2016/17 FA Cup
Published: 11:23 17/02/2012
Sunderland and Arsenal meet for the second time in a week for the FA Cup Fifth Round tie at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
In part two of the League and Cup double header, Paddy Power is gambling history won’t repeat itself with its FA Cup Money Back Special. Sunderland took the lead in last week’s Premier League fixture only for Arsenal to respond with a quick equaliser before Thierry Henry snatched a dramatic injury time winner. Should Sunderland take the lead again and fail to seal the win, Paddy Power will give free bet refunds on a selection of betting markets on the game.
An equally tight encounter is anticipated in the next instalment as the match could prove pivotal to the season for both clubs. Arsenal buckled in the San Siro in midweek, suffering a 4-0 defeat to AC Milan which has all but ended Arsene Wenger’s Champions League hopes. With a second leg comeback looking unlikely and the Premier League title beyond reach, the FA Cup is Wenger’s last chance to win silverware and end his seven season drought.
Martin O’Neill's arrival at the Stadium of Light has sparked a major revival in the club’s fortunes and a top half finish looks very achievable for the Black Cats. Sunderland fans don’t expect to be challenging the top six sides any time soon but clamour desperately for good run in the FA Cup and maybe a trip to Wembley.
Arsenal will be without last week’s match winner, as Henry heads back to the United States to prepare for new MLS season, but could call on Marouane Chamakh who has returned from the African Nations Cup. The Gunners will kick off as favourites to win in the Stadium of Light, William Hill bet 13/8 Arsenal while bwin bet 19/10 Sunderland and 12/5 the draw.
Craig Gardner will be hoping to hold onto his place in midfield after an impressive display in last week’s game. Gardner was given the fans vote for star man ahead of goal scorer James McClean and but for two fine saves from Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny, might have won the game for Sunderland in the Premier League fixture.