PREVIEW: Arsenal v Sunderland: Injury News, Preferred XI + Prediction

By on February 21, 2014

We get back to Premier League action tomorrow when Sunderland come to the Emirates Stadium.

The past week has seen us progress to the last 8 of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Liverpool but our hopes of making it through to the quarter finals of the Champions League are hanging in the balance after Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.

However, we have to that disappointment firmly behind us as there are three vital points at stake tomorrow. We’re still right in the mix for the title as Chelsea are just one point ahead – although they could be four points clear by the time we kick off if they beat Everton in the early game.

We have a nightmare run of fixtures coming up so it’s important we don’t slip up against Sunderland and only three points will do if we have any desires about lifting the title this season.

Injury/Team News

Kieran Gibbs has been ruled out after being forced off against Bayern with a buttock injury, so Nacho Monreal will start at left-back.

Mikel Arteta is back in contention after serving a European ban in midweek and Arsene Wenger is expected to make some changes to his line-up after our gruelling clash with Munich.

None of our other injured players are ready to return yet so Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen, Kim Kallstrom and Abou Diaby remain out.

Preferred XI

With such a tough run of games on the horizon, this could be a good opportunity to give Bacary Sagna a well-earned breather and start Carl Jenkinson at right-back. No disrespect to Sunderland but we’re going to have to rest Sagna at some point and this is the only game out of the next eight fixtures I’d be comfortable playing without him.

Arteta is likely to come back in to the midfield with Flamini dropping out and Wilshere should retain his place as he was excellent in midweek and needs to get minutes under his belt to get back up to 100% match sharpness.

Attack is going to be interesting. I think we need to freshen things up and the big call I’d make is to rest Mesut Ozil. He was clearly very down after his penalty miss on Wednesday so I say lets take him out the firing line and give him a rest, allowing Santi Cazorla to move into the middle.

Lukas Podolski should also get a start on the left as he’d provide us with a much-needed goal threat while the Ox would give us the pace down the right. Giroud will be recalled after being ‘rested’ in midweek.

This is the team I’d go with:


Sunderland have been in decent form of late, winning three of their last five, but we’ve been superb at home in the league in recent months and I’d back us to ease to victory tomorrow. Let’s just hope some of our rivals slip up…

Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland COYG!!!

What are your thoughts ahead of the game? Should Ozil be rested?

One Comment

  1. Fatboy Gooney

    February 21, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I make you right, regarding the line up.

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