Preview: Arsenal v Sunderland, team news, line-up & prediction

By on January 8, 2016

Arsenal fa cup

Arsenal start the defence of our FA Cup when Sunderland come to the Emirates in the third round tomorrow afternoon.

Successive FA Cup triumphs have partially silenced the haters as they can no longer throw the ‘how long since Wenger won a trophy’ jibe around. However, I think it’s safe to say we should have higher aspirations this season so the FA Cup may have to take a back seat.

We currently sit top of the Premier League table and with Chelsea in crisis, Liverpool plagued by inconsistent form and Manchester United a laughing stock under van Gaal, we won’t have too many better opportunities to end our 12 year wait for the title.

That isn’t to say we shouldn’t still take the FA Cup seriously though as it’s still a great cup competition and no doubt the players will give their best to defend the trophy they fought so hard to win over the past two years, but I’m just saying we should prioritise the league during the second half of the season.

Team News

That means we should rest some key men tomorrow and Arsene has hinted he’ll give the likes of Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud a breather.

Alexis Sanchez has been ruled out for the next two games after failing to prove his fitness having returned to training following six weeks out with a hamstring injury.

Mikel Arteta is back in contention though after playing 45 minutes for the under-21’s in midweek while the boss has hinted he’ll start Theo Walcott as he’s only just returned from injury and hasn’t played too much football of late.

Tomas Rosicky is due back in training soon but he’s still out along with the likes of Coquelin, Cazorla, Welbeck and Wilshere.

Preferred line-up

I hope to see plenty of changes tomorrow with Ospina coming in for Cech in goal while Debuchy should also get a game despite reports linking him with a loan move away from the club.

Gibbs, Gabriel, Chambers and Campbell could also start while I’d give Iwobi a run-out in attack in order to rest some key players ahead of Wednesday’s crucial game at Liverpool.


Obviously leaving out so many first team regulars is a risk but the good news is Sam Allardyce has confirmed he plans to make wholesale changes to his eleven too. Despite the players I’ve left out in the above team, we can still field a strong line-up and I think it should be more than capable of beating an under-strength Sunderland outfit at home.

The Black Cats sit second bottom of the table and we recently beat them 3-1 at home, and I’m going for a similar win tomorrow afternoon.

Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland