Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson will give his pre-match view and you can get his post-match verdict in our Talking Tactics feature on Arsenal Player.

Arsène Wenger and his side face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday so, to find out more, we also asked local journalist Graeme Anderson for his thoughts and analysis.

Stewart Robson

"Martin O’Neill will surely be braver with his formation than he was for the Premier League game last weekend. By playing Fraizer Campbell as an outside right he handed the initiative to Arsène Wenger`s men. Campbell, if playing through the middle, will test Arsenal`s high defensive line while Stephane Sessegnon is a far better player when playing behind a main striker than he showed last weekend as the attacking spearhead.

"Arsenal will once more need to concentrate at set plays because with Sebastian Larsson`s deliveries Sunderland will pose a threat."

Scouting Report - Tactics

"I think Sunderland will be very positive. I think Martin O'Neill has to ask them to be slightly disciplined because there is a danger that they might almost be too gung-ho.

"That was only Sunderland's second league defeat under him and losing against Arsenal last week late on like that definitely hurt their sense of pride. There is a slight feeling in the squad that they can get revenge this weekend. While that is not a bad thing, I think O'Neill will want to harness that in a positive way rather than them shooting straight out of the blocks and maybe getting carried away.

"Sunderland do have this real desire to do well in the cup. After the positive start they have had under O'Neill, fears of relegation are all but banished. I see them looking for a really controlled, aggressive but purposeful performance this weekend. There is no doubt that the team are up for it.

"There may be a couple of changes, several players are coming back from injury. Lee Cattermole, the captain, is getting there or thereabouts but this game may come a little bit too soon for him.  Nicklas Bendtner is getting close to fitness again but obviously he is not allowed to play in this one. But on the whole I think it will largely be the same XI as last week, I don't see too many changes.

"There wasn't too much wrong with Sunderland's performance on that day, other than the fact that they were tired from the Middlesbrough replay. They faded badly in that game and really were on the ropes physically in the last 15 to 20 minutes.

"Robin van Persie's record has been excellent all season but he always seems to score against Sunderland too. A major plus for them last week was Michael Turner's performance against him. Michael is a big, traditional centre back so to speak, so you may have been a little bit worried about that going into the game. But he really did have a good game against him and whether Van Persie plays three games in a week we will have to wait and see.

"The other man who could be a danger where Sunderland are concerned is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He was quiet last week where both Phil Bardsley and Kieran Richardson were excellent against against him and Walcott. That is what Sunderland fans will be looking at - can these defenders have good games again?

"My colleague up here does the verdicts and he has gone for a home win, but I would perhaps be edging towards a draw. I think his prediction really does reflect the fact that Sunderland have been playing so well under O'Neill."

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    17 Feb 2012