December 5, 2015 • 15:00 • Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: R. Madley
Arsenal this Saturday welcome Sunderland against who the Gunners are unbeaten in their last 11 EPL clashes W7 D4), while from the last 23 mutual encounters, Wenger’s men lost only once. Still the last time the Black Cats were on visit to Emirated, they took a draw, playing 0-0. Under new boss, Allardyce, Sunderland snatched two wins in a row, and slowly started moving off the league bottom. On the other side, Arsenal after losing away at WBA 2-1 and dropping two points at Norwich City last round, from first dropped to fourth, Wenger’s men hope to return to the winnings ways this Saturday.
Arsene Wenger, Arsenal coach (on the injury to Alexis Sanches and why Wenger should have seen it coming)
“I don’t know how, Sanchez had four weeks holiday, he had played… he was rested in some games, he had all the medical signs to play before the game (at Norwich City last weekend), we had five days between the Dynamo Zagreb game and Norwich, but nobody suggests that he could have displaced his hamstring or his back when he was pushed into the cameras on the side of the field. That didn’t shock anybody. I’m not expert enough to know, but if you want to blame me, I have no problem with it.”
“Look ideally you want them all to be with you, but we are prepared to deal with it and it’s as well a big miss with players like that (Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla) but also an opportunity for some players to come in and show that they can fit in and have the quality, that they are fresh and they can give a good impact and impulse to the team.”
“Yes, I’ve been saying that for a long time. We have gone just for a spell when we have taken only two points in our last three games, but we are still only two points off the top, but if you look at the whole pack, it’s very tight and very compact. That means everybody can deliver the same speech basically.”
Sam Allardyce, Sunderland manager (on opponents Arsenal and his team’s need for top form)
Sunderland boss, Allardyce on Arsenal:
“I think the strength in depth of Arsenal’s squad is why they’ve always qualified for Europe and finished in the top four.
“It weakens the side slightly, we have a better chance when those players are not playing, but they’ve still got a top-quality squad of international players throughout.
“If we can play our very best game, then those weaknesses may be able to be exploited. Our best form will be needed [even] if people consider Arsenal weaker without those players.”