LONDON: Saturday’s goalless home draw against second division leaders Hull in the FA Cup added to the fixtures pressure on Arsenal as they bid to avoid a third knockout defeat by European champions Barcelona this decade.
The FA Cup holders failed to turn dominance into victory against Hull. In manager Arsene Wenger’s 100th FA Cup tie they had two penalty claims denied and saw Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck miss chances to spare them a replay next week.
Not surprisingly, Wenger said: “We need to be more efficient in the final third of the pitch because we will not have 70pc possession on Tuesday. That means we’ll have to be much more efficient while having much less of the ball.”
Arsenal, with Barcelona in mind, made nine changes. Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech were given the day off while Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud came on for the last 25 minutes.
Wenger said Ozil, who is one yellow card away from European suspension, had been suffering from a cold this week but that it was “nothing major” and the playmaker should be fit to face Barca. The Frenchman added: “We have no new injuries so on that front it looks quite good.”
Hull not only ended a 14-game winning run in the FA Cup for the Gunners, they also prevented a repeat of their defeats by the Londoners in the 2014 final and last season’s third round.
Everton and Watford reached the quarter-finals with respective wins by 2-0 at Bournemouth and 1-0 over Leeds.
Controversy eruped at the end of West Bromwich’s 3-1 defeat to Reading when Albion skipper Chris Brunt was hit near an eye by a coin thrown by a fan.