cup title has become a little clearer, but not particularly any easier. While there have been a number of memorable upsets in this year’s cup competition like the recent Leeds defeat to second division Crawley Town, the odds are certainly not in Shrewsbury town’s favor. Southampton currently sit 6th in the Premier League table and have been playing very consistently under Ralph Hasenhüttl this season in his third season with the Saints.
The Gunners faced Southampton once in the Premier League this season during Arsenal’s dire seven match winless streak, drawing 1-1 at the Emirates. It was a dull affair and typified the dull, uninspiring form that had plagued the side for over a month.
However, Mikel Arteta’s side has since rediscovered their form since Boxing Day as they have won four matches on the trot across all competitions. The inclusion of Academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe into the lineup has revitalized the midfield and brought out the best in previously-slumping Alexandre Lacazette while Bukayo Saka and Kieran Tierney have continued their scintillating run of form.
Unlike many of the remaining PL sides in the competition, the Gunners didn’t have the benefit of drawing one of the lower division teams like Spurs (for the second match in a row) or Manchester City, which means that Arteta will not have the luxury of heavily rotating his roster as Saturday’s victory over Newcastle painted a further picture of the deep divide between the quality of the first team and the rest of the roster, especially in the attack.
Assuming Arsenal face Southampton, they will be one of only a handful of PL sides facing another team from the top flight, with Fulham drawing Burnley and Manchester United drawing Liverpool. But this is all predicated on The Saints defeating Shrewsbury Town, who currently sit 17th in the League One table.
The 4th round matchup is slated for the weekend of January 23rd & 24th.