The Sunday BBC 1 FA Cup game brings together Arsenal and Hull. Who is Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) backing?
Arsenal v Hull | Sunday 17:30 | BBC1
Well the Arsenal roller-coaster continues into 2015. After excellent wins over QPR and West Ham, Arsene Wenger’s side then lost at St Mary’s on New Years Day to restart Arsenal fans fury. Now they begin the defence of their FA Cup triumph against the side they beat in the final in May, Hull City.
It’s been a miserable seven months since Cup Final day for Hull. They sit 15th in the table with just four wins from 20 Premier League matches this season. To be fair though, the tide may be turning after two wins in their last three matches.
Sunderland were beaten on Boxing Day, before the Humberside outfit got the better of Everton 2-0 on New Years Day. Spirits will be high in the Hull camp but I’d question how much stock they’ll put into this game.
If you recall last season, Hull almost reached the final by accident. They played weak line-ups in the opening three rounds as they edged past lower league opposition, requiring a replay to dispatch Brighton in Round 5. A Sunderland side coming down from a Capital One Cup Final defeat were beaten in Round 6 before a successful defeat of League One Sheffield United in the last four.
I never got the impression that Steve Bruce was taking the competition that seriously and I don’t think he’ll care much for this match. Hull have a relegation battle to win and that will be the club’s priority. I can see them fielding a reserve side here.
Arsenal on the other hand could do with a strong run in the competition. Last year’s victory was supposed to trigger a title challenge but that hasn’t materialised. Some good news is required down at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger’s side always seem to bounce back well from disappointments. The 4-1 win against Newcastle followed their most disappointing result of the season – the 3-2 loss at Stoke.
I can see a similar two fingered gesture up at the doubters on Sunday. Arsenal are best price 4/11 with William Hill which offers no value. I was keen on the -1 but again it’s too short at 4/5. So instead it’s Arsenal to win to nil for me at 7/5 with Betfred. Hull have fired blanks in four of their last six matches.
Arsenal v Hull – Arsenal to win to nil (7/5 Betfred)