Preview by Numbers: Arsenal v. Liverpool, FA Cup Fifth Round

Emirates Stadium, London
Sunday, February 16
11:00 a.m. EST, 16:00 GMT
  • Match Officials
    • Referee: Howard Webb
    • Assistants: Darren England and Simon Beck
    • 4th Official: Neil Swarbrick
  • All-Time in All Competitions: 77 Arsenal wins, 83 Liverpool wins, 56 draws
  • All-Time in the FA Cup: 7 Arsenal wins, 5 Liverpool wins, 4 draws
  • Arsenal's Path Here:
    • Third Round: Beat Tottenham Hotspur, 2-0
    • Fourth Round: Beat Coventry City, 4-0
  • Liverpool's Path Here:
    • Third Round: Beat Oldham Athletic, 2-0
    • Fourth Round: Beat Bournemouth, 2-0
  • Arsenal's League Form: W-W-D-W-L-D
  • Liverpool's League Form: W-D-W-D-W-W
  • Weather: Partly Cloudy, 7 C / 45 F
Quick preview for this one because 1) Arsenal just played Liverpool, so the information has not changed much and 2) current form has been so down that it's not really worth diving any deeper into things. People are frustrated with whatever the hell they can sink their teeth into; why try to argue with that?

Arsenal need a good result to turn the tide back in the other direction and they need it now.

Arsenal Squad News

Out: Kallstrom (back,) Vermaelen (knee,) Ramsey (thigh,) Walcott (knee,) Diaby (knee)

No injury changes for Arsenal, though Mathieu Flamini returns from his poorly timed three match ban. Given how... what's a nice way of putting this?... out of sorts Jack Wilshere has been in the center of midfield, I would expect the Frenchman to come in for the Englishman. Perhaps Mikel Arteta gets a rest as well, though Arsenal remain bereft of options in those positions. I've been advocating for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to get another game there, but who knows with Arsene Wenger these days.

Remember, Arsenal have to play Bayern Munich on Wednesday, so "rotation" is required in a few positions and Wenger has said as much. Personally, I'd rather Wenger prioritize this match over Europe, as this is a better chance for silverware. Unfortunately, nobody seems to be able to read Wenger's decisions anymore.

Given the importance of the game, I think Wojciech Szczesny will start in goal, even though Lukasz Fabianski has started other domestic cup ties this year. But, we shall see.

Liverpool Squad News

Out: Sakho (hamstring,) Enrique (knee,) Coates (knee,) Lucas (knee)

Daniel Agger is available again after a calf injury; expect him to replace Kolo Toure, who has made a number of high profile errors in the last two weeks (though, his error against Arsenal was not scoring a rebound that should have made it a million to nil.) Glen Johnson should be available again at right back as well.

As with Arsenal, I expect Simon Mignolet to start in goal even though Brad Jones has been starting cup ties. Up front, I wouldn't expect many changes from last week's Liverpool XI, considering how well their midfield and attack performed.

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Match Facts

Since Arsenal just played Liverpool and the history is likely fresh in your mind anyway, let's talk about their history in the FA Cup here:

Arsenal have won the last two FA Cup meetings, winning 3-1 at Anfield in 2007 (Tomas Rosicky scored twice, Thierry Henry had the other) and 1-0 at Highbury in 2002 (Dennis Bergkamp had the goal in a match that saw three red cards.) Liverpool's last FA Cup win over Arsenal came in the 2001 final, when Michael Owen scored twice in the final 10 minutes after Freddie Ljungberg opened the scoring in the 72nd.

A few other famous meetings include the 1980 semi-final, which Arsenal won 1-0 in the third replay, after draws of 0-0, 1-1, and 1-1. In 1971, Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-1 in extra time to win their first Double. Arsenal also defeated Liverpool in the 1950 final, 2-0.

The Referee

The referee is South Yorkshire-based Howard Webb. Arsenal have four points from two league matches with Webb in the middle this season: the 3-1 win at Fulham and the 1-1 draw with Everton. While the match with the Toffees might have felt like two points dropped (and it was,) it maintained a surprising statistic: Arsenal have never lost a home game with Howard Webb as the referee. They've won 10 and drawn five. Perhaps a good omen; Arsenal could really use one of those.

Liverpool do not have as good of a record with Webb this season; after beating Sunderland 3-1 in September with Webb in the middle, the Reds lost 3-1 to Hull City and 2-1 to Chelsea. Those are two of Liverpool's last three losses across all competitions.

Around the Fifth Round
  • Saturday (early): Sunderland v. Southampton; Stadium of Light, Sunderland
  • Saturday: Cardiff City v. Wigan Athletic; Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff
  • Saturday: Sheffield Wednesday v. Charlton Athletic; Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield
  • Saturday (late): Manchester City v. Chelsea; Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Sunday (early): Everton v. Swansea City; Goodison Park, Liverpool
  • Sunday: Sheffield United v. Nottingham Forest; Bramall Lane, Sheffield
  • Monday (night): Brighton & Hove Albion v. Hull City; American Express Community Stadium, Brighton