Mannone does not care about Arsenal as he prepares to face former club

The Italian keeper has insisted it does not matter who the points come against, as long as they get enough to remain in the Premier League.

Mannone does not care about Arsenal as he prepares to face former club
Mannone's back-to-back clean sheets have helped Sunderland's survival push (Photo: Sunderland Echo)

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone has insisted it does not matter who they are playing as they prepare to host Arsenal  at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

The Black Cats closed the gap to Norwich City on Saturday after an impressive 3-0 victory at Carrow Road, leaving Sam Allardyce's side just a point behind. With the Canaries not playing this weekend, the game against Arsenal is a chance for Sunderland to climb out of the relegation zone.

Had Sunderland lost to Norwich, then their fate could have been sealed, but goals from Fabio Borini, Jermain Defoe and Duncan Watmore have given the Wearsiders hope, and Mannone is not daunted by the visit of his former club.

Mannone ready to face anyone in relegation battle

Sunderland face a difficult task at home to Arsene Wenger's side, but the former Gunner does not care who they have to face, seeing every game as a chance to get "points to get us survival."

Arsenal's season has fallen apart since the turn of the year, after being knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona, dumped out of the FA Cup by Watford and seeing their title charge collapse with the North London side now 13 points adrift.

Despite a faltering season, Mannone believes the game against his former employers will be "very difficult" because of the amount of "technical and talented" players at Wenger's disposal.

Having said that, Sunderland have managed to pick up wins against Premier League big guns in the past when aiming for survival, and Mannone sees this as a great opportunity for an upset.

"We've done it before against other big teams so if we stick together, hopefully we can do it again," the Italian said in anticipation of the game.

Mannone is looking forward to facing former club, Arsenal | Photo: ArsenalPics.com
Mannone is looking forward to facing former club, Arsenal | Photo: ArsenalPics.com

Momentum key for Mannone

Norwich looked as if they were going to be the team to break away from the relegation zone following huge wins against West Brom and Newcastle United, but the Sunderland keeper thinks their win at Carrow Road was a "good step towards survival" at the expense of the Canaries.

Talking after the game, he said: "I saw their faces at the end of the game and they were really down.

"We were down the previous week against Leicester, but we kept going and we need to maintain momentum," he continued.