Two sides that know each other pretty well when it comes to the FA Cup meet in Saturday's early kick-off, and with both managers likely to make changes ahead of a huge week for both clubs Mike Norman believes the Gunners will ease into round six...
"Obviously we have to seriously consider the prospect of Wenger making changes to his side with two huge games on the horizon but there is an argument that says Hull's week is just as important given they face two in-form promotion rivals within six days after this game."
Arsenal v Hull
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Arsenal are back as title favourites following back-to-back Premier League wins over Bournemouth and Leicester respectively, and with the FA Cup and Champions League still in their sights this promises to be a huge week in the Gunners' season.
Of course, Hull City are no strangers to Arsene Wenger in the FA Cup and Saturday's early kick-off will be their fourth meeting since 2009. Arsenal beat the Tigers 2-1 in the sixth round that year before beating them again in dramatic style in the 2013/14 final. And just last season Wenger's men beat Hull 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium, this time in the third round.
Arsenal last tasted defeat in this famous competition almost exactly three years ago, but since that 0-1 home loss to Blackburn they've safely negotiated 14 ties, not requiring a replay in any of them.
With Arsenal hosting Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday night before a huge Premier League game away to Manchester United at the weekend, Wenger is sure to shuffle his pack for the visit of Hull, though with only Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere definitely ruled out, a strong starting XI is still likely.
The Tigers are going great guns in the Championship, currently sitting top of the table after a run of five wins in six games before Tuesday night's goalless draw with Brighton.
Steve Bruce's men beat the Seagulls in the third round to kick-start their run in this competition before winning away at League One outfit Bury in round four, meaning Hull have won seven and drawn one of their last nine games played in all competitions, recording six clean sheets in the process.
Like Arsenal the Tigers have a pivotal week coming up - away to Ipswich in midweek before hosting red hot Sheffield Wednesday on Friday - and you just wonder whether Bruce will make a few changes ahead of this tie given Hull have an outstanding chance of achieving their main aim this season - promotion back to the Premier League.
When I first looked at this market the Gunners were trading at close to 1.75/7 and I was licking my lips at the prospect of writing what an outstanding price that was. Unfortunately those odds have disappeared and Arsenal are now available to back at 1.68/13 (Hull 7.26/1, Draw 4.216/5) but I still think that's a very fair price and one worth taking.
Obviously we have to seriously consider the prospect of Wenger making changes to his side with two huge games on the horizon but there is an argument that says Hull's week is just as important given they face two in-form promotion rivals within six days after this game.
When you look at the players that haven't been regular starters this season who Wenger can call upon if he does rotate - the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gabriel, Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Iwobi, Joel Campbell, and the fit again Danny Welbeck - then you have to say that Arsenal still deserve to be strong favourites.
Add in the fact that Bruce is likely to make changes himself, possibly resting influential top goalscorer Abel Hernandez, as he did in previous rounds, then the home side are a must-bet.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
This is a tight market with both options likely to trade at around the 2.01/1 mark come kick-off, and I have to say that's correct as I'd really struggle to make a confident selection for either or.
Hull's recent games have been low-scoring with six of their last eight matches seeing two goals or less, and only one of those eight games resulted in both sides getting on the scoresheet.
It hasn't been a too dissimilar story for Arsenal with four of their last six games going under the 2.5 goals mark, though it's worth pointing out that all of their last six cup games (Champions League, FA, and League Cup), all witnessed at least three goals.
Make your mind up and take your chance, but for me this is too hard to call, evidenced by my next recommendation.
As mentioned already I really fancy Arsenal to win this game and that is my stand out bet of the match, sometimes odds of 1.68/13 can be very much worth taking. But a few scorelines in this market are worth chancing too.
It's impossible to see the Gunners going goal crazy; depending on what side Wenger fields he's likely to withdraw a few of his better players if they go a few goals up. And I'm not certain that Hull will be busting a gut to attack at every opportunity either. If Hernandez is rested then they'll struggle to get on the scoresheet is my gut feeling.
For these reasons I'm going to dutch back (splitting your stakes in a way that either selection returns the same amount) the 2-0 and 3-0 scorelines in favour of the home side.
4pts Back Arsenal to Win @ 1.68/13
1pt dutch Back 2-0/3-0 Correct Scores @ 4.57/2
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