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Match Preview - FA Cup Third Round: Arsenal v Sunderland

This weekend sees Sunderland travel to the Emirates Stadium for the second time in just over a month to take on the FA Cup holders Arsenal.

Although this match is being viewed by some as a much appreciated break from the perils of the Premier League, it's still a very tricky away tie against the side who have won this competition two years running.

Despite some already writing the game off and thinking ahead to the Swansea game on Wednesday I believe that it's a game which provides it uses. It's a chance to rest tired legs, and nurse out niggling injuries.

With that comes the chance to give both youth and fringe players the opportunity to prove themselves to Sam Allardyce and potential transfer window suitors. Selling some of the players who aren't getting alot of game time will create space on the wage bill and allow Sam Allardyce some wriggle room with regards to recruiting, so we may well see him use this as an opportunity to showcase players who don't necessarily play that often.

Match Appointments

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Assistants: Mark Scholes & Matthew Wilkes

Fourth Official: Lee Collins

Team News

Arsenal

Arsenal have no fresh injury worries ahead of Saturday's game, though the tie will come too soon for Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky. Mikel Artetais likely to return to the starting eleven.

Sunderland

This weekend's cup tie could see plenty of fringe players play a part, as Big Sam looks to find suitors for forgotten men Charis Mavrias, Valentin Roberge and Will Buckley.

Jordan Pickford is expected to be given his first team debut in goal. Places on the substitutes bench could be awarded to Lyndon Gooch, Tom Beadling, Tom Robson and Liam Agnew.

What The Managers Say

Arsene Wenger:

"The thinking is to give absolutely everything to qualify. We are the holders of the cup and I know as well by experience that it is very important that you get in the competition and that you have a successful third round. It’s a tricky one, always, the third round."

Sam Allardyce:

"It's a tough draw in a tough week which has accumulated two three away games in the space of seven days. Realistically it can't be right for us and for the health of players. Everyone is suffering from a huge amount of injuries. They've occurring for everyone because we're asking the players to do too much. it is a period of time when you have to cram a lot in.


"We will have one youngster playing; the rest of the team will be the players who have played this season in the Premier League. Some of the players have played most of the games; some of them haven't so I have moved the squad around.


"I've rested a couple players who have got niggly injuries and probably won't even travel to get ready for Swansea and Tottenham and hopefully we can manage the situation through and get some results."

Past FA Cup  Meetings

18 Feb 2012 - Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal

15 Jan 1997 - Sunderland 0-2 Arsenal

04 Jan 1997 - Arsenal 1-1 Sunderland

05 Jan 1991 - Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland

07 Apr 1973 - Arsenal 1-2 Sunderland

07 Jan 1961 - Sunderland 2-1 Arsenal

24 Feb 1906 - Woolwich Arsenal 5-0 Sunderland

21 Jan 1893 - Sunderland 6-0 Royal Arsenal

Flashback

We look back at the 2-1 FA Cup semi-final win back in 1973, where goals from Vic Halom and Billy Hughes booked Sunderland’s place in that year’s final.


Stats 'N' Facts

  • Sunderland have not beaten Arsenal in their last seven matches, with only one win from the last 13 games between the two for the Wearsiders.
  • More recently, prior to a 3-1 win against no-hopers Aston Villa, Sunderland were on a five game losing streak.
  • The Gunners, meanwhile, have 6 wins in 7 games.
  • The Black Cats have been unable to win any of their last 17 away fixtures against the Gunners in all competitions.
  • Arsene Wenger’s side lifted the trophy in both 2014 and 2015 and, should the Gunners go all the way in this year’s competition, they will be the first side to do so since Blackburn Rovers claimed the silverware for the third time in a row back in 1886.
  • The Gunners have drawn a mere one of their last 11 home matches in all competitions, while Sunderland have drawn just one of their 10 matches on the road thus far this term.
  • Arsenal have come out on top in five of the last six meetings between these two sides.
  • Arsenal have won eight of their last nine home matches in all competitions and this could well prove to be another gruelling afternoon for Sunderland, especially when it is considered that the Black Cats have lost eight of their 10 fixtures on the road this season.
  • Sunderland have found the net in each of their last five matches away from home – including the 3-1 defeat against Arsenal last month.
  • The Black Cats’ defensive frailties are a real cause for concern. They've leaked 16 goals in their last five fixtures on the road.
  • The Gunners have scored 11 in their last five home matches.