Match Preview: Sunderland vs Arsenal

I saw the following picture in the newspaper yesterday and managed to track it down on the Times' website.

 

This shows the “closeness” that the two forwards enjoyed midweek. They were like distant relatives last weekend, and I hope they can be like blood brothers this weekend. I thought the picture above would be a good “choose the caption”, so feel free to comment on what you’d write.

Anyway, back to today’s game!

We travel to the north again for the third time this season and will be playing a decent side in Sunderland - in order to win, we have to be at our best. We have no “new” injury worries, so we will most probably line up as:

Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Sagna
Right Back
Toure
Centre Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
 
Walcott
Right Wing
Denilson
Midfielder
Cesc
Midfielder
Nasri
Left Wing
 
  Adebayor
Striker
 Van Persie
Support Striker
 

Subs: Fabianksi, Silvestre, Djourou, Eboue, Song, Vela and Bendtner.

This is the same team that lined up against Porto and I’d expect the consistency of the team selection, considering we have no midweek game. There are some thoughts that Alex Song could come in for Denilson to add some more “bite” to the midfield, but I’ll be quite happy if Denilson started in midfield, he’s been one of my favourite players this season. Some people have insisted that he’s a weak, and yes, he’s had the odd missed pass, but so has everyone. Our defeats have been down to individual errors and a bad “team” performance. A little stat that could change your mind of Denilson’s performances can be illustrated right here:

Player Long Pass Accuracy
Denilson 83%
Frank Lampard 79%
Nicky Butt 72%
Cesc Fabregas 70%
Gareth Barry 70%
Lassana Diarra 69%
Xabi Alonso 64%
Gary O’Neil 62%
Jamie Carragher 59%
John Paintsil 44%

* Stats are based on the players with the most long pass attempts in the Premier League this season. Source: James Ducker, The Times on Saturday

When you look at these stats, Denilson topping the long pass accuracy table, it’s food for thought.

Back to today’s game… let’s hear what the manager had to say:

“The pain was big but the response was good. It was important to show that Saturday was an accident.  Looking at the League table I do not think [the Hull defeat] has too much of an impact, but it is damaging. You do not want to lose at home against anybody. But I believe we have a healthy attitude in the squad and that has been shown against Porto. We want to show we have learned from the defeat against Hull. We gave the first half of the response on Tuesday night and we want to give the other half on Saturday at Sunderland. When you go there, you want your team to be completely at its best and focused. I believe what happened last week will help us to do that.”

So, today, is the second half of the response! It’s a fact that its been a while since we lost two successive league games in a row, but we shouldn’t take that fact for granted.

I expect to see the same determination and desire that we saw against Porto, Bolton and Blackburn…

Come on you Gooners, bring back the 3 points boys!

‘Til tomorrow..]]>

  • ArseFan101

    Adebayor: “I can burp the alphabet”

  • ArseFan101

    Robin: “I take it you ate garlic before the game… Arsene, I need to be subbed…”

  • http://deleted Dan

    Caption – “The worlds first mixed race, siamese twins appeared to be getting on well.”

  • Debs

    great caption Dan!