Championship title contenders Hull City will look to crank up the pressure on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on Tuesday night as the Tigers seek to slay the Gunners in their FA Cup fifth-round replay at the KC Stadium.
The Premier League title chasers are winless in their last five outings in all competitions, a disappointing run that harks back to their last-gasp 2-1 Valentine’s Day triumph over league leaders Leicester City, including three defeats within that period.
After pinning back North London rivals Tottenham to a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane on Saturday, despite being reduced to ten-men following Francis Coquelin’s dismissal, boss Wenger is still determined for his side to lift the FA Cup for the third successive season.
Both teams are expected to make wholesale changes to their starting line-ups on Tuesday night from their respective latest results against Birmingham City and Spurs last week.
Steve Bruce’s hosts, who held out for an impressive 0-0 stalemate at the Emirates Stadium during the original tie almost two-and-a-half weeks ago, lost out 1-0 to Gary Rowett’s Blues last Thursday night to leave the Tigers three points adrift of the Championship’s automatic promotion spots.
History doesn’t bode too well for the home side either as the Gunners have won each of their last five visits to Hull in all competitions, scoring at least twice on each occasion. Boss Wenger will also be doubly determined to maintain his record of never losing an away FA Cup tie to lower-league opposition since his appointment back in September 1996.
Furthermore; forward Alexis Sanchez, who netted his side’s equaliser at Tottenham on Saturday afternoon, has found the back of the net five times in just six starts in the FA Cup.
All of these statistics mean man of the match from the original tie; Tigers goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic, is expected to be kept busy once more in the home goal after the Switzerland international made 11 saves in the 0-0 draw at Arsenal – more than any other ‘keeper has made against the Gunners in a match at home this campaign.
Arsenal have won 14 consecutive rounds in the FA Cup – meaning the away side are closing in on the competition’s record of 16, which is already held by the Premier League giants.
The winner of tonight’s clash at the KC Stadium will be at home to Watford in the quarter-finals this Sunday.
Hull boss Bruce has a fully-fit squad to choose from this evening, with midfielders Shaun Maloney and Nick Powell, on loan from Manchester United, likely to make rare starts for the home side.
Meanwhile the visitors are without goalkeeper Petr Cech and defender Laurent Koscielny due to calf injuries, meanwhile midfielder Coquelin is suspended following his dismissal at Tottenham at the weekend.
That means Arsenal manager Wenger is without six first-team players due to injury; with Cech and Kosielny joining the likes of Jack Wilshere (Leg), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Knee), Tomas Rosicky (Thigh) and Santi Cazorla (Knee) on the sidelines.
League Position: Hull – 3rd (Championship – 64 pts); Arsenal- 3rd (Premier League- 52pts)
Previous Meeting: Arsenal 0-0 Hull – February 20, 2016 (FA Cup)
Form: Hull – WDDWDL; Arsenal – WDLLLD
Key Men: Hull – Curtis Davies; Arsenal – Alexis Sanchez
Shoot Says: Hull 1-2 Arsenal