By Felix Law.
Arsenal are flying high in the league at the moment having won their last six games before the barren draw last weekend against Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough at the Emirates.
This afternoon, the Gunners travel to the North East side (Sunderland) who are struggling at the moment yet to gain their first three points this season which has seen them plummet to 20th in the league table. Sunderland in the process have also lost five of their last six Premier League games while Arsenal have won their last three away games in the Premier League.
Head to head, Arsenal are unbeaten in their last nine games against Sunderland in all competitions although last season the game ended 0-0 at Stadium of Light.
David Moyes is likely to set out his team in his favoured 4-2-3-1 with Jermaine Defoe, John O’Shea and Javier Manquillo all returning after their rest against Southampton in the 1-0 loss in the League Cup on Wednesday, a game which saw Moyes banished to the stands as tempers flayed.
Moyes is likely to start with the likes of Javier Manquillo, Kone , John O’Shea and Patrick Van Aanholt in defence with new signing and bright prospect Ndong sitting in the centre of the part alongside Jack Rodwell while the likes of Watmore, Steven Piernaar and Khaziri attacking leaving out Defoe in attack. Sunderland still have several players out injured – Seb Larsson, Fabio Borini, Jan Kirchhoff, Vito Mannone and Adnan Januzaj. Sunderland will look to play on the counter soaking up the Arsenal pressure and then relying on dead balls and aerial duels to score goals. They Black Cats will rely heavily on the finishing prowess of ever green forward Jermaine Defoe and attacking minded Patrick Van Aanholt who has impressed despite his team’s poor start.
Arsenal on their part will start with the same 4-2-3-1 that has served them this season. The only difference is that Granit Xhaka and Santi Cazorla will be missing due to suspension and heel injury with Francis Coquelin and Mohammed El’Neny replacing them in the centre of the park. In defence Wenger is likely to start Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny , Skhodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal completing the backline.
In attack, Alex Iwobi, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain playing offensive leaving out hot striker Alexis Sanchez upfront. Arsenal will have most of the possession and will greatly trouble Sunderland’s defence all evening with a lot depending on their finishing .
The game between Sunderland and Arsenal have seen under 2.5 goals in eight of their last ten home games against Arsenal in all competitions so expect a low goal scoring game probably a 1-0 win for Arsene Wenger’s side at the end of 90 minutes.