Can Mikel Arteta deliver his second FA Cup to Arsenal?
Arsenal will begin their FA Cup run with a third round clash with Championship side Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.Arteta’a Arsenal are on a terrific run of from in the Premier League having won four out of their last five matches.The Gunners were scintillating against Manchester City on New Years Day and were unlucky not to come away with all three points.Despite their narrow defeat to the Champions Arsenal sit fourth in the Premier League holding a slim advantage over their London rivals West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur.Arsenal will travel to the City Ground without Gabriel Magalhães who got sent off against City. The centre back was due to serve his one match ban during the first leg of the Gunners League Cup semi final before that match was postponed.The Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon has shrunk Arsenal’s squad with Mo Elneny, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thomas Partey all representing their respective countries at AFCON.Aubameyang has been under scrutiny recently due to his disciplinary issues. The Arsenal captain hasn’t started for the club since their 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford in December.The 32-year-old is seemingly not part of Arteta’s future plans with Arsenal looking to sign a striker in January. The club are without many options for strikers and are an injury away from being short in that particular position. Arsenal are looking at Fiorentina’s hitman Dušan Vlahović to fill the strikers role in the team. Vlahović may strengthen the Gunners bid for a Champions League place and all the riches that goes with that accolade.Arteta’s side have bounced back from a horrendous start to the campaign losing the first three games of the season. The Spaniard’s team have formed a core group of young players including Hale End graduates Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.The duo of attacking players have been a revelation for Arsenal in recent times pushing the club forward as part of a young and energetic squad. Advert InsertedArsenal spent big on young, hungry players in the summer transfer window. That plan seems to be paying off after multiple seasons of sub par transfer activity which saw the club descend on a gradual decline in recent years.18-year-old Charlie Patino could be involved for Arsenal after scoring on his debut against Sunderland in the League Cup Quarter-Final. The exciting midfielder is yet another talent to step up from the academy as the club reaps the rewards of the great work Per Mertesacker and the team at Hale End have produced.Arsenal will also be sporting an all white kit at the City Ground in the "No More Red" campaign to raise awareness in knife crime and youth violence.Arsenal’s opponents Nottingham Forest are ninth in the Championship and fighting for a playoff place and promotion to the Premier League for the first time since 1999.The Reds have faltered slightly having lost their last two fixtures in the Championship but Steve Cooper’s side are still within touching distance of the playoffs.Forest have acted quickly in January with two signings already through the door. Striker Keinan Davis joined on loan from Aston Villa on the first day of the window, with defender Steve Cook joining the club from Bournemouth. These two additions could pose Arsenal problems and push Nottingham Forest on to gain promotion to the Premier League.
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