The Gunners host the Black Cats at Emirates Stadium looking to make it a 13th consecutive win in the competition that they have won for the last two seasons.
Arsenal kicked off 2016 with a battling 1-0 win over Newcastle United in north London to lift them two points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
And former Gunner Nicholas is tipping Arsene Wenger’s men to continue their recent positive run by beating Sam Allardyce’s struggling side in front of their home fans.
Nicholas told Sky Sports: “I anticipate both sides making changes for this one with Sunderland focusing more on important league matches ahead in their fight for Premier League survival.
“With Alexis Sanchez out, I’d like to see Jeff Reine-Adelaide handed a start. He’s an exciting talent and someone who could benefit from game time for the back-to-back cup winners.
“I’d also like to see Theo Walcott come in for Olivier Giroud in a central role. Giroud’s form has been erratic of late, and I think he’s in a comfort-zone where he thinks he’s going to play every game but I’d leave him out.
“Sunderland will be disciplined and organised but I still expect Arsenal to win comfortably.”
Arsenal are looking to win the Premier League this season for the first time since their famous unbeaten triumph back in the 2003-04 season.
The north London club have been tipped by many to be the front-runners to win the title along with Manchester City.
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