WEMBLEY dreams will begin to germinate if Sunderland can advance to the FA Cup quarter finals when they face Arsenal for the second successive Saturday this weekend.
The Echo’s CHRIS YOUNG spoke to former Arsenal striker and Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas on Sunderland’s chances of increasing the pressure on under-fire Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.
Prior to Arsenal’s 7-1 demolition of Blackburn Rovers a fortnight ago, Arsene Wenger had not experienced such scrutiny over his credentials since arriving at Highbury as the fresh-faced French unknown.
Even during a seven-year itch for trophies, Wenger has maintained his phenomenal record of Champions League qualification in every season since 1998.
But the top four hopes looked increasingly precarious earlier this month, with Arsenal lying in the slipstream of Manchester United, Manchester City, Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool and even Newcastle.
A bizarre bin-bag protest, meant to suggest empty seats at the Emirates, was planned for the visit of Blackburn before it was ultimately rubbished.
But there was undoubtedly a deep-rooted sense of frustration among the Gunners’ faithful that Wenger’s stubbornly frugal ways would not just cause the club to miss out on trophies, but see them drop down the league as also-rans and stay as a feeder club for Man City.
Read Chris Young’s interview with Charlie Nicholas in full, plus Nicholas’s views on Lee Cattermole, in today’s Echo.