Arsenal’s FA Cup clash against Sunderland isn’t the most glamorous of ties, but the two managers’ squad selections have offered further proof that this match may just be the magic the cup needs.
Both Arsene Wenger and Sam Allardyce have dropped hints Saturday’s match will see several reserve and youth players being given run outs as key men rest after the remorseless run of festive fixtures.
Hector Bellerin has already confirmed that he will not be part of the Arsenal side as he was spotted leaving on a weekend Amsterdam. It also seems highly likely the likes of Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil and perhaps Aaron Ramsey might also be off the teamsheet.
From a betting perspective, Sunderland face the most difficult assignment possible, a third round tie against Arsenal at the Emirates. Betters will also get £50 free for betting online on the game, which looks to be highly in Arsenal’s favour. The Gunners are priced at 2/7 (Ladbrokes) to win through to the fourth round at the first time of asking, whereas the Black Cats are quoted at 11/1 to cause an FA Cup upset.
However, the stalemate (5/1, William Hill) will appeal to backers not expecting to see full-strength line-ups, while bet365’s eye-catching 11/1 posted against it finishing 1-1 will also attract punters anticipating some unexpected names on the team-sheet.
Football wise, Allardyce has been hugely critical of a “diabolical” fixture list that hands his relegation-threatened Sunderland side three away trips in seven days, key men are almost certainly not going to be risked.
Despite some big name absences there is still plenty to be excited for as fringe players from both squads look to make their first team case. Scroll down for more information.