Arsenal vs Sunderland Match Preview

Tomorrow sees us take on Sunderland at the Emirates and it should be a bit of a cracker. Yes, I base this on nothing but pure gut feeling. News coming out of the Emirates is that Arshavin may start the game with Vela rested for Tuesday's game against Roma. The bad news post Cardiff is that Eduardo picked up a hamstring strain and won't be back until the WBA game (missing Sunderland, Roma and Fulham).

On Arshavin, Arsene said this earlier in the week:

“He will be involved,” said Wenger. “But I have not decided what I will do with him yet.”

And spoke again about the Russian in the press conference today:

“He can integrate well our combination game, he can move very well, he is very mobile so that is something we work on as well. He is a clever passer of the ball and that is something you need in every big team to open teams up. You have to give everybody who comes in time to adapt, to adjust. I know him quite well on his vision, his passing ability, his quick brain. That is something which is very important in the modern game. He has personality, he has a strong character. The handicap he has at the moment is that he is not completely fit physically, but all the rest should be quite quick. Anyway, we will take the needed time. We will not put him under pressure, if he needs a bit longer he takes a bit longer. At the moment we have many players in that area injured like (Cesc) Fabregas, like (Tomas) Rosicky, like (Theo) Walcott, so there is a position to take as a creative midfielder.”

The probable line up for tomorrow is:

Almunia

Sagna – Djourou – Gallas – Clichy

Nasri – Denilson – Song – Arshavin

Bendtner – Van Persie

With the likes of Fabianksi, Gibbs, Toure, Eboue, Ramsey, Wilshere and Vela on the bench.

So, from having 5 strikers potentially available, we’re down to 3 now. Eduardo’s injury is down to his lengthy time out and maybe it will continue like this for a while. We’re probably best looking at him as a sub to change a game this season then a regular starter and a player who can regain his fitness for next season and really get a consistent run in the team. If we do make it past Roma then he could really help us through the latter stages of the Champions League – it’s all very touch and go. Am I making any sense in what I’m saying?

“Eduardo is out for two weeks. He picked up a hamstring injury two minutes before I took him off. What a nightmare. Nobody knows how it happened but I knew straight away after the game it would be a two-week job. It is nothing like he had before but I do know that little setbacks like this are part of being nine months out. After that long out, nobody plays six months on the trot. It is impossible. But at the same time it is a blow because, of course, he can score goals. He had shown that on Monday night.”

Okay, so, kick off 3pm tomorrow. 3 points is a must, must, must… we’ve got to hope someone drops points.

Til tomorrow…]]>

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[This looks like a really strong team.

    The BBC are suggesting that it will look like this:

    Almunia

    Sagna - Djourou - Gallas - Clichy

    Eboue - Denilson - Arshavin - Nasri

    Bendtner - Van Persie

    With Arshavin filling in for Cesc. And effectively dropping Song for Eboue.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    If they play Eboue I’ll punch the wall.

  • jeffvip

    however from Arsenal.com it seems AW never dislike eboue eventhough the red card incident.

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Guys check this out from sportinglife.com; comment from V.P

    Robin van Persie insists he is keen to sign a new contract with Arsenal - if he is convinced the club share his ambition.

    The Holland forward's contract expires at the end of next season and he confirmed the Gunners have offered him a new deal.

    He told The Sun: "Financially the last offer made by the club is fine but that isn't everything for me.

    "It's about my ambitions and how they can be fulfilled in the coming years. The club and I want the same and it is our intention we achieve that.

    "Arsenal have promised me they will do everything possible to make that extra step to a level where we win prizes on a regular basis.

    "In the last four years I've had only one prize, the FA Cup, and that's not enough.

    "I want to achieve more and I feel I can play an important role in bringing Arsenal to a higher level."]]>

  • zohaib

    If Eboue plays, I will ……….. I will ……………….. I will ……………………………………………………slap myself silly !

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Theo back in 2 weeks

    Rosicky back in 3 weeks

    Cesc back in 4 weeks.

    Diaby back soon too.]]>

  • Fabrez

    At least Eboue doesn’t start, Arshavin does and no Cisse for Sunderland. That’s some decent news!

  • debs

    < ![CDATA[my thoughts exactly Fabrez! Arshavin starting, Eboue on the bench- guess for now Kieran can avoid the walls and Zohaib can restrain from 'slapping himself silly'! Lol
    not really sure what result in the Villa v Chelsea game would suit us best, but I guess any will do! But we've got to beat Sunderland though! Come on Gunners!]]>

  • debs

    And yeah Zohaib. The injury list is beginning to look ‘healthy’!

  • Fabrez

    I think i’m happy with a Chelsea win…thinking of Villa as the side to catch at the minute. I’m hoping being knocked out of the FA Cup & a tiring European schedule will do Villa in now…hopefully a dip in belief & confidence?! Maybe… C’mon Gunners! I got a really positive feeling about 2day & the run-in.

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    That looks like an awesome line up and Arshavin has already tested the keeper with a stunning shot apparently. Fingers crossed for the win.

  • Fabrez

    This 10-men behind the ball football is killing us…but it’s no excuse. Man U can win under the same circumstances… *sigh* 3 or so mins to go…we need yet another late goal… can’t c it tho :-S

  • Fabrez

    Think i kno wat the problem is…lack of clinical finishing! Eduardo…plz come back soon bcuz i don’t know! 1 point closer to Villa IS NOT good enuff. Need flickin 3!

  • Fabrez

    Last four games, 8….EIGHT dropped points! Not good enuff!

  • debs

    I really don’t know what’s happening, really. 3 goalless league games in a row! We’re flirting dangerously with 5th place- if we don’t score goals, how do we expect to take advantage of any Villa slip-ups? I’m sure they’re resting easy nowadays. We’ve got to have some sort of plan B when teams set themselves up for the draw against us. It’s really killing us. We’ve got to find a way to break them down… We can still finish 4th but not playing the way we are, i.e not finishing clinically. the frustration’s mounting, and it’s not going to ease any soon!

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    To be fair we had the opportunities to win from the radio commentary, but they did say that Sunderland played incredibly well.

  • debs

    Yeah Kieran. Apparently we had bare chances in the first half, but I don’t think we had as many in the 2nd. credit to sunderland though, but one point’s just not good enough. teams generally defend for their lives against us, same as against man u, but they always find that winning goal from somewhere. I wish i could be the same with us. but i guess when we’ve got everyone or most of everyone back, that extra bit of quality will be there. i guess we’l know at the end of the season whethr it was 2 crucial points dropped or one valuable point gained.

  • Debs

    But a very promising performance from Arshavin. He might yet be the key…

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Arshavin will be a part of the solution when he's fully fit...without a doubt. It's only bcuz of him i may watch MOTD...just 2 c him play. When we don't win, i hardly watch it...but i maybe 2nite.

    We need a bigger squad with more quality...we have an amazing 14 players or so then back-up who lack the quality to keep us going as a team. 14 is a decent number of quality players but not when u have about 5-6 injured ones regularly. I don't even know why we have injured players all the time. Some ppl have all sorts of reasons for us having injured players but i can't see any real reason...just misfortune. We had seasons where we hardly had injured players years ago and it mite just be our "turn"...i guess... *sigh* Hope that Roma game goes well...i'm so not excited about it to b honest. Not even a bit.]]>

  • Fabrez

    *but maybe 2nite

  • Fabrez

    Credit to Fergie for having such a big squad with quality AND keeping most of them happy. Guess when u win trophies as often as they do, sum players don’t mind being the odd sub… loads of trophies to add to the CV with decent pay. Oh Arsenal. Well the positive is the clean sheet & Arshavin’s 1st half… can’t think of much else… Eboue’s return? Hell no…

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[

    Arshavin will be a part of the solution when he’s fully fit…without a doubt. It’s only bcuz of him i may watch MOTD…just 2 c him play. When we don’t win, i hardly watch it…but i maybe 2nite.

    Get yourself watching the pompey game – 4 goals in 20 minutes and a last minute equaliser!!

    But yeah, I was thinking about boycotting this and then realised I need to see Arshavins debut.]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Soul lost; Viera, Flamini ,Hleb, Henry and soon V.P and possibly Fab if we don't fix things fast.

    Hw de hell did this get to the point of Song and Denilson in midfield. I knw this is old news but it keeps on showing wen ever we loose points. People will say at least another clean s**t.

    That is crap for me and who ever is drawing inspiration from Arshavin should think of Arsene's sentiments.

    To be honest the light at the end of the tunnel is ebbing away gradually, am afraid, it looks like CL wont happen for us. Unless]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[For some reason I find it difficult to avoid match of the day! I even watched it when we lost 3nil to man city! Addiction, methinks! lol
    But definitely Arshavin's debut is reason enough to watch it.

    I'm not too too worried about Roma, Fabrez. I doubt it if they'd set themselves up for a draw, so breaking them down wouldn't be as difficult. But I'm a bit worried that there might be a little drop in confidence cos of those 4 successive league draws, but good thing it's a different competition, so it might not have that much of a bearing, at least I hope!]]>

  • Fabrez

    A clean sheet is a positive bro…bcuz there was a time in the season where we could not muster 2 on the bounce. And i’m actually watchin MOTD…goodness! lol Cracker the 2-2 Kieran! Was decent! And looking forward to seeing Arshavin…still confident he’ll do well in the coming games. I’m definitely not giving up yet on the guys. I’m guessing our game is gonna b last…such happens when it’s 0-0!

  • Fabrez

    And point taken Debs…we shud score against Roma. We tend to be up for the Champions League 9 times out of 10…so we’ll see.

  • Fabrez

    Hm…Sunderland were good. I’m really not going to fault us too much. Missing the killer instinct in front of goal. Gallas & Vela could have won it. Just want us to have a full squad for once! Was gud 2 see Rosicky, Cesc, Ade & Eduardo there. Just wish they could be fit now! But as i said…not a bad performance…credit to Sunderland…we can do better…and we weren’t the last game on after all!

  • Debs

    yeah, it was nice seeing those lot on the bench. It’d be even nicer seeing them play together again!

  • RF

    < ![CDATA[I'm frustrated becasue we got so many shots on target, but neva scored and there's always someone scoring a winner for Man Utd.

    We've made our position in such a way, that the opposition really don't think we are a threat anymore. They play with more confidence and are stronger mentally & physically.

    We are lacking that 1% of Luck, which can take us back to the winning ways, I hope.]]>

  • RF

    < ![CDATA[February is getting Unlucky for us.
    4 Consecutive draws ....They really need to charge themself ..
    Its kinda Decider for the season.

    I hope we find that 1% of luck and I donno how.
    I want Arsenal to win somthing this season and more importantly the License for CL next year.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[It is very frustrating to not capitalise on winnable games like these. If the lads aren't careful we could even drop to 6th place behind Everton. But I still remain hopeful!!!

    Hopefully all the 1 points we've been getting over the last few games will all add up and help us at the end of the season. It's better than not getting anything at all from those games. I still think we're just on the brink of a very good winning streak. No one can seriously say that when we have our players back and fit that we're not going to score any goals. Arshavin looked brilliant, its just a shame he wasn't fit enough for the whole 90 mins. Theo's return is imminent, as is Eduardo and Ade, and we've only got Cesc and Rosicky to come back afterwards. The talent is still there.

    It's a busy fortnight ahead for us and our rivals, and anything can happen. Hopefully things will start going out way as of now.]]>

  • famon

    < ![CDATA[Intresting article from untold arsenal: 100 years ago football was in total crisis, with games regularly ending 0-0, and 1-0 being a treat. The football authorities responded (although rather belatedly) by changing the off side rule from needing 3 opponents to 2 in front of the attacker when the ball was kicked, and restricting handling by the goalkeeper to the penalty area (prior to this he could handle anywhere up to the half way line).

    The difference between that crisis and the current problem is that no one has got a clue how to solve it, nor the wit or will to do anything. The best that can be said of Sunderland is that sometimes they played with 10 behind the ball when Arsenal attacked, although mostly it was the now standard 11.

    They also adopted that most appalling and shameful of tactics - the “Villa” (named of course after the club that initiated it this season). When the opposition attacks and you get kicked, lie down and hold your head so the game gets stopped, and the attack broken up. It was done so blatantly in the first half that serious questions must be asked of the ref - I’ll come back to that.

    Their other tactic was rotational timewasting - which actually started in the 2nd minute - an all time record I think - when the keeper held onto the ball for about 15 seconds. He also did the usual bit of taking more and more time to take each goalkick, and of course he wasn’t punished - another refereeing oddity.

    Of course it is up to Arsenal to find a way to overcome the total negativity and manipulation of the rules - rotational fouling, rotational timewasting, and now head holding, along with 10 or 11 behind the ball, are all part of the game, and that’s what we get, match after match.

    Obviously when Arshavin gets used to the style of play, when we have Cesc, Theo and Rosicky available, when Eduardo can play regularly up front, a lot if not all of our problems will melt away.

    But the real tragedy of football is what has happened to the refs. The programme yesterday reminded us that it is not just Italy that has corruption - the editor of the foreign news section did a piece on fixed French matches - and it raises the issue. The ref should have taken action against the time wasting , not to mention the shirt pulling and general holding back. It also looked to me from the upper tier near the half way line, that several decisions went very much the wrong way.

    So was he just incompetent, or is he obeying some sort of EPL or FIFA rule (don’t book keepers for time wasting, and ignore the five second holding rule), or was the match fixed? It seems quite preposterous to start suggesting EPL games are fixed - after all we are English, and we leave that sort of thing to the Italians and the French. But I am seriously starting to wonder. If yesterday’s game was not fixed, then we still have to answer the question why the timewasting and five second rule were ignored, and why nothing is being done about the head holding ploy, or the rotational tactics.

    Arsenal had 14 shots on target yesterday to Sunderland’s 3 by my counting, but it wasn’t football as it should be played. In real football both sides have a go at winning, and not just sit back and play for 0-0 with the hope of a break at the end.

    Off the pitch, there were two things to notice. The RedAction section got out their flags of St George again. I don’t know how they think this makes our non-English team feel, but it clearly warms the hearts of UEFA and the FA with their plan to introduce rules that would stop us ever again signing young players like Cesc, Denilson, Vela, Merida, Bishcoff etc.

    And I see that the papers are saying that Arsenal were booed off the pitch by their own fans. I don’t think so. Such booing as there was related to the fact that this is not football that is being played at the Ems. Football needs two teams wanting to play, yesterday, once again, there was only one.]]>

  • Debs

    But you can’t really blame teams for setting themselves up for a draw sometimes. The league is really difficult and teams need points to avoid relegation, and 1 point is much more helpful in that regard than none- which is what some teams would definitely get if they tried playing football against most of the top teams (whether because of injuries or because the opposition is so so much better than them!) It happens in other sports, not just football. I think teams would rather stay up in the league by ‘parking the bus’, than get relegated ‘playing football’ and I don’t think you can blame them for that- quite obviously the advantages of staying up over relegation are numerous.

  • Fabrez

    Basically, that is what football has come to & I don’t see a way to get away from it for now. Only way to deal with it is increasing creativity in one’s squad, but even that won’t work all the time. It’s sad 2 see but it is understandable why teams do it. Now we only see the beautiful game at its very best when top teams meet each other. Arsenal v Man U was a craker earlier this season.

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[

    The difference between that crisis and the current problem is that no one has got a clue how to solve it, nor the wit or will to do anything. The best that can be said of Sunderland is that sometimes they played with 10 behind the ball when Arsenal attacked, although mostly it was the now standard 11.

    This is what is basically wrong with football fans today. Remember when we won the FA Cup against a far superior Man United team? We defended for 120 minutes and won on penalties.

    3 years later and you’re banging on about a crisis in the modern game whenever a inferior team tries to defend. You were even unhappier when Hull came to the Emirates to attack and scored 2 goals.

    So… what you’re essentially saying is it’s not fair unless we win every game – but it’s totally fair when we do it?

    Rubbish!

    I’m all for balanced argument and disappointment but sometimes it leaves a bad taste in the mouth to be associated with people who are so anti football – it’s called tactics and sometimes you have to do the best with what you’ve got.

    The top 5 clubs have scored 121 goals this season (as of 18.00 today).

    So let’s not confuse Arsenal’s inability to break down a defensive team at home (a team who tested Almunia several times) with a crisis in the modern game.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Why can't the FA change the rule that says the number of points awarded to both sides after a draw is 1 (point each), to a rule that says only if there is a score draw (not a nil-nil draw), will both the teams get a point each. or better yet, only if each team scores at least 2 goals, will they get a point for drawing. and the points for a win can stay the same.

    That way, everybody would want to attack more.]]>