Arsenal are looking to bounce back after two harsh losses two Watford and Chelsea. Hull City, on the other hand, will be looking to capitalize on their recent success after recently defeating and drawing against Manchester United, and destroying Liverpool 2-0 last weekend. A win on Saturday could see Hull jump out of the relegation zone and into 15th in the league.
Another loss for the Gunners could have a massive effect on the future of the club. The top of the Premier League is rather tight this year and at this point Arsenal will be hoping to finish in the top four. If the Gunners don’t qualify for Champions League football next season you can expect Alexis Sánchez start searching for better clubs. Mesut Özil has said that he is waiting to see if Wenger resigns to the club before he renews his contract.
With these things in mind, Arsenal have one of two roads to take for the rest of their season. They can either take care of business when it comes to smaller clubs like Hull City, and show that they can compete against the stronger sides when they face Bayern Munich on February 15th, or they can continue to drop points. In this case they could risk losing their manager who has transformed the club into a globally recognized club, along with their two star players who cost a great deal to bring to the club.
Fellow Arsenal writer, Chimbu Chinniah voiced the opinion of a frustrated Arsenal fan earlier this week in his article on how Arsenal have become a club that strives for mediocrity in the last several years.
Location : Emirates Stadium, London
Kick-Off : 7:30am EST/ 12:30pm BST
Referee : Mark Clattenburg
Players To Watch
Speed. Strength. And a point to prove. Welbeck will be hoping to get the start over Oliver Giroud and will need to work hard to make a place for himself in the first team.
Having recently joined Hull City, and coming off of a late goal against Liverpool, Niasse will be briming with confidence and looking to capitalize on the Gunner’s poor defensive form.
There was talk of David Ospina replacing Petr Cech after a poor performance against Chelsea, but that would be a major move for Wenger to make.
Hector Bellerin has been healing well from his concussion last Saturday, and will hopefully be fit to play. Mohamed Elneny has just returned from defeat in the Africa Cup of Nations final with Egypt, but has picked up a calf injury.
With a competitive front line, Welbeck may get the start over Giroud due to his pace.
Hull City have been playing well as of late and will doubtfully make many changes. After losing two of their best players in Livermore and Snodgrass during the January transfer window, Hull will be hoping that some of their new signings will continue to shine.
Up front, Markovic from Liverpool, and Niasse from Everton will be looking to cause trouble for the inconsistent defenceive line we have seen from Arsenal in their previous matches.
We can expect for Hull City to sit back and let Arsenal have the majority of possession, but if they have done their research on how Watford and other smaller teams have gotten the best of the Gunners they will be looking to counter strong and make the best of set pieces. For Arsenal to not only succeed but to start to regain the confidence in their squad, they will need to be firing on all cylinders. A strong defense, a decisive midfield, and most importantly they need their big players to show up when it matters. If Arsenal fail to do these three things then you can expect for their downward spiral to continue.