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December 2020

Arsenal v Sunderland: the preview, the teams, the result. Well, perhaps not the result. Nor the team.

By Bulldog Drummond

Only four teams have won the FA cup twice running in this or the last century, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Newcastle   Only two teams have won the FA Cup three times running and both of these made their mark before even Royal Arsenal FC existed.  In fact the last one was in the April of the same year that Dial Square FC was formed and played its one and only game against Eastern Wanderers on the Isle of Dogs – and that game was in December.

But over the years Arsenal have caught up, and have now won the FA Cup more times than any other team, have been in the final more times than any other team, have been in the semi-final more times than any other team, and has a manager who has the equal top number of personal wins of the FA Cup.  A victory this season would put Arsenal at the very top of the all time FA Cup record, along with their manager.

In fact Arsène Wenger’s record is actually better than top first, for has won the FA Cup six times, the same as George Ramsay of Aston Villa – the difference between that Ramsay won the cup three times in the 19th century – when such an achievement was a lot easier.  Besides which his victories came across a period of 33 years, although to be fair for four of those years there was no FA Cup due to the war.

In comparison Arsène Wenger has won the FA cup five times this century.  No other manager has won it more than once this century.

And just to be clear about the last time a team won the cup three years running, in that season Blackburn Rovers saw beat the combined might of Oswaldtwistle Rovers, Darwen Old Wanderers, Stanley, Brentwood and Swifts to reach the final.  Thanks to for that – saved me ploughing through the old records.

Speaking yesterday Mr W said, “We play against a Premier League team and we have learnt in the last 20 games that any Premier League team is a massive problem to face. The only way to deal with it is to give absolutely everything.

“The FA Cup has been fantastic for me.  When I was a child I dreamed of winning the FA Cup and now, when I look back, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to Wembley so many times.”

For Sam Allardyce there is a double headache; he seems to be putting weight on again, and he has three away games in seven days.  So he won’t play the full first team line up.

Mr Wenger has said that he might bring in two or three players who don’t normally get a start.   I don’t think that includes Arteta who has only played half a game and will be on the beach, but we could see starts from two or three of these:

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The Ox, Joel Campbell, Gabriel, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers, David Ospina, Jeff Reine-Adelaide or Alex Iwobi

Hector Bellerin is certainly being rested (he’s on holiday) and so I guess Chambers will play.   But otherwise… maybe a clue comes in the players who have played the most this season…

Name Premier League League Cup Champions League Total games
Mertesacker 15 2 4 (1) 22 (1)
Koscielny 17 0 5 23
Mesut Özil 19 0 6 29
Giroud 14 (6) 2 4 (1) 20 (8)
 Ramsey 16 1 2 (2) 20 (2)
Monreal 19 (1) 0 4 24 (1)
Petr Čech 20 1 4 26

Arsène Wenger did say in an interview that he does still believe in David Ospina, as indeed he should given his displays in the second half of last season.  So there’s a hint he might play.

The last time we saw some of the youngsters out (in the league cup) it was not a wonderful occasion, and Mr Wenger made some unusually negative comments afterwards, but the Telegraph this morning picks out three possibles for this match from the under 21s…

Certainly it looks like Mathieu Debuchy will be loaned to Villa so he is unlikely to play.  And the deal to sign Mohamed Elneny is not yet done, so he hasn’t been spotted at the estate agents as of yet.

But what of the facts, figures and made up bits of stuff…

The first of Mr Wenger’s 97 FA Cup games was against Sunderland in 1997.  And he has never been beaten in the third round.  But the last time these two sides met in the FA Cup, Sunderland eliminated Arsenal in February 2012 2-0.

And as winners twice running we have a lot of consecutive wins under our belt: 12 in fact since February 2013.

Sunderland have the worst away record in the league: four points from 30 and 28 goals conceded says it all.

In the last six games between the two Arsenal have won five.  Sunderland haven’t beaten Arsenal away in the last 17 games.  And Arsenal have won eight of the last nine home matches in all competitions.   But Sunderland have scored in each of their last five away games.   On the other hand they have also let in 16 goals in their last five away games.

We have scored 11 in the last five home games.

To show how, just like transfers and managerial changes, injuries are not a good way to judge success, Sunderland’s level is modest, but Liverpool and Newcastle are way out in front now, and I am not sure anyone is going to catch them.

1 Liverpool 11
2 Newcastle United 11
3 Everton 8
4 Arsenal 6
5 Manchester United 6
6 Aston Villa 5
7 Bournemouth 5
8 Southampton 5
9 Chelsea 4
10 Crystal Palace 4
11 Manchester City 4
12 Stoke City 4
13 Sunderland 4
14 Tottenham Hotspur 4
15 West Ham United 4

So to the team, and it is pretty much guesswork.


Chambers Mert Gabriel Monreal

Flamini Ramsey

Walcott Özil Oxlade-Chamberlain


Lurking on the beach on a sunny (until half time) but cold afternoon we might have Cech, Gibbs, Kos, Reine-Adelaide, Campbell, Iwobi, Arteta.

The alternative approach is to give Özil a break, and play Ramsey in his central midfield attacking position, but then I am not sure who I would put next to Flamini so I’m leaving Özil in.  After all Mr Wenger says Özil doesn’t train much, and we know he never breaks out into much of a run.  In fact I’m not sure what he does there.


Anyway, Sunderland might put some reserves out, but we want that third FA Cup in a row – preferably as part of a League and Cup Double, so I don’t expect too many changes.


Two anniversaries including the time we scored 11 in the third round…

  • January 1863: David Danskin, reputed to be one of the founders of the Dial Square club, was born in Fife. He was instrumental in arranging the first match,and stayed with the club for several years, however when he stood for election to the committee in 1892 but was not elected, almost certainly because he opposed the talk of the move towards professionalism at that time.  
  • 9 January 1932: Arsenal 11 Darwen 1 in the 3rd round of the FA Cup.  It was the first time since 1893 that Arsenal hit double figures in the FA Cup – this time en route to the final.  Bastin (3), Jack (3), Lambert (2) and Hulme (2) got the goals.

Insult of the Day

To be so odd and from all fashions… cannot be commendable.  (Much Ado about Nothing).

73 comments to Arsenal v Sunderland: the preview, the teams, the result. Well, perhaps not the result. Nor the team.

  • colario

    A good review thank you.

    But – ‘The insult of the day.’

    ‘To be so odd and from all fashions… cannot be commendable. (Much Ado about Nothing).’

    The fashion in Premier League is to ‘splash the cash’ which we commend Arsenal – Arsene for not doing!

    So who is the insult directed at?

  • JohnW

    I would take two consecutive 1-0 wins to the Arsenal in the next two games.

  • Laos gooner

    Elneny not spotted at an estate agent, what does Sir Hardly do with his time? You also forgot that Mesut can run and does regularly as any good criminal would when nicking a living

  • Andy Mack

    The worrying thing about this game is that if Fat Sam does send out his 2nd team (as he suggested he would) he’ll still tell them to ‘get in their faces and kick them’.
    As some of their players will feel this is their chance to get in the 1st team, they’ll do some serious kicking….. so I’ll be surprised if we get out of this game injury free.
    The worse part is that Atkinson will let them kick us for the full 90 minute plus… He really is a cr4p ref!

  • max

    No rest for Ozil?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Hopefully a win today, but please remember, the FA Cup is no longer officially a trophy…..apparently…….as some of the people on some of the sites that got so upset when we lost the league cup final to Brum……and the media keep telling us.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    A slow tempo match , with us wining 2-0 . Come on you guys !
    Up the Gunners !

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    If I am allowed the freedom to be stubborn, I will stubbornly starts senior Gunner Debuchy at rightback for this FA Cup match starts against Sunderland afc at the Ems today’s afternoon.

    But unfortunately I am not the Arsenal football club manager, the Boss is, hence my selections doesn’t hold any water but remain just a Arsenal fantasy starts.

    To start Culum Chambers at rightback could be a dangerous start by the Boss for this could be a high intensity playing Sunderland 2nd Black Cats starters against our largely uncompromising 1st team starters Gunners. Chambers is slow and that’s weakness makes him not suitable for the rightback duties for Arsenal in this FA Cup match. Have I said something?

    The Gunners MUST wearout the threading in Big Sam Allardyce’s Tyne&Wearside Black Cats outfit as soon as they step on the Ems football playing turf this afternoon.

    And make it impossible for them to tight any nut on their bolts and thus make them become slack and moving wobbly on the field of play.

    The Gunners will make a mincemeat of the Black Cats for sure on the Ems field of play today by catching 4 of their most disturbing Black Cats and caged them and also padlocked the cage well so as not to allow any Black Cat escape from the Gunners captivity.

    Despite his purported loan move away from Arsenal this winter, Debuchy can still be played by the Boss and he can play well one goodbye for now match, can’t he?

    My starts: Ospina
    My bench: CechChambers Rhino’MonrealOzilGiroudIwobi.

    Did I hear Bellerin is on holiday? I am starting Ozil, Rhino’, Monreal, Giroud&Cech on the bench to rest for the big game coming up at Anfield against the Reds on Wednesday night.

  • serge

    Man U. opted out of the 2000 FA Cup ( with the blessing of the FA ) in order to take part in the World Club Championship in Brazil ( in which they lost every match I think).
    Most Premiership clubs were against this and Arsene actually begged Ferguson to re-think the decision.
    In my opinion this more than anything else left the competition as diluted as it now is.

  • para

    Good that Bellerin on holiday, he needs some rest too. Hope to see Jeff and Iowbi and Krystian Bielik all playing too to get some valued experience representing the 1st team.

    This may be their breakthrough and i hope they do.

    Looks like Ospina is starting.

  • Andy Mack

    Looking at the Teams Injury Table, I find it pretty gob-smacking that Leicester have managed to accumulate so few injuries so far this season, whilst playing quite a small ‘core’ of their squad quite heavily.

  • Andy Mack

    33 Cech
    24 Bellerín
    05 Gabriel
    06 Koscielny
    03 Gibbs
    21 Chambers
    15 Oxlade-Chamberlain
    28 Campbell
    45 Iwobi
    14 Walcott
    12 Giroud
    02 Debuchy
    08 Arteta
    16 Ramsey
    18 Monreal
    49 Macey
    54 Reine Adelaide
    59 Willock

  • Gord

    Oh drat, Ospina can’t play due to a groin injury!


  • Andy Mack

    And Bellerin can play because he’s not on holiday…..

  • serge

    Bellerin playing?
    I thought he was on holiday.

  • Andy Mack

    He’s not on holiday, he’s not even on the beach………. 😀

  • Serge

    He’s messing with us

  • ARSENAL 13

    playing 5 forwards!!!….

    4-1-5. Mr Wenger trolling big Sam…

  • goonersince72

    Atkinson has had his back to the play several times and it’s only 15 mins. on. Groan.

  • ARSENAL 13


    come on gunners…

  • goonersince72

    Kos gives it away. 0-1.

  • Serge

    Kos what were you doing?

  • Serge

    Good from Iwobi.He’s got good control & plenty of confidence

  • Andy Mack

    Iwobi is a good footballer.
    Hopefully he’ll show us he’s a Very good footballer.

  • ARSENAL 13


    come onnnnnn

  • GoingGoingGooner

    nice finish by campbell

  • Serge

    Lovely move lovely goal from Joel

  • ARSENAL 13

    just realized…. the brightest star of the english football, Catermole is playing the game!!

  • Gord

    I hope I can follow the game in “real time”. The game barely started and DNS could no longer resolve TheGuardian. DailyMail just died now.


  • ARSENAL 13

    oh crap…I am having brainfarts too, I forgot how one young teenager Ramsey destroyed him a few years back.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Iwobi is showing us why hez not going out on loan…. He sure is very close to first team.

  • goonersince72

    This Lens is a handful. Very lively. Arsenal have to score from one of these corners. But no Ozil or Santi for service.

  • ARSENAL 13

    ppffff….relax Ox relax.

  • goonersince72

    1-1 with all the subs playing well. Hell of a squad.

  • Gord

    BBC twits are still trying to find AAA twits to send in twits.


  • ARSENAL 13

    Come on Ox more like that.

  • Serge

    Fletcher misses open goal

  • GoingGoingGooner

    wasn’t that a handball just outside the Sunderland box?

  • GoingGoingGooner

    our subs have injected a bit of urgency into the proceedings

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Yes, Ramsey!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Rambooooo yyyeeeeaaaaahhhhhhh

    come on.

  • Serge

    Classic Ramsey

  • goonersince72


  • Andy Mack

    We need another one quickly and then release the ‘Jeff’…..

  • GoingGoingGooner


  • GoingGoingGooner

    That’s twice in a row that Bellerin’s pace has opened up Sunderland

  • ARSENAL 13


    nana naaaaaa
    nana naaaaaaaa
    na na naaaaaa giirrroooo

  • Serge

    Great counter

  • Andy Mack

    🙂 time for ‘Jeff’.

  • ARSENAL 13

    thats a penalty!!!!!!….

  • goonersince72


  • goonersince72

    Even the commentators are slating Atkinson

  • Andy Mack

    No cards yet….. Atkinson must be feeling unwell!

  • Serge

    I’ve not seen a poor performance from any of our team. Gibbs 1st half stats were 96 per cent pass completion rate out of 25 passes.
    Atkinson is shit

  • GoingGoingGooner

    So, Giroud is swinging his foot forward to strike the ball into the net. A defender in desperation puts his foot in front of Giroud’s forward swining foot. Giroud goes down hard. Is that a foul?

  • Oluwatoba

    When you hear commentator say “it’s a little harsh on Sunderland”, you should know his expectation (Arsenal loss or draw) has been dashed.

    By the way Atkinson just showed his true color by denying that penalty.

  • Serge

    I think Joel has played himself into a first. Hoice spot. Good to Jeff on at last

  • goonersince72

    Gibbs is having a big match. Pleasure to watch today

  • Andy Mack

    Time for ‘Jeff’ to show some slick footwork and for M’Vila to ‘nail’ him……Whilst Atkinson considers the meaning of life…

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Must say the boss has got his substitutions spot on.

  • Josif

    I just hope that I will see Calciopoli in England and hand-cuffs on Mike Riley. That’s absolutely on my “to-do” list before I die.

  • Samrat Jha

    is Atkinson mad?

  • goonersince72

    Atkinson’s left the cards in his pocket hoping Sunderland can recover. They can’t.

  • Andy Mack

    When the shots/on target is 23/11 vs 10/2 and a commentator says it’s harsh on Sunderland then you know the guy’s an idiot.

  • Andy Mack

    Unfortunately the only handcuffs that Mike Riley’s likely to wear will be due to a bondage fetish….

  • goonersince72

    One card in the game. On Gabriel!

  • Gord

    BBC, Sports Mole and Guardian all say it should have been a penalty. DailyMail didn’t even notice anything happened.

    And then a couple of places noticed Mesut doing his Arsenal 13 impression 🙂

    Mesut Özil


    Goooooooooaaaal for @Arsenal!!! Yeeees!!! Well done guys!! ???? #AFCvSFC #FACup


  • Josif

    @Andy Mack

    You think Alex Ferguson likes to use hand-cuffs with Riley?

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Now, to do in the Scousers, who shall be playing without hamstrings.

  • goonersince72

    Atkinson looks like Marriner and referees like Dean.

  • para

    Well played lads, they fought but you were too much for them in the end, although we had to keep sharp to the very end as they were always trying.

    First hurdle over.

  • WalterBroeckx

    match report is on line

  • ARSENAL 13


    Gord, I am applying for a copywrite. I could be filthy rich there. Its Mesut Ozil!..