Francis Coquelin is "hungrier" than ever to win the FA Cup. The 24-year-old Frenchman was part of Arsenal's cup-winning side last season and he is desperate to ensure the Gunners retain the trophy this year, starting with their opening tie against Sunderland on 9 January.
Arsenal have held the coveted trophy since 2014 and, despite their success, Coquelin has insisted they remain determined to keep the FA Cup at the Emirates. "It was my first major trophy with the club, so I don't want to sleep on this," he told the Arsenal Weekly podcast. "I'm still hungry, even hungrier, and I want more, like everyone else at the club. The players are really stepping up and really want this silverware."
Coquelin, who is close to making a comeback from injury after suffering a lateral ligament tear in November, said Arsenal's first game in the competition is sure to cause happy memories of their 4-0 triumph over Aston Villa in last year's final to come flooding back.
He shared: "It was a great moment, but you need a little bit of the magic of the FA Cup to come back before the memories come back. When it does start, people will be looking at the pictures of themselves with the trophies and thinking that we need to hold it for a third time. What is nice is that the first round of the competition is at home and that's great for the fans."
However, the young Frenchman is expecting a tough battle against Sam Allardyce's Sunderland outfit, who will be keen to eliminate the cup holders. "It's always going to be tough against Sunderland. They gave us a difficult game a couple of weeks ago, so we know it will be tough," he admitted.
"They're going to want to beat the champions as well, so they will be really, really motivated and beating us could give them a boost in their season as well. Everyone will be prepared for it."
Arsenal will go into the fixture having been given an extended break by manager Arsene Wenger following their hectic festive schedule. The Gunners currently top the Premier League table and are set to face Barcelona in the last 16 phase of the Champions League next month.