Sunderland v Arsenal 17:15 Sat
In this weekend’s only FA Cup fixture between two Premier League sides, Arsenal will make the trip north to the Stadium of Light once again odds against favourites with Paddy Power in a repeat of last weekend’s match.
The Gunners managed a late comeback in that instance thanks to goals from Aaron Ramsey and Thierry Henry, despite Aaron McClean handing the Black Cats a lead on seventy minutes.
Arsene Wenger won’t have Henry at his disposal this week after finishing his loan spell with the club however, and while Sunderland will be happy to see the back of the Frenchman, Arsenal still pose a considerable attacking threat.
Club captain Robin van Persie will be looking to get back to his scoring ways after a drought lasting several weeks and the Gunners will be keen to spring Gervinho back into action after a month away at the African Cup of Nations.
The big talking point however is how the Gunners will respond after a 4-0 midweek drubbing midweek against AC Milan in the Champions League, as once again Arsenal fans have been left scratching their heads with another dismal performance, as Arsene Wenger once again becomes the centre of attention at the Emirates.
Wenger does have more defensive conundrums on his hands again however, with central pair Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny joining fellow defenders Andre Santos and Carl Jenkinson on the injury list.
The Black Cats need all the help they can get in the scoring department and have been forced to rely heavily on their midfield to shoulder most of the scoring duties.
With Nicklas Bendtner unavailable due to the fact that he’s on loan from the Emirates Stadium, Frazier Campbell is expected to lead the attacking line with Stephane Sessegnon undoubtedly filling in as a supporting forward.
James McLean will also offer his support after some inspiring performances in recent weeks to bolster a formidable looking midfield unit.
Martin O’Neill has turned Sunderland’s luck around since his December appointment and despite last weekend’s loss, the Northern Irishman will feel his side have a good chance of proceeding to the sixth round of the FA Cup with a home win over their top flight rivals.