Sunderland are pushing for promotion. (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images)
Mikel Arteta has managed to turn a difficult situation, where he’s had to dethrone his captain, into a winning period that has brought impressive points against West Ham and Leeds United in the Premier League.
Sunderland are chasing League One promotion but not many occasions beat a Cup run so it will be an interesting game for the visitors.
To get an insight into how they will be approaching the visit to the Emirates, we caught up with Sunderland Echo’s Joe Nicholson.
How seriously will Sunderland take the game and what sort of side will they put out?
Clearly the promotion from League One is the priority for Sunderland this season but the cup run has brought some good memories this season - most notably a penalty shootout win in front of a packed away end at QPR in the last round.
Lee Johnson has made changes for the cup games this season but has limited options heading into this game due to injuries. He could make a couple of changes from the side which drew at Ipswich on Saturday but will still want his team to be competitive.
How are supporters feeling about a quarter-final against Arsenal?
I think there was a sense of excitement when the draw was made about drawing a big Premier League side away from home.
This is Sunderland’s fourth season in League One and fans have missed such occasions.Still, as I mentioned before, whether they win promotion from the third tier is what the club will be judged on this campaign.
What system are Sunderland likely to play?
Johnson started the season playing with a 4-2-3-1 formation but has been forced to alter his system in recent weeks.
With injuries at full-back, Sunderland have been playing with a back three and wing-backs, although full-backs Dennis Cirkin and Denver Hume have now returned to training.
At QPR in the last round, Johnson deployed a 4-3-3 system to give the side more security in central midfield - although they are also low on numbers in that area.
What’s the latest team news from the Sunderland camp?
Aiden McGeady and Luke O’Nien are out long term.
Hume, Cirkin and captain Corry Evans have all returned to training following setbacks, with Hume coming off the bench against Ipswich on Saturday so may get a start.Leon Dajaku was forced off with a contact injury at the weekend.
Are there any promising youngsters who could get a chance?
A player to watch out for is Manchester City loanee Callum Doyle.He’s still only 18 and may be rested for this game but has shown real potential for Sunderland this season.Midfielder Dan Neil, 20, has also been a key player for the Black Cats.
What’s your predicted line-up for the match?
(3-4-1-2)Burge; Alves, Flanagan, Wright; Gooch, Neil, Winchester, Hume; Pritchard; Broadhead, Stewart.