Arsenal vs Sunderland Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Ups, Key Man + Prediction
Arsenal play host to Sunderland at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon. Here’s a preview with team news, likely line-ups, key man and prediction for the game.
Arsenal play host to Sunderland at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon as they look to keep pace at the top of the league.
The Gunners head into the weekends Premier League action following Wednesday nights disappointing 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich, that’s left us with a mountain to climb in order to qualify for the last 8. However, we must get our minds focussed back on domestic matters as we’ve still got a title to fight for.
We’re currently sitting second in the table and just a single point behind Chelsea, despite only picking up 5 points from our last four games, and we need to be ready to take advantage of any slip up from the west Londoners as they take on Everton at Stamford Bridge in Saturday’s lunchtime kick off.
We should have a good opportunity to pick up a vital three points against a Sunderland side that sits in the relegation zone at present. However, that’s despite an impressive recent run that’s seen Gus Poyet’s men win three of their last five games and they also have a Capital One Cup final to look forward to, so they should be full of confidence heading to the capital.
Arsene Wenger has already confirmed he’ll make changes to the side that lost on Wednesday. Mikel Arteta is almost certain to start after serving a one-game ban in midweek and he could replace Mathieu Flamini in midfield.
Kieran Gibbs misses out with a buttock injury suffered last time out so Nacho Monreal will continue at left-back, but Thomas Vermaelen remains out with a calf injury.
Olivier Giroud is expected to be recalled after being left out of the starting eleven against Bayern, with youngster Yaya Sanogo set to drop back to the bench. Lukas Podolski and Tomas Rosicky could get starts if Wenger looks to freshen up his attack even further.
However, we’ll still be without Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Kim Kallstrom and Abou Diaby who remain out through injury.
Sunderland will be without defender Wes Brown who completes a two-game suspension, so Vergini is likely to deputise alongside John O’Shea.
Poyet is expected to make several changes from the side that lost to Hull in the FA Cup last week, and we’ll face former Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone as he will start in goal with Keiren Westwood still injured.
Dangerous striker Steven Fletcher is likely to be named among the substitutes along with Carlos Cuellar as the due continue to fight their way back to full fitness.
Mesut Ozil: Much has been said and written about the German this week following his display against Bayern but it’s at times like these he needs to show he’s a world class player. He made an impressive debut against Sunderland back in September, so lets hope he can reproduce that kind of form tomorrow.
Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland: Bayern aside, we’ve been superb at home in recent months with our defence extremely difficult to break down. I can see us returning to that stubborn side this weekend and picking up a valuable win.
What team would you start and what’s your predicted score? Share your suggestions below.
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