Arsenal will face a relatively easy test, at least on paper, when they visit the Hillsborough on Tuesday. Sheffield is in good form, hasn’t loss in last eight games and certainly can make Arsene Wenger’s life miserable.
Arsenal won the four last games in all competitions, and they’re looking like a team ready for title battle. However, these kinds of games can be tricky, especially away from home, and the Gunners should be careful about this clash. Sheffield will give Arsenal a classic lower league test, they committed most fouls in the Championship this year and scored one-third of their goals from set-pieces.
The Owls’ manager Carlos Carvalhal is capable of taking a scalp from an elite club, following his previous coaching experience in Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas. His team is looking well-organized and disciplined, but without many successes in the attack. Sheffield attempted the fewest shots in the league this season. Their lacking a regular goal scorer and their best player Fernando Forestieri, on loan from Watford, is cup-tied. Carvalhal will probably use the 4-2-3-1 formation with defensive minded players. He also announced that will give a start to the reserve goalkeeper, the 19-year-old Joe Wildsmith. That should be a chance for Arsenal forwards. However, the youngster kept the clean sheet in the previous round against Newcastle at St. James’ Park. Wildsmith even got a call for England U-21, so he is undoubtedly a talented goalkeeper.
Arsene Wenger will field his reserve squad and most likely will rest the key players. Arsenal is battling on three fronts, and Wenger will certainly give a chance to youngsters to shine at Hillsborough. Petr Cech is going to get a start as Ospina continues to recover from an injury. Per Mertesacker could be in the line for a comeback after declaring fit to play. Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Welbeck and Rosicky are definitely out. It will be a chance for Campbell, Flamini, Debuchy, Chambers and Gibbs to start. The U-21 players Alex Iwobi and Glen Kamara could feature as well.
The biggest danger for Arsenal will come from the set-pieces. The captain center-back Loovens is a threat from the air, along with his defensive partner Tom Lees. The Owls are struggling with ball possession this season, and long shots can hurt the Gunners. Mertesacker’s return would be beneficial in the penalty box, and Cech’s presence at the goal will certainly give the confidence to defense.
This will be Arsenal’s first clash with Wednesday after more than 15 years. The last game between two sides was played at Highbury and finished 3:3. Lee Dixon, Silvinho and Thierry Henry scored for the Gunners in a thrilling match. Sibon, De Bilde and Quinn were goal scorers for Sheffield Wednesday.
Sheffield Wednesday vs. Arsenal: Predicted Lineups & Formations
Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith, Hunt, Loovens, Lees, Pudil, Wallace, Lee, Hutchinson, Bannan, Helan, João.
Arsenal: Cech, Debuchy, Chambers, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Flamini, Kamara, Ox, Campbell, Iwobi, Giroud.