By Rob Kelly

Mikel Arteta admits that Sunderland will pose a major threat to Arsenal’s season as they prepare to visit the Stadium of Light twice in seven days.

The Black Cats are the form team in the Premier League and have been rejuvenated since the appointment of Martin O’Neill as manager in December.

Arsène Wenger’s men face the North-East club in the Premier League on Saturday, before returning a week later for their FA Cup fifth-round clash and Arteta says he is prepared for a thorough examination of their credentials.

“Martin O’Neill has done a terrific job. He has changed the results and the team has really [improved] since he has been there,” he told Arsenal Player.

“It is amazing, he has made a big difference. It will be tough - playing up there is never easy and it is even tougher when you play in February in this weather.

“It is up to us, though, we have to know that we are in for a big battle. They are on a very good run and they are confident, but if we play our game we have a big chance to win it.

“We are playing them twice in seven days, which will be really strange. You play against them, and then seven days later, you play against the same players and you could be a bit concerned about what the previous result was, and what you did wrong or right. It is a bit strange.”

Watch the full interview with Mikel on Arsenal Player.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 10 Feb 2012