October 16, 2014

The Emirates Stadium will play host to a repeat of last season's FA Cup final Saturday when Arsenal host Hull City.

The Gunners came from two goals down at Wembley to beat Hull in extra-time to secure their first piece of silverware for a decade, but manager Arsene Wenger believes the memory of the difficult first half will ensure his players are fired up and ready for Saturday's match.

"The Hull game for us is a remembrance of a big sweat because we played against them in the cup final in a very difficult game," Wenger said. "When you look at their team sheet now, they look like they can beat anybody so I expect a tough game. Look at the quality of players they got in, you can say they bought top quality.

"They could not use (Nikica) Jelavic in the cup last season, and since then they have bought (Mohamed) Diame, (Abel) Hernandez - they have bought some good players."

Hull midfielder David Meyler backed up Wenger's comments about the new-look Tigers squad, although the Republic of Ireland international may lose his regular starting place if all of the new additions are to be accommodated in the first team.

"When you look at the side that started at Wembley compared to the side that started against Palace last time out, there are a lot of new faces in there," admitted Meyler. "We've strengthened and there is so much competition in every position. That is only healthy for us because every player is striving to improve and you have to work even harder just to get a game. Nobody can take their place for granted.

"Our team is now a lot stronger than it was for the FA Cup Final and we're all looking forward to Saturday."

The international break came at a bad time for Steve Bruce's Hull (2-3-2), ensuring any momentum from their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace last time out has been lost. However, the impressive performance in that win gives the Tigers some hope of ending a miserable run against Arsenal. Since winning at the Emirates in their first Premier League meeting in 2008, Hull have lost all seven meetings with the Gunners by an aggregate score of 18-5. Bruce's team failed to score in either regular-season match against Arsenal last season and have conceded at least two goals every time they have faced Wenger's side since the 2008 victory.

Struggling Arsenal (2-4-1) could certainly do with the boost of making it eight straight wins against Hull. Wenger's side have won just one of their six league matches since an opening-weekend victory over Crystal Palace, and go into Saturday's contest with a string of injury concerns. Danny Welbeck (ankle), Mikel Arteta (calf) and Laurent Koscielny (calf) are all doubtful, while Mesut Ozil (knee), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Yannick Sanogo (hamstring), Olivier Giroud (ankle) and Mathieu Debuchy (ankle) are all out. However, one positive piece of injury news for Arsenal fans is that Theo Walcott is back in full training following a nine-month injury lay-off.

Hull have a couple of injury absentees themselves, with goalkeeper Allan McGregor and midfield spark Ryan Snodgrass both out - Snodgrass will miss the remainder of the season with his knee injury. Wing-back Ahmed Elmohamady faces a late fitness test with a back injury, although Bruce may prefer the more reliable defensive option of Liam Rosenior at full-back in an attempt to deal with Arsenal's attack.

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