In less than two hours time Arsenal is going to take on Sunderland in the Stadium of Light. Our last visit there ended in us losing by a single goal. But that was our first loss there in six visits. The last six fixtures against them has resulted in us getting 3 wins, 2 draws and a loss. This season, in the Premiership, Sunderland has notched up a solitary win against Manchester City, a couple of draws and an away loss at West brom. Sunderland have only lost one of their last 12 matches at home in the Premier League. They are a difficult side to beat at home as Manchester city have found out.
In team news, none of the injured players have returned but they are all on course to return in their respective times. Diaby and Vermaelen will be the first to return and they might be available next weekend.
Arsene has the same players available to him from midweek clash against Braga. Will Wilshere feature again? Will Arshavin be rested? Will Rosicky Return in place of Nasri? and will Vela get a start?. These are a few questions that need to be answered. Almunia will return in goal, as usuall, the central defensive pair and fullbacks will remain same. Fabregas andSong will be joined by Denilson in midfield. Rosicky and Vela to start upfront with Chamakh.
Predicted XI: Almunia, Clichy, Koscielny, Squillaci, Sagna, Song, Fabregas, Denilson, Rosicky, Chamakh, Vela.
Sunderland is a tough place to go and win, and they will offer considerably more resistance than Braga. They are well organized at the back and difficult to score against. They will be sitting tight at the back and looking for openings to exploit. They will use the aerial route and they have the habit of scoring against the run of play and most of the chances they get, they utilize them to the maximum. They can also play the physical game. Our team would need to be alert at all times and not give away possession unnecessarily, the defenders would need to cope with the aerial threat effectively and not give too much space to their forwards. Our attack would need to be creative. Chamakh would be the key today and his aerial ability will have to be utilized.
It won’t be an easy match but Arsenal can get the three points and we should if we are to keep up with the pace of Chelsea. If we get the maximum points, we will be top of the league till when Chelsea play their match and win it on Sunday.
The most probable score line will be: Sunderland 1 – 3 Arsenal. But if we can get a clean sheet that will be really good.
Fingers crossed and enjoy the match where ever you watch.