FA Cup: Arsenal vs Sunderland - Preview, Live stream and TV channel info, Team News, Prediction, Betting odds
Cup holders Arsenal start their defence of the FA Cup with a home game against Sunderland
Arsenal start their FA Cup defence at home against Sunderland on Saturday as the Gunners come into the game on the back of a hard-fought 1-0 win against Newcastle United. The win took them two points clear of Leicester City at the top of the Premier League table.
On the other hand, Sunderland defeated Aston Villa 3-1 in the battle of the bottom-placed teams last weekend, but still occupy the 19th spot in the relegation zone, although they are seven points ahead of Aston Villa and just four points off the safe zone.
Kickoff and Live Telecast
Channel: Sony SIX
Live Stream: www.sonyliv.com
Date and Time: Saturday, 9 January 2016 – 15:00 GMT (20:30 IST)
Venue: Emirates Stadium, London
Arsenal were expected to have Alexis Sanchez back for this game, but Arsene Wenger revealed that, as a precaution, they have decided to give the Chilean some more time to recover. However, midfielder Mikel Arteta has recovered from his muscle injury and might come on as a substitute.
Defenders Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny returned to the starting XI against Newcastle but might be rested ahead of the midweek trip to Liverpool. Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky will be available only in February while Danny Welbeck, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin remain sidelined.
Wenger might pick Joel Campbell ahead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has not been impressive. The big change is expected at the back, where David Ospina might start in place of Petr Cech.
Sunderland were hampered by injuries during the festive period, particularly in defence, with John O’Shea and Sebastian Coates suffering minor blows and Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Larsson missed the busy schedule entirely. Both Kaboul and Larsson will once again be absent when the Black Cats travel to the Emirates, but Sam Allardyce has challenged the squad players and academy stars to make an impact, be it from the starting lineup or the bench.
While there remains a question mark over the seriousness of the hamstring strain suffered by Jack Rodwell last weekend, he might be rested ahead of their trip away to Swansea in midweek.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Bellerin, Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs; Flamini, Ramsey, Campbell, Ozil, Walcott; Giroud.
Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Pantilimon; Yedlin, Brown, Coates, Van Aanholt; Cattermole, M'Vila, Watmore, Toivonen, Borini; Graham.
Arsenal won their last game against Newcastle United at the Emirates by a single goal. The Gunnermay not have been convincing enough over the festive period but their return of nine points was bettered only by local rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the four games. Two consecutive wins against Bournemouth and Newcastle suggest the Boxing Day horror show at Southampton is firmly behind them.
They are ahead of title rivals Leicester City and Manchester City after Wenger's side won six of their last seven games to climb to the top of the Premier League. Arsenal have won their last five matches at the Emirates too and are unbeaten in front of their own fans since September, recording victories over the likes of Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Manchester United since then. They have also kept seven clean sheets in their 13 home outings this season.
Last 5 games: W-W-L-W-W (Last match: Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle United)
Sunderland come into this game on the back of a much-needed 3-1 victory over fellow struggling Aston Villa. The visitors go into the second half of the season as one of the three teams in the relegation zone, having managed only 15 points in 20 games this term.
The win against the Villans ended a run of five consecutive defeats, the first of which came against Arsenal at the Emirates. The visitors have picked up a league-low four Premier League points on the road this season, winning just one and losing eight of their 10 outings. They also have the worst defensive record in the league, both away from home and overall as they have shipped 39 goals this season.
Hence, defensive reinforcements are on their way as they are boosted with the signing of Bayern Munich's Jan Kirchhoff.
Last 5 games: L-L-L-L-W (Last match: Sunderland 3-1 Aston Villa)
- Arsenal have won their last 12 FA Cup games.
- The Gunners are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with Sunderland, winning five of those but twice being held to goalless draws at home.
- Sunderland's last victory over Arsenal came in their last FA Cup meeting when Kieran Richardson and an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain own goal handed Martin O'Neill's side a 2-0 victory in the fifth round in 2012.
- The Black Cats have never won at the Emirates, with their last away victory over Arsenal coming at Highbury in the 2002/03 League Cup third round.
Mesut Ozil vs Sunderland’s back-line
It will take the whole defence and probably the two defensive midfielders to stop Mesut Ozil in the kind of form he is in. The World Cup winner will look forward to the challenge of getting past his opponents and setting up goals for his teammates.
Sunderland will have to be on point and must make tackles and interceptions to ensure Ozil does not get the opportunity to feed off the wingers and striker in the attacking third. They will also have to be wary on set pieces. Ozil, who has already snapped up 16 assists in the league this season, will look to increase his assists tally this season.
Arsenal’s recent run of form gives them he upper hand. The Gunners are one of the in-form teams, but it will be a good game. However, Sunderland’s attacking quality cannot match upto Arsenal’s. Ozil will once again be the key for the Gunners. Two goals can be expected from the Gunners as they are at home and have been unbeaten in the last 12 games in the FA Cup. Sunderland will need to dig deep if they want to get anything out of this game.
Predicted score: Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland
Betting odds (bet365)
Arsenal – 1/4
Draw – 6/1
Sunderland – 12/1