STEVE Bruce says Arsenal will not be distracted in this weekend’s game against Sunderland by the fact they have a crucial Champions League tie against Barcelona just 72 hours later.
The Gunners take on the Spanish champions in the Camp Nou on Tuesday knowing that if they avoid defeat they will progress into the last eight of Europe’s showpiece club competition.
But Bruce believes Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will not under-estimate the importance of the Black Cats’ visit on Saturday as he looks to win silverware on several fronts.
“I expect no easing up from Arsenal,” said the Black Cats’ boss. “Absolutely none.
“In my opinion they are one of only two teams who are genuinely capable of winning the Premier League this season and they know that they need to keep the pressure up on Manchester United.
“United losing to Chelsea last Sunday leaves Arsenal just four points behind with the same number of games played.
“And if they beat us at the weekend they’ll be just one point behind ahead of United’s game against Liverpool on Sunday.
“Arsenal know that they have to keep the pressure on because they know they are still in with a fighting chance of winning the league this season – they’ll see the game against us as one of vital importance.”