According to Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce, the team he chooses against Arsenal in the FA Cup this weekend will not be their strongest – but he still believes they will be good enough to get a result. Fixture congestion is the cause:
It doesn't give us the opportunity to play the strongest team at Arsenal, but of course it does give a fantastic opportunity to some of the squad players, and I think that some of those squad players are some of the most expensive players we've bought. So there is room for those players to go out and perform at a very high level which we'll have to do at Arsenal to try and get a result.
And if you can stay in the FA Cup that'd be great, but unfortunately I have to consider the fact that we play Swansea away in midweek after that and then play Tottenham away after that. So we're probably facing the hardest week of the season, well in less than seven days actually, and they're all away, so hopefully at the end of that we're successful in all the games, in some way, shape, or form.
I'm not a huge Allardyce fan, but I have to say I kind of agree with him. Fixture congestion is the worst, and there's not really a great reason for it, especially considering the fact that there's no winter break to work around. Still, I'll take what I can get – Arsenal are having similar issues, and I'd love to be able to play a team that rests a few of our most important players. A weakened Sunderland will help that.