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Premier League

  • 16 October 2011
  • • 13:30
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 60078

Arsenal - Sunderland Preview: Steve Bruce's side return to Emirates with last season's clean sheet a distant memory

Arsenal - Sunderland Preview: Steve Bruce's side return to Emirates with last season's clean sheet a distant memory

Both the Gunners and the Black Cats are in need of a big performance to salvage poor Premier League positions in a game that has provided very few goals in recent years



Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Santos
Song, Arteta, Ramsey
Walcott, Gervinho, Van Persie
O’Shea, Turner, Brown, Richardson Cattermole, Gardner, Sessegnon
Larsson, Elmohamady, Ji

The returning Laurent Koscielny should line up alongside Per Mertesacker in the Gunners’ central defence. With both Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs out of action, summer signings Carl Jenkinson and Andre Santos will fill in at full-back. Otherwise, Arsene Wenger will stay with the team that has become familiar over the last few weeks, with Theo Walcott and Gervinho expected to flank Robin van Persie up top.

In the absence of Nicklas Bendtner it’s likely that Ji Dong-Won will operate as the lone front man. Steve Bruce will also shuffle his back four with Titus Bramble and Phil Bardsley both suspended, probably utilising Michael Turner and Wes Brown in the heart of defence, with Manchester United old boys John O’Shea and Kieran Richardson doing a job at full back.

  • In the last seven Premier League meetings between the two, just eight goals have been scored.
  • Only one of the 13 goals Sunderland have scored against Arsenal in the Premier League era has been netted in the first half.
  • In the last 23 Premier League games, Sunderland have kept just four clean sheets, one of which was at the Emirates last term.
  • Since the start of February, Sunderland have only once gone two league games without defeat.
  • Arsenal have conceded 16 goals so far this season, more than in any season since 1963-64 when they had shipped 20 after seven matches.
  • In 2011, Robin van Persie (pictured right) has netted 21 times in 24 outings and three in three home appearances against Sunderland.
  • If selected, Sebastian Larsson will be playing against his former club.

Players to watch

C. Jenkinson

Position: Defender

Games: 0

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With Bacary Sagna out for an extended period of time, all eyes will be on Jenkinson who will be attempting to make the right back berth at the Emirates his own. Whoever comes up against the ex-Charlton full-back, Sebastian Larsson or Ahmed Elmohamady, is in reasonably good form, though Jenkinson will view this game as a prime opportunity to lay claim to a place in Arsene Wenger’s starting XI.

Dong-Won Ji

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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The striker has found chances at the Stadium of Light hard to come by so far this season, with Sunderland securing the season long loan signing of Nicklas Bendtner. Nevertheless, reports have emerged that the South Korean has looked very sharp during training and with the Gunners lining up with yet another unfamiliar back four, Ji could find himself the benefactor.

Editor's Prediction

How much Arsenal’s defeat to Spurs could be viewed as a blip is questionable. Before that game, the Gunners had won three on the bounce in all competitions and with Sunderland really struggling to string together any strong performances at all, and several key figures missing for the trip to the Emirates, this one shouldn’t be too big a problem for the hosts. They should win comfortably, with a clean sheet for good measure.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head




Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Arsenal FC ARS
Arsenal FC Arsenal
Sunderland AFC SUN
Sunderland AFC Sunderland

Top 3 Predictions

Arsenal FC ARS
2 - 0
Sunderland AFC SUN
Arsenal FC ARS
3 - 1
Sunderland AFC SUN
Arsenal FC ARS
3 - 0
Sunderland AFC SUN