Sunderland may have thrown away victory in their recent Premier League meeting with Arsenal, but 9/5 looks a great price in the FA Cup odds that they can gain an almost immediate revenge, with the visitors unable to rely on Thierry Henry.
Arsenal were thankful to Henry on their recent trip to the Stadium of Light, as the Frenchman struck a late winner from the substitute’s bench in what was his final Premier League appearance for The Gunners.
With Henry’s loan spell from the New York Red Bulls now over, Arsenal will not be able to rely on the veteran this time, while their disappointing European excursions in Milan will not work in their favour.
Arsenal’s 4-0 Champions League hammering against AC Milan means it will take nothing short of a miracle to see them progress in the competition and this result would certainly have dented confidence within the camp.
Meanwhile, not only will they have literally just return from a European trip, their away record in the FA Cup is not the best, winning just two of their last seven ties on the road in the competition.
However, Arsene Wenger should not need to do much to motivate his Arsenal troops, as the FA Cup represents the club’s only realistic hope of silverware now this season.
It is 7/5 that Arsenal triumph and 9/1 that they progress to the quarter finals with a 2-0 success, which was the score against Sunderland in Wenger’s first FA Cup game in charge of the club in 1997.
Given the importance of the fixture, Wenger is likely to pick his strongest side again, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain expected to return to the starting line-up having been left out against AC Milan.
Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice in the recent Premier League demolition of Blackburn and is 8/1 to strike first against Sunderland, although the 5/2 that he finds the target at any time inside the 90 minutes looks the better option.