September 14, 2013 3:00 PM BST
Stadium of Light — Sunderland
Referee: M. Atkinson
Sunderland find themselves laying in 19th with just one point from their opening 3 games, and there are no signs of things improving for the Black Cats anytime soon. Some have questioned Paolo Di Canio’s management style, and so far he has done nothing to prove them wrong. However a win against an Arsenal team who recently broke their transfer record by signing the second most expensive footballer by an English team, Mesut Ozil, will be just want Di Canio needs. The last time these two sides met was in February, where Arsenal inflicted a 1-0 defeat onto Sunderland.
Arsenal return after the international break in high spirits after a 1-0 win to North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, a game many saw as a defining match in the race for fourth spot after Tottenham’s recent spend in the transfer market. The same can not be said for Sunderland, who come into this fixure low in confidence, with their only point coming from a 1-1 draw away to Southampton. A game which they could have easily have lost, but equally could have won was it not for a late Fonte equalizer. But the manner of Sunderland’s performances will not fill their manager with confidence.
Mesut Ozil is in line to make his debut after completing a club-record move from Real Madrid to the Emirates. Arsene Wenger believes the German international can add more depth to an already talented midfield. Arsenal sit fourth in the table on 6 points, despite suffering a humiliating defeat at home to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season.
Arsenal are without several key players, with Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky ruled out with a thigh injury sustained on international duty, as is French striker Yaya Sanogo. Thomas Vermaelen has been back in training, but is unlikely to feature with Wednesdays Champions League group game against Marseille a more likely return. Mikel Arteta is continuing his recovery, but is unlikely to feature, with Lukas Poldoski ruled out with a long-term hamstring injury, as are Oxlade-Chamberlain and Diaby both with knee injuries.
As for Sunderland, new signing Fabio Borini is likely to start up-front alongside Steven Fletcher, who will be making his first start of the season following a return from an ankle injury sustained last season. Colback could keep his place at left-back over recent signing Dossena, meanwhile John O’Shea is ruled out via suspension for his sending off picked up against Palace last time out.
- Sunderland have picked up just 8 points from their last 17 Premier League Matches against Arsenal
- In the last 6 matches between the two sides played at the Stadium of Light, only 9 goals have been scored
- Giroud has never scored a Premier League outside of London, despite netting 14 times for Arsenal, and 3 goals in his last 3 games this season
Sunderland (Possible, 4-4-2): Westwood; Celustka, Roberge, Diakité, Colback; Johnson, Cabral, Larson, Giaccherini; Altidore, Borini.
Arsenal (Possible, 4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Ramsey, Wilshere; Walcott, Özil, Cazorla; Giroud.