PREVIEW: Sunderland v Arsenal, Team News, Starting XI + Prediction

By on October 24, 2014

Mikel Arteta

Arsenal head to Sunderland on Saturday afternoon desperately needing three points to get our season back on track.

A disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Hull City last weekend makes it just two wins from our opening eight fixtures which leaves us way down in seventh place in the Premier League table on 11 points.

It’s already been one of Arsene Wenger’s worst starts to a season, which is worrying enough, but the performances of ¬†late have been lackluster to say the least.

The second half against Hull is as bad as I’ve seen us in years and we followed it up with a shambolic display against Anderlecht on Wednesday. Quite how we managed to come away with three points is anyone’s guess.

We’ll certainly need to tighten up at the back tomorrow and while some think Sunderland are there for the taking following their 8-0 hammering by Southampton last weekend, I actually think this is a bad time to play them.

Gus Poyet is sure to have had his team doing double shifts in training all week sorting out their defence and I think we’ll see a side intent on being tight at the back on Saturday, which is not good news for us as we often find it difficult to break teams down under such circumstances.

Team News

Laurent Koscielny has been ruled out until after the next international break so we’re low on options at the back.

Wojciech Szczesny returns from his European ban to take his place in goal which means Martinez will drop back to the subs bench.

Jack Wilshere is suspended after reaching five domestic bookings so he joins Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Debuchy, Yaya Sanogo and Abou Diaby in missing the game.

Theo Walcott is in the travelling squad but is likely to be named on the bench. Hopefully we can give him a 20 minute run-out in the second half.

Preferred line-up

Hopefully Jack’s absence means that Arsene will revert back to 4-2-3-1 and play Mikel Arteta alongside Aaron Ramsey in midfield with Cazorla playing in the hole, but I won’t hold my breath on that one.

This is the team I’d like to see start:

Monreal at centre-back isn’t working for me so I’d start Bellerin at right-back and play Chambers in the middle alongside Per. It’s a far more balanced defence and we’ll be playing players in their best and natural positions.

However, unfortunately I have a feeling Arsene is going to persist with Monreal and I just hope it does costs us.


We may not be playing well but neither are Sunderland so hopefully our superior quality will ensure we come away with a narrow win. Let’s hope for an early goal as their heads should drop after last weeks debacle. Sunderland 0-2 Arsenal.


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