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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Arsenal hit purple patch right before Cup tie

Arsenal’s hopes of progressing past a difficult fourth-round FA Cup tie with Brighton were given a real boost on Wednesday’s night as the Gunners ripped apart Premier League opponents West Ham in a 5-1 rout at the Emirates.

Arsene Wenger’s side travel to the south coast on Saturday afternoon looking to avoid a major upset in the FA Cup odds against a spirited Championship side. Wenger will no doubt be wary of Brighton, who knocked Newcastle United out of the competition three weeks ago with a superb 2-0 display at Falmer Stadium.

Without a loss in five games Gus Poyet’s side are beginning to find their feet in the Championship and currently sit one place outside the relegation zone.If you are looking for tips football-wise thenSeagulls Top scorer Craig Mackail-Smith must fancy his chances against an often-spooked Arsenal defence and is a likely first-scorer. While Will Buckley will once again prove a major contributor to Poyet’s midfield engine.

Brighton will need men on their game, however, for Arsenal head into the clash having swept through West Ham in the league. Olivier Giroud will probably start after finally finding his goalscoring touch – netting a brace past Jussi Jaaskelainen – while Theo Walcott scored his 16th of the season in the red shirt.

On Brighton’s magnificent surface Arsenal should find their passing game easy to administer and Wenger may opt to draft in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andrei Arshavin to start. Emmanuel Frimpong continues his recovery from injury and should Wenger give the midfielder a place in the XI then Buckley and co. will have a real job linking up with the forward line.

This FA Cup tie promises to be deeply enthralling and an upset is very much on the cards. Both teams could do with a win to boost their league credentials and will hope to be in the pot for the fifth-round draw on Sunday evening.

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