North London giants Arsenal will look to take a step further forward towards retaining their FA Cup title, as they welcome Sunderland to the Emirates on Saturday and will want to win this third round fixture. Arsene Wenger’s side can win it for a third consecutive time if they can perform the way that they have been doing for most of the current league season, where they currently find themselves at the top of the points table. Though based on current form, it seems that Arsenal should go through, yet if the visitors really put in a solid performance, they might have a chance in the match as well.
Arsenal have been in good recent form and will want to capitalize on that while the Black Cats are on the road to recovery after a really poor start to the new campaign. The French manager will be quite content by the way that his side have been performing in recent weeks though there is surely room for a lot of improvement still.
Further, injuries have once again been a cause of concern for the Londoners, though some of the players are already back to full fitness and some more might be expected to return to action soon.
Here is what Wenger had to say in his pre-match press conference:
Talking about the team, he stated:
The team news is that, from last week, we have no big injuries, and the squad will be similar to the squad who played the last game against Newcastle. Will a young player or two starts? I haven’t decided yet.
Further, about Alexis Sanchez’s fitness, he said:
The bad news of the week is that Alexis is not quite ready. It is a precaution because of his hamstring, and it takes a few more days. He’s not bad but he’s not ready.
Adding to that about Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin’s status:
Nothing’s changed [from the original timescale] with Santi. It could be a bit shorter with him because he’s often quicker [to recover] than you expect him to be. Cazorla and Coquelin are doing well.
Also, about Rosicky and Arteta, Wenger stated:
Tomas Rosicky is not far, he’s back in full training next week, so should be available soon. Mikel is available.
Finally concluding with the possibility of resting players:
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.