The Gunners returned to form in their recent clash against Blackburn Rovers, scoring seven goals, but face a Black Cats side revitalised under Martin O'Neill
Bardsley, O'Shea, Turner, Richardson
Larsson, Colback, Gardner, McClean
Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen
Song, Ramsey, Arteta
Walcott, Van Persie, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has enjoyed great success since taking charge at the Stadium of Light despite a lengthy list of those injured in battle.
Marcos Angeleri (knee), Nicklas Bendtner (face), Titus Bramble (Achilles), Wes Brown (knee), Lee Cattermole (hamstring), Matthew Kilgallon and David Vaughan (both ankle) are all sidelined for the upcoming clash.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger also has a few players unavailable, as Abou Diaby (muscle), Carl Jenkinson (back), Andre Santos and Jack Wilshere (both ankle) remain in the treatment room. Meanwhile, Gervinho is away on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Marouane Chamakh has returned from international duty after Morocco were eliminated from the tournament in Africa at an early stage. However, he is suffering from fatigue and is a doubt for the upcoming clash against the Black Cats.
Kieran Gibbs has returned from a hernia problem, but is unlikely to return to the starting line-up straight away.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Sunderland are undefeated in their last three league games against the Gunners at the Stadium of Light. But they did lose their last clash at the Emirates Stadium as Arsene Wenger's men secured a 2-1 result.
- The Black Cats have a habit of scoring every alternate match against this opposition, and this trend has gone on for the last 15 matches against the north London club. If this continues, they would not score in the upcoming game since they hit the back of the net against the Gunners earlier in the season.
- The Black Cats are undefeated in their last five games in all competitions, which includes victories over Swansea City, Norwich City and Stoke City. They have a similar record at home in league games, having beaten Manchester City on New Year's Day.
- Martin O'Neill's men have also kept clean sheets in their last three victories on Wearside.
- Arsenal have won only one of their last five matches in the Premier League, but that was a thumping 7-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers in their game.
- After winning three consecutive away games, Wenger's men have hit a rough patch as they have won only one of their last five on the road.
- Robin van Persie (pictured right) leads the goal scoring charts in the top-flight, having hit the back of the net 22 times this season. He also managed to score the Gunners' fastest-ever goal in the Premier League when they met Sunderland earlier in the season, when he managed to put the ball past the goalkeeper in 29 seconds.
- If all matches ended at half-time, then the Gunners would still have been in sixth position. But the difference between them and fourth-placed Chelsea would have been five points instead of three.