Arsenal vs Sunderland: Match Preview

It’s finally here – the start of the Premiership season. We face Sunderland at home and it’s a new Arsenal squad for us this season. It’s an interesting upheaval of the squad and we’ll see where the new Arsenal takes us. It’s unusual to see so much activity and change to the first XI, but it seems that Arsene is not letting anything in the way of our success any more – if a player doesn’t want to be here, move him on – sign players of quality that want to be here.

Before we talk about Van Persie and Song, let’s take a look at my predicted team line up…


Coquelin – Mertersacker – Vermaelen (c) Gibbs 

Arteta – Diaby

Walcott – Cazorla –  Gervinho


With a bench of… Fabianski, Santos, Djourou, Jenkinson, Ramsey, Oxlade, Giroud

With Song so heavily linked away from the club, even if he is still with us come the game, he won’t feature. Arshavin, Bendtner and Park will also be missing from the match squad, I presume, all those three looking for new clubs.

The first XI looks very interesting to me – I’ve taken out Giroud and put in Gervinho because the Ivorian looks much more fit & raring to go than this time last season – he has been very impressible in pre-season and I’m just drooling over seeing him play with Cazorla and Podolski. Giroud has been good too, and we’ve got a good 14 / 15 players who could all be considered first team and it’s anyone’s guess who will start and who will be better than someone else. I’m basing the line up above and opinions
purely on the Cologne friendly!

The key thing for us is not the issues off the field, but the performances on the field. A good start will put us into good stead, and it’s really important to win tomorrow. We had a very bad start last season and despite a good patch of form, we never quite made it. This season has to be different. Of course, we have a new leader in TV5… and here’s a snippet from his programme notes tomorrow:

“It makes me really happy and proud to be Arsenal captain – it’s a real honour. I won’t change the way I am, though. The boss makes you captain because of the way you are, so I won’t change how I am in the dressing room or outside. I want to lead by example, and do as well as I can on the pitch. Maybe I am not much of a talker away from the pitch, but I want to lead the team through the way I play. Every captain is different, everyone has his own personality and does it in his own way. Robin did it really well last year, and of course what he did on the pitch was great as well. But away from that he did a lot of team building, making sure the team was a real team, and I want to do things like that as well.”

I think TV5 will be an excellent leader – he has a little bit of a tendency to go forward, which may be good to cut out… but overall, he leads by example and that’s what we need.

Til tomorrow…

  • Master J

    I am happy we are going into the new season with happy players who are ready and willing to do what they are in Arsenal for. I wish all of us a most successful and trophy-full season. May God help us. Amen.

  • fako

    i for one would love arshavin to stay and not as a winger but as a number 10, right behind the striker, he can b very essential to our team in that role, with jack still injured and diary injury prone, and ramsey for me still needs to learn…

  • fan

    Oxlade is injured for this match.

  • edison

    I’m 99% sure Alex Song will start, providing he is fit.

    bring on tomorrow !

  • Dreamz

    Oxlade is OUT!

    Jenkinson at right back

    Jenkinson – Mertersacker – Vermaelen (c) – Gibbs
    Arteta – Diaby
    Walcott – Cazorla – Gervinho

  • Speedster



    not even on topic but WHO THE FUDGE organises these Int. Friendlies? I mean seriously? days before the new season? thats a massive WTF. Carzola played the full 90 minutes I mean are you kidding me?

    And I too would like Arshavin to be around the squad. I dont think he’ll be sold during the summer and I’d like to see him in that true no 10 role.

  • Bonathan

    Well, diaby’s back, and it seems wenger is certainly excited about that. so much so that he’s decided he ain’t bothered about m’villa and is ready to let song go!! i just hope he is right about diaby because i am yet to see any sustained quality. yes, there’s been a decent run of games here and there but that’s been it.

    i can’t help but think keeping him fit will always be a problem, and also his inability to tackle as well as his fear of being tackled is quite worrying for a central midfield player.

    i can only think that wenger doesn’t rate song that highly. it seems a bit strange after his best season that wenger is saying the things he is saying and it certainly appears that he is open to offers for song.

    does he rate coquelin and frimpong higher? or are we likely to see the signing of m’villa or sahin? if so, wenger clearly rates them higher. or does he really think that diaby is finally going to be the all conquering midfielder he has promised all these years? swurely it isn’t a simple case of making money because he thinks we can still finish in the top 4 anyway. or is it??