Arsenal vs Sunderland Bumper Preview…

Today is the bumper bumper issue of the weekend blog… it’s a feast of football this weekend, and it kicks off with Liverpool vs Man United… and news this morning (pre-all the games), is that United have rested Rooney, Hernandez, Valencia & Nani on the bench… it shows the depth and quality of their squad and for such a big game, it’s a massive gamble by Ferguson. But we really don’t need to enviously look upon other clubs, do we? We are the Arsenal and our game tomorrow is the biggest game of the weekend.

Arsenal vs Sunderland

Are you ready for the return of the Arsenal to your footballing appetite this weekend? It’s back to back this week with Sunderland tomorrow and then Marseille away on Wednesday following by Stoke at home in the Premier League. We’ve then got Bolton in the Carling Cup at the Emirates, before finishing October with Chelsea away on Saturday 29th…

We’ve got a couple of key long term injury in Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere and there has been a long on conjecture on the replacements for both – with Ramsey & Arteta affectively two new players in our midfield. It does take a bit of time to gel and in Jack’s absence, it’s easy to point the finger, but both the aforementioned players are very good and the understanding will come. Sagna & Wilshere will return in the new year, and therefore the next three months will see Carl Jenkinson feature a lot more.

It’s a worry as the lad is very young, doesn’t have the experience at this level and has been exposed in the matches he’s played. But you have to consider, when Gibbs played his first game for us, or Frimpong did, they hadn’t played in the Premiership before and they were young and experienced. Just because Jenkinson was originally schooled at Charlton, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the attributes to be a top player.

Arsene was keen to promote his abilities to the media and to the fans earlier this week and had this to say about the boy:

“He has top qualities. His fitness is outstanding, he’s quick, he has good crosses and he is good going forward. He needs to adjust a little bit his defensive game. But we are working with him and he is improving. What happened to him so far is that he had good and less good games, especially the Man United game. But he had a good game at Udinese four days before. I just think when you start like that, you put so much intensity and focus in the games, that sometimes after that you’re a bit flat.”

Arsene also gave the impression that he would start against Sunderland and with Koscielny back in the squad too, the back five looks like it will pick itself.

Arsene also backed a variety of other players to stake their claim for a right back berth:

“We have a few other opportunities,” said the Frenchman. “We have a young boy in the reserve team [Nico Yennaris], we have Andre Santos, who could eventually play there. Koscielny could play there, Djourou could play there. Certainly in the next three months some other players will have to play right-back because Jenkinson cannot play all the games.”

The next 5 games see 3 Premiership games, a Carling cup game and a Champions League game… so I’m sure we’ll see some surprises and rotation at right back!

Team News

Koscielny, Djourou and Squillaci are all back and therefore we’ve gone from only one fit centre back to four in the space of two games. Out of the returning three defenders, Koscielny would be the choice to partner the 6 foot 6 German International that is Per Mertersacker… allowing Alex Song to return to midfield. The likely line up could well be:


Jenkinson – Mertersacker – Koscielny – Gibbs

Song – Ramsey

Walcott – Arteta – Gervinho

Van Persie

With a bench of Fabianski, Djourou, Frimpong, Santos, Oxlade, Arshavin, Chamakh

Which of course, means no Benayoun, Squillaci, Park, Ryo or Coquelin in the 18, but if you include them, who do you leave out? It’s a good problem to have, of course. The period of October is very very important for us – we need to start winning games, we’re 6 point behind Liverpool and 9 behind United, and we’re on serious catch up…

Here is to a feast of football and perhaps a Sunday blog of some sort tomorrow too…

  • arsefan101

    Agree with the team line up for sure. Despite the injuries, we have a lot of talent. You have to believe that this team is massively under performing and that there is more to come from them.

    I really hope we give Sunderland our awaiting backlash!

  • afc4life

    Do we know if all the players have got back to the squad injury free? Any injuries from Internationals?

    We play tomorrow so have no excuse of the Internationals being the reason for not winning…

  • devday

    @ arsefan101:
    Indeed, these players are all internationals, some of them are captains of their respective teams… etc… a massively talented group of players. We can produce!

  • devday

    @ afc4life:
    I am under the impression that there are no major NEW injuries!

  • pires

    Well VP gets Wenger out of jail yet again and the three points are very welcome. But lets face it, this is just papering over the cracks. Wenger really has no clue about the best line up, tatics or how to alter a game. Just look at today! How the hell can he leave Ox out of the squad again for dross such as Walcott and Rosicky (one of his very rare decent performances today) or loan players like Benayoun who have no effect on the team. Arteta proved yet again that he is well past his prime with a very poor perfomance and his free kicks were comical. How in the hell did Theo stay on for the whole game????? Does Wenger watch something different to the rest of us???? Gervino was far more effective than Walcott and was once gain subbed first. Then we are desperate for a goal, so he takes off Gervino and brings on Arhsavin who for a change looked intrested but then totally ignores our other goal scoring option in Park (3 goals for Korea last week) and brings on Benayoun????????? NOT A CLUE!!! Yet again it`s the same players who scraped us a result against one of the poorest teams i have seen in the Prem for many a year. Shez was top draw and kept us in it early on. Kos covered Saker spuds time and time again, Jenkinson was impressive going forward but still a little niave defending but you can not fault his effort and desire. Song did a good holding job and created a bit and VP is our star. Walcott, totally ineffective, Lazy and should be benched for a few week`s to get some desire back. Arteta is well past his best and often found himself behind Song as a holding midfielder…..replacement for Cesc?….Don`t make me laugh. Yet another £10 million wasted by Wenger. So to sum up, Great 3 points some stand out performances, but i fear for us when we have to play any of the quality teams in the Prem!

  • sistable

    Brilliant opening goal, impressive first twenty or so minutes and then, as we all feared, everything started to fall apart – but all’s well that ends well, thanks to RVP. Thought Rossicky had his best game in years, perhaps he’ll become again the player he was. And Arshavin’s cameo was a pleasant surprise, so perhaps likewise from him. The big let-down was the non-progressive passing (apart from first twenty minutes): nothing incisive, everything sideways or backwards. Most annoying player is Theo because he has the speed to go by anyone. He should be encouraged to be much more selfish, beat people and head for goal, shoot if he has half a chance and pass only as a last resort. Like Arjen Robbin.

  • Leroy

    i came away from the game yesterday relieved we had the three points but there were not many other positives. our good performers were rvp by far no problem with ses and song worked hard. i am not a rosicky supporter but is application was great and he worked really hard. aa did well when he came on and kos is ok,however the rest failed to impress.jenkinson is not prem quality yet and super fit gibbs is injured not convinced about santos he is not particulary quick and seems better going forward than defending,metersacker im still not impressed we all know he is too slow but when he challenges for high balls he does not seem to be able to get off the gound quick enough. arteta to me was disappointing again and as our chief creator,creates nothing he just seems to hang around the half way line and i cannot remember one through ball to create a chance.theo was theo as pace but seldom does anything else.gervinho apart from the opening 12 mins did nothing. wenger is saying that he is happy with his signings and at present he would not bring anyone in,in jan unless results between now and then force him to. im not happy with is signings other than alex and benyoun is ok for a disappointed that wenger seems to have little faith in park as he never uses him. we obviously miss jw,tv and sagna but 2 of those wont be available till feb. im sorry arsene i am far from convinced with this squad and judging by the empty spacers so many others share the same view. finally i think its wrong that the anti wenger banner was not permitted particulary as the in arsene we trust banner could be deemed offensive to supporters who are not happy with the strength of our squad and the way wenger is reducing us to also rans.

  • Yemi

    I still wonder why he won’t play park.

    Play park and RVP upfront with a midfield of arteta and song

    Ox/theo—Song — Arteta Gerv/Arsh

    The Back line picks itself based on availability.

  • Berth

    From Yesterday,I would say the only way to top four is to get Rosicky and Arshavin step up a bit and more importantly for Verminator to be back and fit for a while.