The magic of the FA Cup begins and Arsenal have won the old trophy more than any other side.
We have a special affinity with the competition and with the Premier League being pretty much out of action in terms of contention, this cup represents a big chance for glory this season.
The first hurdle is Leeds United at The Emirates, remember the last time we played them in the cup?
Thierry Henry had returned to the club and he ended up scoring the winner, which created probably the biggest noise ever heard inside our ground, before or since.
So playing the Whites brings back some special memories and under Mikel Arteta, we have a chance to make some more.
The FA Cup could really give us the lift this season from a mediocre one to a really special one, and a first trophy for Arteta. That in itself could be a springboard for much more but first things first, we need to defeat high-flying Leeds.
Marcelo Bielsa has them on the cusp of finally achieving promotion back to the Premier League and they are a hard-working, adaptable team. They can rough it up and they can play expansive football. It will be a real test.
Mikel Arteta will no doubt be tempted to ring the changes and use some of his squad, but will diluting the strength mean Leeds can achieve a famous win?
Here’s what Arteta has at his disposal.
Calum Chambers has underwent surgery and will be laid off for between six to nine months. Along with Kieran Tierney, these two defenders are the only two absolute players missing.
Hector Bellerin and his troublesome hamstring are still a doubt, as well as Gabriel Martinelli, but both are in with a shout of playing.
Players like Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lucas Torreira could be rested, with Lacazette playing alone up top and in need of some confidence. Jo Willock could replace Torreira, and Emile Smith-Rowe is n place to come in for Ozil.
Shkodran Mustafi could give David Luiz a rest In the centre of defence, but aside from that, the team is very hard to call. Tyreece John-Jules has been on the bench recently and could be in with a shout, but what about Eddie Nketiah? The striker is back from his loan spell at Leeds and technically could play against them, which would be pretty strange circumstances for the young striker.
Player to Watch
The Macedonian forward is a burly fellow, which belies a short burst of speed he possesses. This means he can get ahead of a slowly-reacting defender with ease, and is a real handful in the air too. If Mustafi does play, he will have to be on his toes.
How This Could Go
Aside from their recent 5-4 win over Birmingham City, Leeds’ form has been sketchy. No win until you go back four matches. They have been pretty lax at the back and that means we can get at them.
We are at home too, and that means we can get behind our men and give them the push they need. With our rotated side, we should be fresh and be able to put this game out of sight early doors.
That is in an ideal world. This is Arsenal though, and the Arteta revolution is still in its infancy. We are still brittle and could stumble. We need to throw everything at Leeds early on and then we can use our youngsters to see out the game.
Alternatively, we could face a pumped Leeds side who will be up for facing a Premier League side. We will need to sit tight and pick them off, which requires patience.
Whatever approach we take, progress is the main thing.
Stay in the Cup boys!
Predicted Lineup – Martinez, Mustafi, Sokratis, Holding, Saka, Willock, Xhaka, Nelson, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Lacazette
Think you can predict who will line up? Try your luck here.
Predicted Scoreline – 2-0 to The Arsenal