Both the Gunners and the Black Cats are in need of a big performance to salvage poor 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
Gardner, Cattermole, Sessegnon
Larsson, Elmohamady, Ji Dong-Won
The returning Laurent Koscielny should line up alongside Per Mertesacker in the Gunners’ central defense. With both Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs out of action, summer signings Carl Jenkinson and Andre Santos will fill in at fullback. 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 defense, with Manchester United old boys John O’Shea and Kieran Richardson doing a job at fullback.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- In the last seven Premier League meetings between the two, just eight goals have been scored.
- Only one of the 13 goals Sunderland has scored against Arsenal in the Premier League era has been netted in the first half.
- In the last 23 Premier League games, Sunderland has kept just four clean sheets, one of which was at the Emirates last term.
- Since the start of February, Sunderland has only once gone two league games without defeat.
- Arsenal has conceded 16 goals so far this season, more than in any season since 1963-64 when it 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.