Arsenal will play Sunderland twice in a week.
The Gunners face a double-header with the black cats after Martin O’Neill’s men managed to defeat Middesborough 2-1 in their FA Cup 4th round replay yesterday.
Both matches will take place at the Stadium of Light which has proven to be a tricky venue for most visiting sides this season.
The Wearside club began 2012 with a stunning smash-and-grab 1-0 victory over Manchester City and if Wenger’s men are looking for any pre-caution, their own recent record at Sunderland’s ground will serve as one.
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The Gunners have never won at Sunderand’s home ever since Theo Walcott’s sharp finish from Gilberto’s through pass secured a 1-0 win on the final day of the 2007/08 season.
The following year, the Gunners needed a late Fabregas equalizer to snatch a point while a dramatic late winner from Darren Bent defeated Arsenal two seasons ago.
Last year looked to be an improvement as a flukey long range goal from Fabregas put Wenger’s men ahead, but despite dominating for much of the game and even wasting a penalty-kick which was thrashed wide by Tomas Rosicky, the north Londoners went home with only point after another late goal from Darren Bent – with the last kick of the game this time – robbed a 1-1 draw.
Ever since Sunderland’s promotion back into the Premier League in 2007, goals have been scarce in this particular away fixture for Arsenal.
And as Wenger’s make their trip to the Stadium of Light this weekend for a testing Premier League encounter, they will know it will be an affair with a side rejuvenated under the reign of Martin O’Neill.
Thus, Sunderand midfielder Jack Colback is eagerly awaiting Arsenal’s visit.
“It’s a good opportunity for us. They come up to our place twice and I am sure they will be fearing us as much as we fear them. It should be a good game, the one on Saturday, and hopefully we can progress like we have been doing and keep on winning.” Colback said
“We know what to expect from them. They pass it well and we like to do the same. I’m sure it will be an open game, an enjoyable game, and hopefully we can come out with the three points.”
And whatever happens this weekend, the show will be repeated within seven days in an FA Cup 5th round tie.
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