Sunderland v Arsenal preview
Gunners seeking redemption after Milan thrashing
By Rachel Griffiths - Follow me on Twitter @SkySportsRachG. Last Updated: February 17, 2012 4:01pm
The sole all-Premier League clash of the FA Cup fifth round sees Sunderland host an Arsenal side desperate to bounce back from their European humiliation in midweek.
The Gunners' UEFA Champions League ambitions were left hanging by a thread after they suffered a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of AC Milan in the first leg of their last 16 tie on Tuesday night.
Arsenal will be keen to atone for that setback this weekend, having attracted criticism for a distinctly lacklustre display at the San Siro.
Arsene Wenger's men have slipped out of the Premier League title race and defeat at the Stadium of Light on Saturday would all but end their hopes of silverware this season.
The two sides met in the league on the same stage just last weekend, when Arsenal edged a 2-1 victory thanks to a last-gasp winner from Thierry Henry, who will be unavailable for this weekend's clash after completing his short-term loan stint from New York Red Bulls.
That defeat condemned Sunderland to only their second loss in 12 encounters in all competitions, with their resurgence under manager Martin O'Neill having lifted them to ninth place in the standings.
The Black Cats will be out for revenge on Saturday and hoping to take advantage of a wounded Arsenal side as they bid to progress to the quarter-finals for the first time since they reached the final four eight years ago.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are all too aware the FA Cup was the last piece of silverware they lifted back in 2005 and the 10-time winners will be in no hurry to relinquish their spot in the tournament.
Midfielder Lee Cattermole could be back in the Sunderland squad for the encounter after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Nicklas Bendtner is back in training but, as the Denmark striker is on loan from the Gunners, he is ineligible for the fifth-round clash at the Stadium of Light.
David Vaughan (ankle) is still out as are Wes Brown (knee) and Titus Bramble (Achilles/calf).
Arsenal are missing centre-backs Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny for the trip to Wearside.
Mertesacker (ankle) is out for the long term, according to manager Arsene Wenger, while Koscielny (knee) should be missing for only one week.
Gervinho returns from Africa Cup of Nations duty, but defenders Carl Jenkinson (back) and Andre Santos (ankle) are still out, along with midfielders Abou Diaby (hamstring) and Jack Wilshere (ankle).
Sunderland v Arsenal FA Cup
Peter Fraser thinks Arsene Wenger is suffering as a result of the extinct science of reasoning.
Sunderland chief Martin O'Neill believes their lack of midweek action played a key role in their FA Cup success over Arsenal.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has called on his side to "stay united and fight" after ending a miserable week with a 2-0 defeat at Sunderland.