After the flurry of Premier League fixtures, we welcome the return of the FA Cup as we travel to Nottingham Forest in the 3rd Round.

As holders we have a duty to make sure we give this our best shot, but there are other reasons to make sure of progress to the next stage.

Firstly, our record in the FA Cup means we have to uphold it proudly by attempting to match our progression to the latter stages.

Then, if we hark back to our tight Carabao Cup win over Norwich last year, it should be a big enough reminder to take Championship opposition seriously.

Forest recently sacked their manager, Mark Warburton, after results were less than satisfactory. A club of its stature should be vying for the promotion spots, but that couldn’t be further from their position currently.

They lie in 14th spot and are eleven points off the play offs, and they will be helmed by caretaker manager Gary Brazil. Brazil took charge of their last game - a 0-0 draw with promotion hopefuls Leeds United - so they are capable of lifting themselves from their current slump, but they should be aiming much higher.

They have a lineup that boasts Premiership experience, and some we should be wary of. Michael Mancienne and Liam Bridcutt have played at a higher level, but it is unclear how serious Forest will take this game, with their league campaign on the tipping point of losing all hope of a decent position.

In terms of our squad, we have played nine games in December, and it is pretty obvious we will rest the majority of our first teamers.

So who will come in?

Theo Walcott will be a prime candidate, and he could be joined in attack by Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi. This game is the perfect opportunity for these boys to gain some much needed confidence in front of goal, and hopefully they take it with both hands.

In midfield, Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny have hardly played recently, so their freshness may well demand inclusion, seeing as Granit Xhaka and Jack Wilshere have played pretty much every minute in the festive schedule.

In defence, Mathieu Debuchy should be available, and Ainslie Maitland-Niles could play again after his impressive display against Chelsea. Reiss Nelson could get some minutes as well, and if we’re low on defensive numbers, then Elneny could drop back and Jo Willock could play in the centre of the park.

We have many options, and all of them should have enough to get through this potential banana skin. Forest will put up a tough test, but if we don’t win, then we only have ourselves to blame.

This is the first of three cup ties in our next five games. Next up is a midweek Carabao Cup semi-Final tie against chelsea, followed by the second leg a week later that sandwiches a League game at Bournemouth and a tie against Palace at The Emirates.

This will place an emphasis on using the whole squad, and the lesser lights, and perhaps some of the kids, will have to rise up. It remains unlikely that any established players will arrive to bolster the squad, and with as many injuries as we have, we need to optimise every player - and hope for a semblance of form.

Another cup run, with our hopes elsewhere looking decidedly shaky, would be a welcome distraction. A trip to Wembley for a cup tie is always a fantastic occasion, so let’s see some effort from our boys, whoever lines up in the team.

Predicted lineup - Ospina, Debuchy, Elneny, Chambers, Willock, Coquelin, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Welbeck, Iwobi, Walcott.

Predicted scoreline - 2-0 to The Arsenal