Arsenal travel to City Ground to take on Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup 3rd round. Forest are 9th in the Championship and coming off back-to-back losses but were unbeaten in nine straight before dropping those two. In other words, they could prove a tricky opponent for the Gunners, especially at their home ground.
Arsenal will need to be wary of attacker Lewis Grabban who has tallied 10 goals in 23 league matches this season. It’s his third time scoring in double digits for Nottingham Forest and the sixth time he’s reached 10+ goals in his career. He has chipped in with 5 assists as well this season — he’s very much the focal point of Forest’s attack.
Arsenal have only lost once in the FA Cup third round in the last 25 yards — 4-2 to Nottingham Forest in 2018. That match featured an unlikely brace from then U.S. international Eric Lichaj that led to him convincing his wife to get them a dog. She had joked that if he scored a hat trick, they would could get one and gave into peer / internet pressure after scored two. I hope Gunner the French Bulldog is doing well.
The two clubs have met 100 times in total with Arsenal amassing a 51-22-27 record. The most recent meeting came in the League Cup in 2019 with the Gunners winning 5-0. Coincidentally, both times Arsenal have beaten Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup (1979 and 1993), the club has gone on to win the entire thing.
Mikel Arteta played it close to the vest in his pre match press conference, but all signs point to some number of first team regulars missing out due to injuries and COVID in addition to the quartet at AFCON - Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Mohamed Elneny (Omar Rekik is representing Tunisia as well).
According to Arsenal journo Chris Wheatley, Mika Biereth, Omari Hutchinson, Charlie Patino, and Salah Oulad M’Hand are expected to be included in the squad today. Patino did the typical “hazing” of singing a song at the team dinner, which could be an indication that he is starting or highly likely to be involved in the match as a sub. He sang “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars.
The Gunners will be wearing special all-white kits today as part of the launch of the No More Red campaign aimed at combating youth violence, in particular knife violence, in London. As Tony wrote, “Like many larger metropolitan areas around the world, a lack of after-school activities and positive outlets has left a massive void of guidance and mentorship for many of London’s teens. One of the main emphasis of the No More Red campaign is to provide more opportunities for constructive activities in an effort to keep teenagers off the streets and out of harm’s way.”
Here's how we line up in the @EmiratesFACup...— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 9, 2022
◾️ Leno starts in goal
◾️ Lokonga x Patino in midfield
◾️ Nketiah leads the line
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